Memories in the storeroom

When this house was put up six years ago, one of the features I wanted to be included was a storeroom. I don’t mean a closet, and I’m not talking about some little cubby hole stuck in a corner somewhere. No, what I wanted was a real, bona-fide, walk-in storeroom with a door to close and space and shelves.

And as I finished putting away the Christmas decorations last week on the top shelf in the basement storeroom, I reflected on how right my idea was and how glad I am that it didn’t get cut out of the plans. It’s not because this a Taj Mahal of a storeroom that I like it. It’s really quite a basic, 12′ x 15′ space with sturdy wire shelving on two walls, one window, one door, and space for a small deep freeze, among a handful of other random pieces of furniture that for now at least are unused.

Just about everyone has pieces in their life like that and if they’re lucky have a place to store them for at least a little while. I’m really not much of the keeper type, but there are always just some items not to part with. And then there are always things like sleeping bags and picnic baskets, lampshades and Christmas decorations, the high chair and a pair of crutches.

Some folks have attics for storing their treasures, and just lately I’ve heard some grumbling about them. It seems attics are very easy to fill up but also easy to ignore as they just get fuller and become the stereotypical out-of-sight-out-of-mind problem. It’s just so convenient to put things there because you can.

Then there are still a few farm families who live on the home place where their attic still holds leavings from an earlier generation or two-even three- who farmed the place before they did.

That issue supports my theory that having storage available often becomes a liability rather than an asset. But, since I grew up in a farmhouse with virtually no storage of any kind except for a damp basement, storage is bonus. Like my simple little basement storeroom.

The 1919 Craftsman house we lived in for eleven years didn’t have an attic, but there was what was known as the trunk room at the top of the stairs to the second floor. It was a long, narrow, finished room that even had a window in the end of it. When a relative of the home builders stopped by one day, she told me her aunt really did store trunks in the trunk room. And when the niece was there for a visit, it was usually her task to empty all the trunks in the room, wash all the linens, and then pack everything away again.

Attics and storerooms may no longer be common in new construction, but I’m glad they’re still a part of the way we live.