Rethinking The Need For Storage

Rethinking The Need For Storage

Leah Moss
Jan 21, 2011

Often without knowing it, what we store and and the way we store it may tell a lot about the way we live. Taking that one step further, storage can actually influence the way we live!

During this month or organization and fresh starts, I've been thinking over Apartment Therapy's goal of helping each other connect "to the resources [we] need to improve [our] homes, while reducing [our] reliance on stuff." Many times when readers see a very orderly home they wonder "where's all the stuff?" Or if it's a clean kitchen with limited cabinet space kitchen, they ask "do these people ever cook????"

Obviously, there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to shopping or to storage, but it may be useful to reflect on why we desire the need for so much extra storage.

When I first moved into my current home, the lack of cabinet/closet space was worrisome. We had no room for a pantry, no deep linen closet for bulk cleaning supplies or mountains of linens, and essentially no efficient place to store extra clothes. What's more, we have messy young children, pets, and frequent overnight visitors, and we love to entertain large crowds. Not to mention our gear-heavy hobbies. Moving from the midwest where even our tiny home had ample (at the time I thought "normal") storage, it seemed like an insurmountable adjustment.

However, with time and some growing/down-sizing pains the lack of storage actually made my life more efficient, and even easier on our budget! Not right away, but as I adjusted I came to realize that what I had thought as a necessity was actually an excess. Not having a pantry has forced me to plan a weekly menu which I used to write our weekly grocery list. The result has been better meals and fewer nonperishable items lurking in the cabinets for months on end. And, not having extra closet space means that I think more about what I buy and also has me doing laundry for myself and my family more often...not glamorous but it makes for a less chaotic everyday life. Mountains of dirty clothes have become much less frequent (although there are occasional sightings), and it's easier to keep track of the things that we already own.

But the real surprise is how it has forced me to come up with more aesthetic solutions to storage. Since more is out in the open, more has to be presentable, which means I'm less likely to buy something ugly in the first place just because "it works." Without a closet to tuck it away it, I actually have to love it even if it's something a utilitarian as a trash can or a craft supply holder.

In short, lack of storage has forced me to finally get organized, think more aesthetically, and be a little more creative...or at least be more aware of the need to do so.

For those of you who have had to or have chosen to give up extra storage, what has been your coping strategy, and how has it affected your day to day life? And for all of you with lots of storage, what are your tricks for keeping your life organized and pack-rat tendencies at bay?

Image: Moomah via Wide Open Spaces

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