On Storage, Space & Stuff

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By Mark Lundegren

DSC_0661-Edit~2There has been a long trend toward larger homes and more things to put in them, and therefore toward larger closets and storage spaces too.

In many upscale dwellings in the developed world, closets now can be enormous and even rooms in themselves. The use of full basements is common as well, creating the potential to match the entire footprint of a home with stored possessions.

But a new and growing counter-trend is gaining strength, questioning the wisdom and even need of this inherited design and lifestyle trajectory. It asks us to consider the optimal size of our homes, and equally the amount of storage space and storable things in our lives.

The Ethos Of Conscious Vs. Conspicuous Consumption In Action

Central to new thinking about the ideal amount of personal space and storables in our lives is the idea that we will naturally fill the space we have…whether it is intended for daily living or housing possessions that do not fit within the regular scope of our day-to-day lives. This space-filling can be the product of the normal goals and inertia of materialist living, or simply from feeling unsettled with and motivated to act on the presence of significant unused or unclaimed space around us.

Though there is limited research of these potentially life-altering domestic phenomena, anecdotal evidence from portraits of large home life today (see here for an example) suggests that we tend to make a good and happy use of a set maximum amount of space and possessions per person. If we strive or are driven to obtain more things and/or more space, we can regressively and ironically overshoot this natural maximum and reduce total quality of life via our added efforts, however well-intentioned they may be.

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