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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Stairway to Storage

Written by Jaqui Lividini

There are many elements of renovation that don’t necessarily sound sexy or moving. But that’s what I’m here for, to make you realize that things like storage can actually be as delectable as the Met Ball images you’re perusing online. Yes, storage…you heard me correctly.

When we moved out of Easter cottage in 2002, we were expecting to buy a house in Stonington, so we moved the entire contents of that house into storage in Mystic, Connecticut. That was when we embarked on the almost  never-ending search for a house on the Connecticut shoreline, and our things remained in storage for (what seemed like) forever. When we finally found the house in Branford, we still kept everything stored, as we planned to totally renovate the house. (And, as you know from this blog, that is no fast task). The point is, since 2002, we have had the full contents of a house stowed away, which now takes up two very large containers in Branford (the contents of which we haven’t gone through in 11 years.) This past weekend we decided to go through everything for the first time. The process was an amazing kind of re-acquaintance with all our old things: There were things we’d forgotten we had, things we thought we’d lost, and things we knew were there but hadn’t been able to find in over a decade.

We were there in those units for the entire day and it was a bittersweet journey. We New Yorkers are so accustomed to renting storage spaces. Where the rest of America has attics and basements, we have storage containers. Then, when you buy or restore your house, you get to reconnect with those things that have been hidden away for so long. I found myself acting like a kid on a scavenger hunt—going through box after box finding hidden treasures. It all gave me such an unbelievable sense of rediscovery. We accumulate so much as Americans that storage has become much more of a necessity than a desire.

Now—as romantic as that all sounds—our job for the weekend was avoiding a call from the casting director of A&E’s  “Hoarders” and purging ourselves of the things we no longer needed. It’s always hard to admit you don’t need something.  Nostalgia inevitably seems to take over. We somehow managed to narrow our belongings down to two full containers…but wasn’t that how much space I’d said we had to begin with?  

Storage container #2

Clock face found at the Paris Flea Market in 2002

I bought 4 of these chairs at the Paris Flea Market in 2001. My friend Lori and I actually packed them up in boxes and took them on the plane with us.

This armoire hidden in the back of our storage container was purchased by my parents during their first year of marriage in 1954!

My favorite Iron Bed -- a Christmas gift from John in 2001.

We found this light fixture in Northeast Harbor Maine in 2005

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