The Myth of Insufficient Storage Space

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Oh man, I’m about to give you one of those really loving and brutally honest butt-kickings that I’ve been known to dole out from time to time. This is going to be a hard truth for many of you to swallow so just maybe sit down and take a breath:

89% of the time, people are convinced that they have insufficient storage space.

27% of the time, they’re accurate (and probably also residing in NYC).

The other… (hold on let me count, math’s not my forte) 73(!)% of the time, they’re so, so mistaken.

The problem is (almost) never that you don’t have enough space to fit your stuff. The problem, little hummingbirds, is that you have too much stuff to fit your space.

Here’s why I know this is true: if you give most people storage space, they will fill it. If, after complaining about how they’ve run out of room, you give them more, they’ll fill that too. And on and on it will go.

This involves the classic mistake of looking outside yourself and finding a place to lay blame for the fact that your life feels overstuffed, rather than looking inside and realizing that you’re trying to accommodate a bunch of stuff you don’t really need. To place the blame on the amount of storage space is to negate the cause and skip right over to focusing on the effect.

If and only if you have truly edited the material contents of your life, have expelled the extraneous and cultivated a collection of items that brings you happiness, serves you in tangible ways, and enables your daily routine, can you look to the space you’re working with as the culprit.

But guess what? There’s no rest for the weary. Because if you’ve done all those things? And you’re still quite sure it’s the lack of storage space that’s the problem? Well, then you better get busy paring down some more. After all, the ultimate judge has to be the reality of spatial limits. There’s no getting around the fact that at the end of the day, if you want to maintain an organized environment, and want to be able to see, utilize and enjoy all of your belongings, then you’ve got to live within your spatial means.

Tough beans, peeps.

Image credits: Urban Outfitters, NY Times, BHG

3 thoughts on “The Myth of Insufficient Storage Space

  1. Kelekona

    There is insufficient and there is inefficient. I could live in a small warehouse and have more square-footage, but no place to keep the coffeepot. I’m thinking that more bookcases would help with the piling issues.

  2. adventuresintheherenow

    I absolutely agree! Stuff expands to fit the space available to it.
    But as Kelekona said there’s having space, but not having the right kind of spaces to keep things. I have a basement where I could keep the vacuum cleaner, but that’s really not a good location for it because I have to go outside and unlock a door and brave some scary 1920s stairs to get to it. I would love to have a linen closet or a hall closet or a space under some stairs to tuck away the vacuum cleaner and things like that. I have to live more like the people from the 20s who built this house, who only had a couple of electrical appliances and probably only had 9 outfits each.


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