We’re Not a Self-Storage Facility; We’re Guardians of the Memories
Since our primary responsibility at All American Self Storage in the Redwood City area is to keep others’ possessions safe, we are interested in how people view and use their possessions. There have been several psychological studies examining one’s relationship to their environment, particularly their attachments to certain, non-remarkable items tied strongly to memory, warm and calming feelings.
We all have an interesting relationship with our possessions. It begins in early childhood as small children develop attachments with their world. They often have a special security object during this time. These objects, known as transitional objects, from the 40s to the 70s carried some stigma, with the most extreme views stating that children with a security object had not formed a healthy and secure connection with their mothers. (It’s always the mothers, right?) More recent studies and beliefs indicate that the opposite is true and that the child uses these objects to take feeling of love and comfort into a new situation and that the necessity of having made strong personal connections is at the crux of the successful use of a security object.
There are indications that suggest that the need for a security object varies in different ethnic and cultural groups as well, with American children using security objects more often than Asian children, for example. While there has not yet been a definitive study on the reason why, some suggest that Americans’ strong sense of individuality drives them to feel more defined by items, while cultures with a more cooperative, collective view are less likely to develop this trait.
Either way, it is interesting. While we encourage children to have healthy attachments to security items, when this trait carries into adolescence and adulthood, there is evidence that mental health is adversely affected by an attachment to a specific childhood item. Basically, if we still need to sleep with “Mr. Buttons” at 15, 25, or 35, there is probably some genuine reason for concern.
As we read about these studies and discussed them, we all disclosed that we do have attachments to our possessions. More than one of us shared a tender story about losing a security object during a vacation, shopping trip, etc.
After this discussion, we had a new appreciation for our work. Let’s face it, when we speak of our job as managing one of the many facilities providing self storage near Redwood City, CA, it doesn’t sound like the most important job that one can have. Rather, when we frame it as, “We protect people’s treasured possessions from harm,” it becomes something else. Maybe we should have capes made or something.