It is not only lack of space or spring cleaning fervour that brings the storage companies business. 'People have personal histories during which they have gathered many items', said Bobby Chung Lap-kee, president of Hong Kong Storage. 'We are human, we have emotional attachments to things. It's human nature to hold memories, and so it's human nature to store.' A strange but common request that Hong Kong Storage has received is to keep the ashes of deceased relatives, something that the company refuses to do in order to protect the sensibilities of other clients. Equally he and his staff refuse the storage of all foods for fear of perishable goods going bad. Once he was asked to store all the things that a son had inherited from his father, because his wife forbade him from bringing them into their home. A common reason for storage is when people buy a house that needs refurbishing and have nowhere to put their newly purchased home fixtures or belongings from their old home in the interim. Another is when a marriage ends or a business partnership folds and the shared belongings or stock are brought for storage until a settlement has been reached. At these times companies may find themselves in the middle of the dispute. 'A tough situation that we often encounter is when there's a conflict between two parties claiming ownership to the goods', said Matt Burden, managing director of Selfstorasia. 'We've had a few cases where we've had a real battle between what we feel is morally right, and what is legally right.' Both Mr Chung and Mr Burden agree that though the storage industry has some cyclical peaks and troughs, the economy does not unduly affect their business. 'When the economy is good, people will store and when the economy is bad, people will store,' said Mr Chung.