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Back on the horse again

September 17, 2008

Back to work. Its taken me a couple days to get back into the studio groove, but I think I have a plan for where I’m going again. I’m going to run with the storage problem, while not directly attacking the storage problem. From what I’ve seen in my research, older people store lots of stuff they don’t really need. The reasons for this tend to vary – I’ve seen a couple. One, they’re afraid they might need it later – one source attributed this to growing up in harder economic times, or back in the day when products were made to last, and did, instead of the environment of today, when things are meant to be used and disposed of.

Then, there are a couple other reasons – for some, even if they don’t need something, they thing someone else in their family does – my grandmother had 4-5 sets of dishes in her basement, because they’re still technically good, and who knows when one of the grandchildren will be moving out and needing a set, or if another relative will need them, etc. There are boxes of things waiting to be shipped to family who moved out of state, especially the grandchildren, there are boxes being saved for children who ‘will want them once they get more room to store it.’ On the other hand, you have the sort that stores stuff because it was expensive one day, and would be worth a lot to the right person – one grandfather has boxes of vacuum tubes in his attic, and because of their age, they’d be quite valuable to someone who needs them to restore an antique, or putting together some piece of retro technology. In this case, its not the usefulness of teh item that is the problem, its getting it to the right person that is at stake. I mean, when my grandfather was moving and needed to clean out some, he invited people over and was giving stuff away if they could use it.

This proposes a couple options – the direction David proposed to take the project is to make up a business that would help solve the problem and create a product that they would need to interface with the customers and their stuff in their homes (while still keeping it a domestic product?). For one option, I’ve found websites that allow people to swap books and movies – you post your stuff and what you want, and it calculates options of people that want that same swap in the opposite direction – the facilitate the trade by printing shipping labels and stuff. That sort of program would work for some stuff, but in many cases, people don’t need all that much stuff – they just need to get rid of some stuff. I could see some sort of online system that allows people to ‘buy’ stuff, and then those people who sold it can trade in that currency for either more stuff, or trade it in for resturant gift certificates or something else they can use.

As for what this leads to in Product designs, I’d imagine they would need a retail location to create their online product list… and some way for people to easily get stuff to and from the store. They would need mailers to get rewards to people, and boxes or other packaging for the stuff they’re shipping out. People would need to somehow document the products in a consistant way, as well as some way to keep stuff somewhere they can find it. I can see a ‘rental’ sort of system working, similar to those big storage containers people rent and put on their driveway – people rent a unit that helps them store stuff, and get it to a ‘retail ready’ state, taking pictures, writing descriptions, etc.

The other option, and I’m not sure what sort of product options we have here, is for the people who need to get stuff to family if they want it – I don’t know what I could do with that, but I’m still thinking on that.

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