What You Store Tells Who You Are

Posted on Jun 8 2012 - 11:00am by Jessica Johnson

My neighborhood seems to be shifting by seismic proportions these last few months. There is something about spring time that makes us all want to clean out, move and start new adventures. It’s more revolutionary than a new year.


One of my close friends and neighbors has decided to pack it all up and move to Central America. Just like that.


I walked through her home with her last week and we talked about all of her things. She had boxes full of items to donate, things to throw out, and some boxes she was going to bring with her. Then there was everything else.


“Everything else” was the biggest group. We talked about the memories of many of the items, the family treasures, and the sentimental pieces. “This stuff,” she said, “is who I am.”


This Stuff Is Who I Am

I have been thinking about that experience with my friend for the last week, and especially her sentiment about how her things are part of her personal narrative. So many times in this blog, online, on television, and in magazines we are reminded to clean out, get rid, simplify. I agree with most of this. Minimalizing extra stuff keeps your mind clearer and your life simpler.




There are many things that are special—sacred, even—to us. They are a solid reminder of who we were, where we came from, who we want to be. We need to be OK to hold onto these moments and sentiments in object form.


Be OK with Wanting and Storing Our Things

I tend to feel guilt every time I go into my garage or storage space and see boxes. I don’t want to end up on some hoarding show with rat droppings all over my dining room and kitchen. I want to be sanitary and clean, ergo I feel that I need to get rid of pretty much every single thing that I am not using right this minute.


That would be sad, though. I wouldn’t have my grandmother’s china she chose at her wedding. I wouldn’t have my favorite books from when I was a child nor would I have my scrapbooks that I made in college. What about that old table that my Great Grandfather made that I don’t have a place for in my current home? It would be tragic to get rid of these things solely because I can’t use them right now. So I store them.


What You Store is What You Are

There are things that we cannot part with. These things make up a part of who we are. Sometimes we store them in our garage, our attic or our storage space. Some things we can shove in a shoebox under our bed. We should not feel guilt for keeping them. They are part of us and we cherish them.


What do you have in storage that you cannot throw out? What are some items that you would say “are you”? Do you ever feel guilt for not getting rid of your treasures?

Jessica Johnson