Monday, August 27, 2007

"Stuff" and the space to store it getting more expensive

The past few days, between the mortgage crisis, the climate crisis, and the fromage crisis (ok, I'm making the last one up). There's an increasing amount of awareness about stuff. Paul Graham who often waxes poetic on technology, computer science and start ups, took a left turn and wrote about Stuff and how he has too much about it. He brings up a really good point that in the last 30 years stuff went from something that was valuable to stuff that was not valuable by virtue of abundance. Now, I'm one of those people who's a packrat, part of it might have come from my immigrant upbringing. part of it is probably genetic. But I am a person who tends to accumulate, despite my best efforts. At the risk of shocking some of my friends who know me, I am a dumpster diver in spirit if not reality. It always amazes me how much is thrown away.

As an aside, in California with a CRV or "California Recycle Value" on beverage containers and there are those who dumpster dive for the bottles and in the parlance of Silicon Valley --> Monetize it. If these vagrants, had access to a computer (or iPhone) they could probably collect more in the form of old computers, calculators, maybe furniture and monetize it even more. There use be city programs that would give homeless people voice mail numbers, so they could be reached in an effort at stabilizing their existence.

But all that stuff going into the trash, begs the question of why is it being thrown away. Perhaps there isn't a place to store it. Hard to believe when you think about the size of these McMansions. John Dingell is proposing legislation to remove the interest deduction for homes over 3000 square feet. It does make sense, homes are made larger to justifty higher prices, as developers well know. And any real estate agent will say, but you're not paying it, it's deducted off your taxes. Leading to even bigger houses. For most people, 3000 sq ft is plenty. It might inject some sanity back into our real estate fetish.

Anyone who is curious about real estate and the effect on the psyche, should read Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe series. Frank is a realtor, and the emotional attachment of real estate hits a deep and solid chord.



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