When people look for a new home, they are generally concerned about storage. In other words, they want plenty of closet space along with a roomy basement or attic. Why? Because they need the space to store all of their possessions. It is a fact of life that homes with little storage space do not sell as well as those with more. This should tell us something about how we view storage space in America.
Storage space is a necessary part of life for any family. We all have things that do not get regularly used, things that need to be stored away when not in use. However, an excessive need for storage space may indicate a family has too much stuff. It might also be a precursor to an eventual hoarding problem.
Normal Closet Space
A typical American home will include closets in the hallway, main bathroom and each of the bedrooms. Closets should be large enough to accommodate normal household items and a reasonable amount of clothing. The danger of having too much closet space is that it is an invitation to acquire more possessions. It is very similar to the idea of climbing Mount Everest ‘because it’s there’.
There is nothing wrong with having empty or underused closet space. Count that as a blessing. The more open space you have in your closets, the less you have to deal with when it comes time to move, complete your spring-cleaning, etc. On the other hand, viewing open closet space as an invitation to buy more just leaves you with more things to have to worry about.
Attics and Basements
Standard closet space is pretty benign in terms of presenting any serious problems. Attics and basements are different. Beginning with the attic, do not forget that this space is unfinished space that creates a whole litany of potential safety issues. The more of your possessions you have stored in the attic, the more you are risking your safety.
For example, consider the fact that most attics do not have full floors. Traversing the space is a matter of walking on planks laid between the rafters. This automatically presents the risk of slipping and falling through the ceiling below as you walk through the space. You might also end up stacking stored possessions in such a way as to risk them falling through the ceiling as well.
As far as basements are concerned, the biggest problems we have seen over the years are flooding and mold growth. Basements are notorious for moisture that can ruin any possessions you store there. If you do utilize basement storage, make sure your possessions are stacked on pallets at least a few inches off the floor. Also, be sure to allow plenty of air to circulate in and around boxes to prevent mold growth.
Minimize the Stored Items
As we mentioned earlier, some amount of storage space is a necessary part of life. Nevertheless, if you can minimize the total volume of possessions you need to put in storage, you will be better off in the long run. So make a point of not packing your closets so full that you cannot get the door closed. Avoid storing in the attic as much as possible and, in the basement, always be aware of the potential
for flooding and mold growth.