What Does Your Space Mean to You?

Decluttering is in fashion. You only have to look at the rise of Marie Kondo, recently chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, to see that people are starting to feel overwhelmed by… stuff.

©Patrick Butler-Madden

©Patrick Butler-Madden

Here in modern-day London, the difficulties are obvious. Our flats seem to be getting smaller, while our appetites are getting larger. Hence the sudden interest in professional organisers – lovely, if you can afford one – brought in to help carve a bolt-hole for yourself in your own space. Kind of crazy, when you stop to give it some thought.

Of course, modern life offers us plenty of ways to reduce the clutter. There’s the Kindle to replace your bookcase, the mp3 to replace your record collection, the tablet to replace your TV, Facebook to replace your photo albums – all fantastic, in their own way, but also a tad soulless.

Not all clutter is frustrating. A lot of it is comforting. Much of it is a representation of who you are, or who you were at the time you bought it, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that in spite of what the lifestyle media tells us.

That said, old university books, CD collections from your teenage years – as nice as they are, they still take up space, which isn’t a commodity many of us here in London can boast about. Everyone dreams of having acres of it in the future, but until house prices drop or we earn our first million, much of that lovely stuff will need somewhere to live.

The notion of putting everything into self-storage can be a bit unappealing. Those anonymous sheds on the edge of town require the van rental, the enthusiasm to clamber over other peoples’ dusty stuff and the willingness to pay for a whole room when you only need a quarter of it. It simply isn’t a convenient option for most young people living in big cities like London.

Which is where modern on-demand services become useful. Just as you might click online to get your Graze box delivered to you, or Hassle to ping a cleaner to your door, Boxman does self-storage London style. Rather than you having to find a chunk in your weekend to schlep out to a self-storage shed, Boxman brings the service to your door, delivering surprisingly stylish blue boxes at the click of a button, leaving you time to pack them up, and then returning to whisk them away to a secure location. You pay by the box, too, so it’s cost-efficient.

With this service, it’s not ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you later’. When you pack the boxes, you digitally tag them, allowing you to recall individual boxes whenever you want via an online dashboard. It’s a great way to shift stuff quickly (they’ll try to come within a couple of hours) when you need space, whether it’s because you have to make room for a new flatmate, because you’re having renovations done, because you haven’t any room for your winter wardrobe, or simply because you can’t bear to say goodbye to loveable items that you hope to offer a better home to in the future.

After all, one person’s clutter is another’s collection of happy memories.