Storage Unit

My dad has always rented out a storage unit for as long as I can remember. He’s always been in and out of living places and new jobs, so the storage unit has always held his items he has no space for. We would take trips to the storage facility, and I would sit in the car while he dug through the unit for something specific, or he would make me sort through my things I didn’t even know he kept, deciding what to keep and what to discard. When I was in late middle school, he made a late payment, as he typically did, but this time they sold his entire unit to an auction. He told me he curled into fetal position on the floor of the storage facility office and bawled his eyes out, while the employee at the desk couldn’t do anything to help. His storage unit had heirlooms from his dad, and his dad’s ashes, it had his keepsakes of my childhood. It also had items that would have no deep meaning to anyone else, that he has added sentimental value to: a broken wardrobe cabinet we’ve shared over the years, an old couch with a broken leg, endless movie tickets and wristbands and cards and more.

The easy solution would be to just live somewhere bigger, because a storage unit is just a waste of money. In reality, it’s much easier to come up with $60 or so a month than paying hundreds more in rent, especially living paycheck to paycheck. The storage unit industry is capitalist and neo-feudal in nature, profiting off simply housing people’s things with no labor involved. I’ve recognized a pattern within my experiences and of lower working-class people as a whole of hoarding items that would not seem of value to anyone else. My perspective understands this as the idea that one would not be able to afford these items again, and that personal objects are of more value for a lower class person as they are not disposable. The use of a storage unit as a lower class person maintains this dream of escaping poverty, with the idea that these items are being housed temporarily, but they will have space to exist in a larger home in the future.

The installation arrangement puts the objects exposed to the elements of the world with no real security or permanence. These objects are amongst my own from another one of those times he would make me go through things to keep or get rid of, but just like my dad I kept some of the seemingly useless things that still hold some sentimental significance to me in my head.


found concrete, corrugated and painted metal, lock, chain, constructed pull-down door hardware, lock of my hair from my second big haircut in 2019 by my step-mom, bowling scores between ‘Chelbi Roo’ and ‘Chris’, license plate I airbrushed when I was a child with a blue smiley face with a mustache on a black background because my dad airbrushed, Samuel Jewelers warranty for a piece of jewelry my dad gave me for Christmas, small cup from my dad