[hackerspaces] Members storing their personal stuff...

B F bakmthiscl at gmail.com
Fri Nov 22 14:34:45 CET 2013

I haven't confronted the problem, but here's my take:

1) Rent out the shelf space, with mandatory pre-payment.  (The rent for a
month should be a large fraction of the cost to be a member for a month.)
2) When half the shelf space is full, rent the rest to the highest
3) Auction off anything left behind with storage fees unpaid.
4) Optionally, put items that are obviously of high value into "remote"
storage. That could be a basement, attic, stacked in boxes inconveniently
in a back room, a warehouse on the other side of t he city, etc.  That
removes the onus of throwing stuff out or selling it, but largely reduces
the problem of unused stuff in the way.  Keep good records of where they
went and how they were stored, but write into your policy that the group is
not responsible for loss.

Make a single announcement maybe 2 weeks in advance of implementing the
policy, then implement it without further ado.  Alternatively, phase it in
one week at a time, clearing and renting shelves one by one, consolidating
all other stuff onto yet-unpaid-for shelves till owners of such stuff have
no choice but to remove it, pay rent for shelves, or abandon it.

If this sounds tough, remember that tough policies work.

On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM, Nathaniel Bezanson <myself at telcodata.us>wrote:

> Hi folks,
> At i3detroit, one issue we continually struggle with is storage. Not of
> stuff the space owns (that's an issue too but not a huge problem), but of
> members' personal property. With several members commuting by bicycle, and
> plenty of others working on long-term projects, it's seen as important. But
> it's also imperfect.
> We currently have some large shelves, where any member can reserve a spot
> and keep some stuff there. It works fine until it fills up, and then it's
> very difficult to clear space again. New members don't get space because
> it's all occupied by long-term members, and sometimes when people quit,
> they forget their stuff.
> I'm curious how other spaces handle this. I'm aware of a few examples and
> anecdotes here and there, but I'm hoping to understand a few specific
> points from as many spaces as possible:
> 0. Is there a collection of wisdom on this topic somewhere already? I have
> this feeling that Gui is going to respond with a doc-dump and I'll look
> silly, but I can't find anything already in a few minutes of searching...
> :)
> 1. Do you allow members to keep their own stuff at the space, at all? If
> not, why not, and what happens to stuff that gets left behind accidentally,
> or deliberately abandoned/donated?
> 2. How much storage space does a member get? Is it variable? Based on what
> criteria?
> 3. For how long can a member leave stuff in the space? Once they start, is
> it safe to assume that their stuff can remain as long as they remain a
> member?
> 4. If there's some sort of inactivity or timeout clause, how does that
> work, and who enforces it?
> 5. Assuming you require labels on storage spots or labels on stored items,
> how are unlabeled items handled when they turn up in storage? Or items left
> in unlabeled spots?
> 6. Have you ever had anyone try to actively subvert the limits?
> 7. Are "group projects" by a handful of members given special
> accommodation, beyond what an individual member would get?
> 8. Assuming you have some mechanism to throw out stuff that everyone
> agrees is abandoned, has anyone come back later and whined that their
> precious shit wasn't yours to throw out? How do you handle that?
> 9. Is your system so drastically different from what I'm describing that
> the questions don't even apply? Do tell!
> 10. Whatever storage system you have right now, is it working? What do you
> see as its main strengths, and main weaknesses? If you could start from a
> clean slate, what would you change?
> Also for context, it might be helpful to understand how large your space
> is and how many members you have (I could just look this up in the wiki but
> it'll be easier to have it in your response!).
> I'll stick our data in a reply so as not to clutter this first message.
> Thanks a bunch,
> -Nate B-
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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