A recent report in the East Anglian Daily Times about a local historian’s efforts to find a local home for his substantial collection of local photos, records and books prompted this blog.
Although the issue was that he wanted his collection to stay in the town that was its subject, it does prompt the wider question of why such collections are so valuable and the difficulties of finding accessible places in which to preserve them.
We live in an age where the increase of online sources of information and opinion-forming are everywhere and instantly available, but it could be argued that this has limited both people’s abilities to store information in their memories and has also shortened attention spans.
Do we need to retain our memories of special moments?
How many of us actually ever look at those souvenirs we have kept of special moments?
They are often items of little monetary value – a champagne cork, an old theatre or concert programme, faded letters, a much-battered child’s toy – but more sentimental memories.
Psychologists argue that our relationship with possessions is based on the fact that we own them, which means that we
In 2015 anthropologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) carried out a study into possessions in the average home. It found that even in the smallest home in their study, a house of 980 sq ft, there were, in the two bedrooms and living room alone
Despite trends such as minimalism and decluttering and the “throwaway society” idea of the relentless pursuit of the newest and best, human beings are nothing if not contrary and many of us find it difficult to get rid of possessions.
The 19th Century British textile designer William Morris advised:
It is not unusual for businesses with operations in several countries to ask employees to work at a different location for a time. If this is likely and you will be working away for more than six months, and your family is likely to be moving with you, but it is not a permanent move, you may not want to sell your home or leave it empty.
You may instead decide to rent out your home. We’ve put together a
GDPR Applies to Paper Archives Not Only Online Records
Many businesses and other organisations are legally obliged to keep records for a defined number of years.
These records, for example, legal documents and health records, are often in printed form and it may not have been possible to convert them into digital records.
However, paper records can soon start eating up space and one solution has been for organisations to store them with self-storage companies.
Weird items found in self-storage and what not to store
In the north of England there’s a saying: “there’s nowt so queer as folk” and that surely applies to some of the weird items that have been found in self-storage units over the years.
The majority of bizarre finds have been in the USA, where self-storage has been going for a lot longer than it has in the UK, even so, you have to wonder what people were thinking!
Perhaps the strangest find of all was a meat smoker containing an amputated human leg. It turned out that the leg’s owner had been in a plane crash and had been keeping it in storage so that it could be buried with him when he died.
High on the weirdness list is the remains of a grandmother – fortunately in her coffin – in Tampa Bay, Florida. There was an explanation, however. The woman’s daughter had been prevented from arranging burial by a combination of rainstorms and a broken-down truck, hence putting granny in storage.
Among the other finds have been a live hand grenade and a NASA rocket.
In the UK, finds have included a Sunday dinner left in an oven, a stuffed mammoth, a rifle and samurai sword, an old piano, empty champagne bottles and a wooden fridge.
What not to store
Self-storage companies do have some rules about what you can’t store, mostly for safety reasons.
Plainly, anything that could rot or attract vermin is not a good idea, so food is on the no-store list. It can rot and can also attract vermin and insects. Not only that an infestation would spread to other units in the facility.
By the same token hazardous materials are banned. They include chemicals, aerosol cans, acids, gases, gasoline, propane tanks, lamp or motor oils, pains, paint thinners, cleaners, pesticides, weed killers, car batteries and fireworks. Similarly, if storing lawn mowers or similar items that are petrol driven they should be drained of fuel before storage.
Equally, anything living, whether plants or pets should not be stored. Believe it or not, it has been tried, with tragic results in some cases.
Similarly, self-storage is not the solution for stashing stolen goods or for firearms, munitions, gunpowder and explosives.
Finally, and perhaps surprisingly, there is a restriction on the storage of tyres – usually limited to a maximum of four. The explanation facility owners give is that it is expensive to dispose of them and storage companies are often stung with the bill.