Re: personal storage in common house
From: bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2011 09:12:51 -0800 (PST)
Here at Swans Cohousing each household has a personal storage space in the 
Basement which is about  5 ft by 6 or 7 ft but with very tall ceilings, maybe 
12 ft high so some of us have built custom shelving in ours which works to hold 
lots of infrequently used stuff.  We also each have 1 parking space in our 
covered garage and many of us use the space in front of our car for additional 
storage.  The garage space available in front of the cement car stopper is 
about 2 ft by 4 ft by 10 ft high so again a number of people have installed 
storage shelves there.  In addition we have a workshop in the Common House 
which is fairly large and a number of people have tools and craft project 
materials in there; we also store the community emergency supplies (food, 
water,first aid supplies, radios, etc) in there.  Our front doors are metal so 
we can leave messages on each others doors easily by using a magnet and that 
method is often used.  There is some minor personal goods creep into the Common 
space, mostly art work and furniture in the Common House but we have a Common 
House Committee who deals with that on a case by case basis.  Our community is 
very urban in the heart of the downtown financial district so there is no 
outside space available for people to spill over onto.  I would say planning 
for personal storage spaces for things like bikes, camping and sports equipment 
and just miscellaneous treasures is important otherwise the common house 
committee will spend all their time defending the space from encroachment.
                   Bonnie Fergusson
                Swans Market Cohousing
                   Oakland, CA

Sent from my iPad

On Nov 19, 2011, at 8:21 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 

> On 18 Nov 2011, at 9:12 PM, Kathy Buck wrote:
>> I am wondering if your 
>> community has storage space and if so how many sq ft is allocated to 
>> each unit and is it separate spaces with walls and locking door or is a 
>> large open space subdivided with shelves or something else?
> We don't have personal storage space on common ground except for bicycles. 
> Some people have basement space that they purchased with their units — more 
> complicated than that as things are in cohousing, but essentially that's what 
> happened. 
> One person built a cage around his. Others are just taped off.
> Storage is a big issue. Everyone moved in with the idea that they were going 
> to downsize. Then many had children and doubled their storage needs. They 
> have spilled out onto the corridors with spaces intended for small patios 
> turned into back porch storage. Some of us are very unhappy about this as it 
> looks as one says like trailer park trash — stereotyping but it conveys the 
> idea. (Some also have their compost cans outside their doors, the lids not 
> always on.) One has a collection point for electronics going to a charity, 
> etc. His is probably a fire hazard but he is committed to a no-waste society. 
> The people who tend the basement have said not in the basement because he 
> expands to fill all available space.
> It is very hard to regulate this. No one wants to police or appear to anal. 
> These people are on the third floor so they aren't so obvious unless you live 
> up there. I just never take tours up there.
> I tell you this to be forewarned that storage is an issue. People don't 
> downsize as they could — putting a personal organizer in your training budget 
> might be a good idea. Planning personal storage space is a good idea — you 
> can then say this is your space and that is all — but some people seem unable 
> to confine themselves, particularly if they have children. Or shop on the 
> curb on trash day. Or watch the Home Shopping Network. And study up on 
> hoarding, and how we drift into it, even in a mild way.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> "We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities." Walt Kelly
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