Thursday, 1 September 2011

Far Too Much Stuff

The BBC News website seems to be developing a curious obsession with what are nowadays called 'storage solutions'. Who can forget the classic piece on cardboard boxes ('We've all been there...')? Now comes an equally, er, hard-working piece on the startling discovery that people are leaving stuff in self-storage warehouses for longer - which, amazingly, is the most popular story on the website today, with a terrific stream of comments building up. This piece doesn't go down the 'We've all been there' route, opting instead for the ominous 'It begins as a temporary solution...' and following the unfolding of the inevitable narrative of descent into helpless self-storage dependency. As the piece makes its stately progress through paragraph after paragraph, facts and figures are deployed, along with harrowing personal testimonies and insights from a wide range of leading storage experts. The social implications are considered, and there's a mention of the excellent Freecycle scheme (which I heartily recommend as the best solution to having too much stuff). Then along comes a touch of economics - the 'endowment effect' - before the inevitable dip into psychology and a contribution from Oliver James. It's a long, long ride to nowhere in particular. The fact is, we all have Far Too Much Stuff - although, of course, followers of Nigeness will not need telling that books don't count as Stuff.


  1. Freecycle is a 'scheme'? I thought it involved leaving stuff (no, not books) outside your front door with a bit of scrap paper on it requesting people to help themselves.

    BTW Oliver James is one of the most evil men alive today.

  2. There's a whole chapter on this very subject in Edgelands, that book you are avoiding!

  3. My favorite "scheme" of recycling was done by my feisty old Hungarian condo neighbour.

    She put stuff she didn't want into the elevator (25 floor condo). She said by the time she needed the elevator again, the stuff was always gone. I myself rescued a 7-foot tree -- still have it.

    I asked her what the largest thing she'd (surely struggled to) put in the small-ish elevator.

    She giggled,
    "A headboard, for a double bed."

  4. As it says on the popular bumper sticker over here;

    'Whoever Has The Most Stuff When They Die Wins'

  5. Vintage stuff, everybody - thanks!