NYC Living: How Much Can I Store In Mom and Dad’s Basement and Get Away With It?

Happy New Year!  I thought I would take a moment to get personal this time around and share my holiday experience. It deals with a NYC pandemic which rivals rats, bedbugs and the need to wear black. I am of course talking about storage. More to the point, the lack of storage and the “creativity” New Yorkers display when it comes to making a suitcase look like an end table, or a cardboard box look like a TV stand. And, when we run out of ways to add storage to by shoving our pots and pan in the oven or clipping a towel rack to the bottom of a bar stool, we go vertical.

suitcase end table

At some point – even though we own and keep less than a nomad with one camel – we begin feeling like a hoarder and decide to call CubeSmart or Manhattan Mini Storage. If you are like me, this burns you up! I begin calculating the cost of a 4x4x4 storage unit and comparing it against raising my floors by 2 feet and living above my stuff under 6 foot ceilings. Or, I think, at $50 per month I can catch a plane out of this ant farm and “visit” my stuff in someone else’s house – namely my parents. It’s a win-win, right? They get the pleasure of seeing me a couple times a year (assuming I actually need to see the stuff I am storing – which I don’t) and I get to avoid paying for my VHS tape collection and the fake Christmas tree I purchased so I didn’t pay for a new real tree each year (thank you very much St. Olaf College for my Economics degree). So, with my stuff in Mom, Dad and Step-mom’s storage (which is AMPLE by the way – I could live in either of their storage rooms happily and have considered it) I thought I had my problem solved. Well, based on Christmas this year, they are on to me…

plate blog

I am always thankful for every gift I receive, and would never think to complain about the generosity of my family when it comes to Christmas…usually. All of the gifts were beautifully wrapped and appropriately placed under the tree or in my stocking on Christmas morning and I am quite sure my level of anticipation and curiosity trumped that of my two year old daughter – until I realized what was happening. Gift after gift looked strangely familiar! I received ornaments which were mine from childhood, plates I had made for my grandma and grandpa when I was 10, things I had left on various trips to avoid getting a storage unit and even some things which weren’t mine! Things THEY wanted to unload (like a framed 5×7 Senior Photo of ME from high school pulled straight from the shelf to make room for more pictures of grandkids…seriously!). They flipped it on me and made me bring extra storage home!

storge unit full

Now that the game is up, and my things are not welcome in the palatial, spacious and EMPTY room my folks call a storage nook, what am I to do? I guess I will have to raise my bed a few inches and live to fight another day.

Thanks for reading and remember, there is likely a few cubic inches of space in your microwave which you are not using right now…or maybe you are already beyond that. I am.


My name is Eirik Davey-Gislason and I work in real estate in New York City. This blog is an opportunity for me to educate everyone who has a horror story or is on the verge of one. By sharing, preparing and advising my audience on what to expect, what is normal, what is right, and what is wrong, I hope to do my part to expose the wrong-doers and shape the future of this dysfunctional thing we call NYC Real Estate.

2 thoughts on “NYC Living: How Much Can I Store In Mom and Dad’s Basement and Get Away With It?

  1. Erik, great article and a relevant topic. I am one of those nasty parents, who is trying to find inventive ways of returning my kids stuff to them, without having my grandparent privileges suspended.
    I see your folks have resorted to the gift ploy. It’s a great way of passing things on. My sister actually got me on that one the year after my parents died. I thought I had gotten away without any of the small junk, and didn’t feel a bit suspicious when my sis and brother in law wanted to get together that year to celebrate Christmas. And they seemed so generous. I was actually embarrassed, commenting that I hadn’t been as extravagant, buying them only a small, token gift. They played with me, talking about the importance of family, now that mom and dad were gone, love and memories and all that good crap. Really had me going. It wasn’t until I started opening my gifts, and discovered the beige vase that always sat in the living room, the bowl for popcorn, the cookie jar, all the junk I had foisted on my sister to dispose of! And her sitting their, laughing until she almost wet herself. It turned out to be a good year for Goodwill.
    But, lately, I’ve been thinking of the big city life, and possible solutions. The other day I saw a Comcast repair man ..who, by the way, rarely actually repairs anything, park near our home, take out a key, and opened up one of those big metal containers that sits on the city right of way near the sidewalk. And I thought to myself… Imagine, finding a rather innocuous location, purchase a metal container (heck, you can probably just take one from another location) get a couple concrete anchors, and bada bing, you’ve got yourself a storage locker right out in public. Every repair man that drives past will just assume it belongs to the other guys. Put some fancy stenciled initials on it add some graffiti. Comcast will think it belongs to the phone company, who will assume it’s PUC, who will think Jimmy Hoffa might be inside. I think it will work Eirik. May have to be tweaked a bit, but give it some thought. Actually, you might want to get a bunch of them and get into the rental racket.
    Thought from freezing Minnesota, where brains run on pretty low power this time of the year.


    1. Hahaha. I love the comment Dick and the idea definitely has merit. Given the real estate prices in NYC, I now want to knock on those metal boxes to see if they are being lived in! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.


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