Update: A lot of people are finding this link looking for video game storage. If that is you, there are really only a few factors to keep in mind, particularly if your video game collection is large. Buy shelves, racks, or cupboards that are sturdy, that will not allow your games to be exposed to too much dust in the air, and don’t store your games in really hot or cold rooms.
I wrote more about this riveting topic in my opus, Video Game Storage Solutions For Dummies.
For the regular readers, please continue.
Once there was an untidy, tall child with an enormous head and slumped shoulders. He grew up to become a tall man with an enormous head and better posture. And although he made vast improvements in the cleaning-up-after-himself department, it was not for the reasons his mother wanted.
My mom always wanted me to clean my room up because it would “Teach responsibility.” What she actually meant was that it would mean less work for her, and that I totally get (now). But like a lot of kids, I was forgetful, frequently selfish, always self-absorbed, and although I did my chores, I usually had to be reminded to do them.
One of the reasons it didn’t seem that important to me was that I shared a small room with my brother. There were about 2 square feet of floor space next to our book beds and the storage units for our video games, books, and music.
It only took one errant sock on the floor to make the whole room look like a pigsty. “Why bother if it’s just going to get messy again?” was my lazy train of thought.
But even then, I realized that there was a psychological element to the amount of space and clutter in a room. The best instance I can give is from my relationship with the video game storage situation in that room.
From the time the Atari 2600 came out through High School when I was addicted to the Super Nintendo games, a large chunk of my free time revolved around video games. I still get a kick out of the oldies like Missile Command, Frogger, and the less-oldies like the Mario Brothers games, but it’s purely nostalgia at this point.
When Super Mario Brothers 2 came out for the Nintendo Entertainment system, I would wake up, play for about 30 minutes, put it on pause while I went to school, and then resume the game after I got home.
We were lucky kids. Between our birthdays, Christmas, and nice parents who were often pushovers, we were able to amass quite a hoard of games. And no matter how many video game storage units or racks my parents bought for us, those games often just wound up on the floor. Or piled on the desk which was already overflowing with other electronic entertainments diverse and sundry.
Or we’d get a shoebox and create an impromptu storage unit. My dad bought us a video game storage cabinet that I quickly filled up with my growing collection of books instead. There was always something messy. It was rarely clean, and even when we straightened up, it still felt like there was just too much stuff.
It started to feel claustrophobic in that room. I’m not complaining about the conditions. My grandfather lived in a tent with 7 siblings during the depression when they couldn’t muster $10 for their house payment. I had all the room that I needed, but the acquisition of more stuff started to get to me, even though more stuff was what I wanted.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was increasingly agitated when I was in that room for too long. Every book added to the shelves, and every Nintendo game added to the storage spaces just made the walls creep in a little bit closer.
These days, I can see what was happening. Max has a lot of toys and it is hard to take a step without landing on something he was playing with. We clean up after him constantly, but there’s only so much containment a two-year-old will be subjected to if you’re not willing to resort to parenting by wicker cage.
Compounded with my still-growing book collection, the last two years have been a period of instruction: clutter and the psyche 101. I am constantly amazed by how much better I can feel if I take 10 minutes and clean a room. Or put the books that are stacked on the table into a cupboard. Or onto some shelving, but that’s in scarce supply.
I don’t know how to explain it, but being in a cluttered room is not good for me. And when I was in that small room with my brother, being penned in by video games and books had a cost as well, beyond the sheer materialism that I try to avoid these days.
For those of you who have been there, who are there, who have escaped, or are trying to claw your way out, how do you deal with the accumulation of too much stuff? What effect does it have on your mind? Why? Is the answer just to buy a bigger house and let things air out?
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