Are you actually storing your things on the sidewalk?

You can already store stuff at the curbside in New York, but might the new set-up be a little too neat?

The long-awaited streetcar system in Harlem, previously a nine-mile stretch on the West Side of Manhattan, won’t be operational for more than a year. The first phase is set to open in 2020. On 29 February, the first four miles between 125th Street and the West 30th Street subway station was dedicated as the Harlem TOD Zone.

In celebration, residents have started to live the dream. Storing all your stuff in the street—things like cars, bicycles, jackets, or toiletries—can be done to varying degrees of success. Some people leave things out for two days or so to let it dry out. Others bring everything into their yards and yank it when it doesn’t look the way they wanted.

But no curbside storage is perfect. Some bike bags can barely hold anything. Containers are filled with water, garish souvenirs, and anything else that could be damp. The bags smell bad, mostly because it’s impossible to know how much stuff has been left out there in the public right of way.

Around Manhattan, few items seem able to remain in perfect condition. People have placed everything from fat rugs to bookends to huge, unwieldy lighting fixtures (in fact, the installation crews for the new line even had to take down some historic light fixtures to make way for their keepers.) That’s enough to make you doubt that you really have it all in your garage, when your water heater’s holding 200 pounds of liquid.

When you think about it, the curbside park is really a living room. It’s a place to hang out, hang out with friends, and keep things where you can find them. It’s a test-run for your storage system. Too tidy? Your items should still be kept away from central components of a city—metered areas, traffic, plumbing—and stored in a garage or a storage facility. And if your curbside storage has caused any weird smells or mildew, try once again to make it better.

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