In 1910, the year my house was built, families had very little need of storage solutions. Closets were minuscule barely deep enough for a hanger to fit. Individuals had a Sunday dress, maybe two, and a few outfits to get through the week.
With time has come change, not necessarily for the better. Today we have overflowing closets, basements, and garages. Professional organizers make a living showing us how to fill specially designed boxes, totes, and shelves to organize our belongings. We are literally drowning in our stuff.
We have storage solutions for every room and even that isn’t enough so we rent storage lockers to hold our overflow. We have nearly 2 billion square miles of storage units available to us in a time when the average home has doubled in size and the number of people living in those homes has decreased.
I grew up in a small city along Lake Erie, it was common for people to pay for boat storage in the winter months in farmer’s barns. A small boat was a luxury, our splurge on a toy. Today we store a lot more than boats. Our toys have increased in number from electronics such as computers and video games to four wheelers. We have supplies for multiple hobbies we rarely practice and extensive holiday decorations that need some place to store until the next season.
In the city I call home today there is such a need for storage units that landlords rent homes to one person and the garage to another to use as storage. The going rate to rent a single car garage is $100 per month. (These garages aren’t counted in the square mile figures quoted above for storage units.)
What’s really shocking is that there are people who rent two and three storage lockers or garages to hold their stuff. When you stop to think about this practice it’s obvious that we not only need to earn the money to purchase our stuff but hundreds more a month to store it.
As a minimalist I can keep my expenses low by not paying to store my possessions. I don’t have a garage, but I do have a basement. Want to know what’s in my basement? A handful of cans of paint, six to be exact. The rest of my basement is empty and dedicated to the mechanics of my home, the water heater, circuit box and furnace.
In my house there are three closets, one in each bedroom. At this point two stand empty the other holds a few items such as tools needed to restore my home and my autumn/winter coat. I have one dresser that holds all my clothes for every season.
Being a minimalist, it is inexpensive and easy to find storage solutions, when a need arises, a simple shoe box works nicely. But there is one thing I love about being a minimalist, more than the money I save both from not shopping and not needing storage solutions. It is the ability to find any object without having to search for it. When you have less it’s easy to give each item a home and know where it will be when needed again.