Every January, when it's time to put away the holiday decorations and find a place for the wonderful and welcome (but where will they go?) gifts, I think about comedian George Carlin's routine, "A Place for My Stuff."
Carlin said "That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go and get.. More stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore."
Warning: Video contains language that is not work/child appropriate.
Consider yourself warned.
For "Trends that Don't Jibe," I propose our fascination with smaller and smaller housing, from "tiny homes" and micro-apartments to the "dorm-ification" of cities, including "co-living" where people voluntarily move into itty-bitty living spaces, and not just to save money. A community of like-minded people, living in an exciting place, decreasing your carbon footprint. But where do the holiday decorations go? Or the waffle maker?
What does this mean for our economy - how much stuff do you buy if you have no place to put it? Do we need to start rethinking our models of consumer spending? Are we talking about a new asceticism, or just a shift from one product to another? (hint: some folks from MIT want you to shift).
I think what's really going on here is, yet again, the Baby Boomers. Apparently Boomers' newest trend is downsizing and giving their stuff to their kids. See "Lock the Door! Your Boomer Parents Have Decided to Downsize," which explains it all, from lawn ornaments and porcelain dogs to stealth-dumping on unsuspecting children.
Having lately dodged a collection of "Gone With the Wind" plates, I'm convinced that tiny homes and micro-apartments are highly rational, well-thought out, even scientific. Carlin's got that covered too, especially for anyone with a Fitbit: "If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time."
Maybe I can find a waffle maker in the communal kitchen.
What stuff are you so afraid you'll end up with that you'd move to a micro-apartment to avoid it? Here at Camoin Associates, we started a poll, and challenge our readers to finish it in the comments:
- "Hundreds of Boyd's Bears!"
- "My mother's china cabinet full of china. It's just fragile stuff that will break and is a nuisance."
- "Granddad's four-poster bed. Who uses a double bed?"
- "Lock the Door! Your Boomer Parents Have Decided to Downsize" www.wsj.com/articles/lock-the-door-your-boomer-parents-have-decided-to-downsize-1478882973
- "NY's First Micro-Apartments Actually Look Kinda Comfortable" www.wired.com/2015/12/nys-first-micro-apartments-actually-look-kinda-comfortable/#slide-x
- "Inside WeLive, WeWork's Dorm-Style Take on Urban Housing" www.wired.com/2016/04/inside-welive-weworks-dorm-style-take-urban-housing/
- "Venture Capital's Answer to High-Priced Housing: Dorms for Grown Ups" www.wsj.com/articles/venture-capitals-answer-to-high-priced-housing-dorms-for-grown-ups-1458034201
- "London's 'Generation Rent' Tries Co-Living" www.wsj.com/articles/londons-generation-rent-tries-co-living-1478794237
- "Robo-Furniture from MIT Makes the Most of Tiny Apartments" www.wired.com/2016/07/robo-furniture-mit-makes-tiny-apartments/
- George Carlin Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDkA59e2_yU