Are you storing or archiving?

I remember watching property programs growing up and people would exclaim with delight at the amount of storage a potential new home had or bemoan the lack of it. But why? Why this fascination to store our things?

Storage is the action or method of storing something for future use.

Archiving is the transfer of something to a less frequently used storage medium.

Storage is pretty common in a house. We store our clothes in our wardrobe, our cutlery in a draw, our food in the fridge.

Archiving is pretty common too. We archive our children’s toys in the loft, our half-working batteries in the junk draw and our old sports equipment in the garage.

The question is, which one are you doing with your stuff?

Neither one is inherently bad but I believe archiving can be more pervasive.

If we understand the act or storing something for future use, then what is archiving? Will whatever we have archived be used again or will it forever remain unused? How long is forever? A month, a year, a decade?

This is why I believe a good way to simplifying your possessions is to ask yourself – have I used this in the past year? If not, then it may be time to get rid of it.

Thanks to the digital revolution we can now archive things in a more space-concious manner. If you have a collection of letters or children’s toys that you fear letting go of, perhaps scan them or take a photo of them; so that if you do want to reflect on them you can do so wherever and whenever you wish. You could then possibly donate the letters to a museum and the toys to a charity shop.

When we let go of things, we allow others to benefit and derive value from them, furthering their use.

Storage, the physical space to store something is a tool like any else. A tool that can be used for its intended purpose or not. We cannot use all that we own at once but be wary that storing something can easily turn into an archive.

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