At a recent meeting of the Lander Planning Commission, of which I have been a member for years, it was mentioned that we would soon be deciding on the addition of yet another “storage” facility on the east edge of our town.
To which, one of our members exclaimed: “What on earth do we need another storage facility for? The town is full of them!”
And not just Lander. Every city and town in Wyoming is stocked to capacity with those ubiquitous steel facilities known as storage units.
When I related this story to the guys I have coffee with, most were wistful about wishing they had built storage units years ago.
Most can see the need for them and use them.
Luckily, my own hoarding tendencies are covered by the fact that when we bought our current home and the land around it, it contained four outbuildings. All of which are now full of my “stuff.”
My excuse is fundamentally sound for having all this stuff.
As a media person over the past 50 years, we mainly dealt in tangible things like old copies of newspapers and film and notebooks and scrapbooks. I tell my wife Nancy that had we been in the Internet age about 35 years earlier, I would have had a heckuva lot less stuff.
Back to the subject storing things.
In the 1970s, the late Tom Rush wrote a funny weekly column for my newspaper. In one favorite, he described how he was showing a foreign exchange student around Lander.
He pointed out you could always identify the rich people because they parked their vehicles outside in the front of their garages.
The reason? Those rich folks owned so much stuff, they had to use the garages to store it rather than just put vehicles inside.
Lately our winters have been fierce and our springs have been cold, lengthy and snowy. Thus when the weather finally does warm up, we venture outside to tackle what to do with all this inventory.
At my house, like most, it is the little woman who carries the big stick when it comes to disciplining a husband who just cannot part with anything. On the rare occasion when we have tried to thin it out, I might find something that has been stored for 15 years.
To her, this is proof that the item is not important, thus it can be tossed or sold or given away. But, alas, to me it is like being reunited with an old friend.
We are at an age when my wife Nancy thinks we need to “get our affairs in order,” meaning I should through all my junk and get rid of 80 percent of it. “You sure do not want to leave this mess for our kids, do you?” she will ask.
In an earlier column, I once described myself as a champion “saver,” not a “hoarder.” As a journalist, well, you just need to keep track of all your records and all that stuff that once upon a time provided fodder for your writing.
I actually attempted to reduce my hoardings. It amounted to just over 300 bankers’ boxes full of mainly paper.
There were boxes of stuff relating to the Wyoming Travel Commission when I was a member of that important body from 1989 to 1993. There are also boxes of early stuff concerned with the founding of Wyoming Catholic College back at the turn of the century.
My service on the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission resulted in boxes of reports and engineering studies of all the airports in the state.
There are RFP (requests for proposals) from times when we owned an advertising agency that was constantly bidding on contracts.
The boxes full of old copies of Wyoming State Journal, Yellowstone Journal, Wyoming Visitor Magazine, The Real America Magazine and many more were almost countless. Most of those got recycled.
And the list goes on and on. I pared those boxes down to about 80, which I still plan to go through some time soon. Count on it.
Getting back one more time to storage units, one of the most amusing shows on TV is where buyers bid on abandoned storage units and then cash in on all the goodies that they find.
Once I am gone, it would not surprise me if Nancy takes bids on my storage buildings as a way to dispose of all my “stuff,” once and for all.
Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at www.billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written four books. His most recent book is “Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders” which is available at www.wyomingwonders.com.