News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Where will we put all this junk?

If you can't squeeze your car into the garage, please read no further.

If you rent a unit in one of those mini-storage places, stop here and turn the page.


You're still here.

That means you either don't have too much junk at your house or you're not worried about being offended.

This is a column about junk. It's a piece about people who have more junk than square footage. It's about people who have so much junk that they have to rent space to store their old junk so they can make room for new junk.

As a society, we're filling garages, landfills, oceans and even outer space with junk.

A junk Epiphany, however, can alter your life.

It happened to me when I had to explain to an insurance adjuster how an old bed frame stored in the carport collided with my Mazda.

Since that day I have thrown things away, given them away, sold them at yard sales and tossed them into backyard bonfires.

If it won't fit in the house, who needs it?

Junk is no longer limited to the run-down property littered with weeds, broken cars and dog-strewn rubbish.

Junk has gone upscale.

In the Memphis area a developer is proposing a 120,000-square-foot, climate-controlled, state-of-the-art self-storage unit, according to the Memphis Daily News. With faux windows, vivid colors and a variety of brick and stone, it will look like an upscale storefront.

Now, rich folks' junk won't have to mingle with poor-folks' junk.

The Decatur area doesn't have anything that fancy, but the local phone book lists 31 mini-storage businesses, some decorated in an attractive tone of orange sheet metal.

Being a country boy, I figured the national explosion in the self-storage business came because nobody has barns anymore.

But the San Francisco Business Times said it is, in part, due to people needing a place for their belongings after losing their homes to foreclosure. Maybe if they didn't buy all that junk, they could make their mortgage payment.

Also, the article said, some baby boomers are downsizing to smaller homes and condos and storing their stuff. Storing it for the afterlife?

Another article blamed everything from the mobility of our society to the lack of basements in new homes.

Your momma, however, might liken it to putting too much food on your plate.

She might say your eyes were bigger than your stomach.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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