Little did I know when I signed the rental contract for a 10’x20′ storage unit after selling my house in 2017 that it would become my base camp of sorts. They say home is where the heart is, others say home is where you connect automatically to Wi-Fi… well, I say that home is where your Harley Davidson is. So, for the meantime, home is still in a tiny storage unit in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
I had quite the experience or journey while parsing down a three bedroom, two bath, tw0-car garage home’s worth of “stuff” into such a small space. I spent a day or so taking pictures of everything and building Facebook garage sale adds. It paid off, big time… I got rid of all of my furniture except for a bench, my liquor cabinet, and a large mirror. I donated 90% of my clothing, 90% of my kitchen utensils / appliances, and all of my bedding / linens; heck, I even donated my Jeep Grand Cherokee. When folks would stop by the house to buy something, I would ask them to walk around, scope things out, and make me an offer on anything that caught their eye. That actually helped things fly out of the door! Anything left over was added to a “free to good home” Facebook garage sale add. Anything left over after that was added to a “I will pay cash for you to haul this stuff off” Facebook garage sale add. That’s how I did it… empty house. Well, comparatively speaking.
I was fortunate to have help carefully inventorying, packing, and hauling boxes to the nearby storage unit. I rented a small Uhaul truck for two days and quickly shuttled my life into an itsy-bity space smaller than my garage. I packed the storage unit so I could get into boxes easily enough, if required; keep in mind, I was scheduled to go backpacking for three months as soon as I retired from the Army. Important paperwork was boxed and placed on metal shelving units. Clothing that I might need to access for the two months prior to me leaving the country was placed in clear plastic tubs to help me quickly identify contents. All of my kitchen stuff, random stuff, and non-essential clothing was packed at the very back of the storage unit. Outdoor equipment that I was required to turn back in to the unit was packed into large plastic tubs on the opposite wall so I could quickly load them up and get them out of the storage unit. Then all I had to do was roll in my motorcycles, toss in a mountain bike, close the door, and throw a padlock on it.
That was January 2017… 13 months ago. I never would have imagined that I’d still be based out of the storage unit. “The Plan” was to wander around Europe with a backpack for a few months before settling down in France, then send for a few household things. Due to my work travel schedule at the time, I was unable to submit my US Passport to the French Consulate for an Immigration Visa. I guess that means it wasn’t meant to be (?). But when I returned to the US in late-July 2017, I bummed around the US on my motorcycle for a few weeks. Weeks quickly turned into moths, and months later it’s been nearly one year… Yikes.
I stop by the storage unit once or twice a month, sometimes once or twice a day, for a variety of reasons. I normally have a “real” reason, but on a handful of occasions it was simply to be near my things… near my “stuff.” Isn’t that crazy? Honestly, the storage unit could be hit by a meteor and I’d be just fine. I don’t really n-e-e-d the remaining clothing, furniture, motorcycles, or pots and pans. The important paperwork would be feel like a loss, but the important stuff is all backed-up on hard-drives. I haven’t really needed anything in there for the better part of a year, so is any of it needed at all? That stuff was just sitting around my house collecting dust this time last year! “The best things in life aren’t things” rings clear in my mind every time I throw open the storage unit door.
What about you… are you aware of an accumulation of “things” that you probably don’t need? Have you ever used a big move or lazy weekend to conduct a large-scale “purge” of things to simplify your life? If so, I’d like to hear about it!