Storage & Stuff

At the end of January we took a road trip to Texas. Before you get too excited in thinking this trip was fun-filled, think again, it was purely business. You see when we last had a sticks n’ bricks home it was in Fort Worth, Texas.  So when we decided to get a storage unit at the start of our full-time travels that is where it was located. When we were purging things from our Fort Worth home to move into our first RV getting a storage unit seemed like a no-brainer. We assumed eventually we would return to living full-time in a stationary home and didn’t want to replace everything, but more so, we had a lot of sentimental items – pictures, furniture from family and just small pieces of our histories that one collects over the years that we weren’t willing to part with. While we told ourselves that part of our adventure was to “collect memories over things” there were still many things we were attached to. So we got a 10X10 storage unit and in went pictures and yearbooks, furniture from grandparents, leather chairs we loved and didn’t want to replace, most of of my kitchen and baking items, baby things we thought we might need in the future and lots and lots of books we couldn’t part with. Then as crunch time came more random things we didn’t know what to do with ended up in there little by little. And when we transitioned from the Class A to living out of AirBnbs for 6 months more went in there. And then when we transitioned to the Casita some came out, but more went back in when we transitioned to to having a truck camper. Stuff, so much stuff!

When we bought our cabin we knew sooner rather than later we would need to deal with the storage unit. There were some things in there we knew we wanted (hello, my lovely Kitchen Aid Mixer) but also it has been hanging over our heads for a while now. After that first year in the RV we knew we had way too much stuff, and wished our old selves knew what we knew now. That is even more true today. We didn’t want to pay anymore to store a bunch of stuff that we didn’t need, especially when we now had a place to put the things we did. So we made a plan to head to Texas and be there no more than a week. Adam took off from work and we were just going to bang it out, get rid of most things and bring a small U-Haul trailer of things back with us. We were not looking forward to it, I should actually say we were dreading it because that would be more accurate.

I went to Texas with the mindset that aside from some pictures, kitchen items we needed(wanted), baby items (just in case they are needed),  Adam’s tools and a couple boxes of sentimental items we would be donating most of what was in the storage unit. The week time frame was both a blessing and a curse. In many ways not having the luxury of time to over think things was good. We had dreams of having a home with a dedicated library or a living room filled with shelves of books. Sadly the cabin doesn’t have room for an extra room of books or even a wall of them. Without the luxury of time we sorted and saved favorites and sent the rest off to Half Price Books.  I had come to terms with the fact that all of the furniture items we kept were just too big for the cabin and even if some had sentimental value I would rather have them donated then sit in our shed waiting to be used in a future home.  That part, the furniture, went pretty much as planned. We sold a couple things on craigslist but most of it was donated to a women’s shelter. I had far more kitchen stuff than I remembered. My love of food and baking was clear but the reality of a small kitchen made it easy to purge some things.  Adam’s tools were clearly needed and easily stored in the shed. Done, done and done. Then things got hard.

It turns out when it came to sentimental items it was much easier from miles away without looking at them to say I didn’t need them anymore. That they would just sit in our shed and take up space. When I was looking at those items all of the sudden it wasn’t as black and white. Here is where the week time frame bit us in the bottom. We had kept WAY more sentimental items then we thought, we were feeling tired and stressed living in a hotel room, eating all our meals out and spending days just sorting stuff. By the time we got to the boxes (and boxes and boxes) of sentimental items we just didn’t have the energy to go through them and make a decision on every single item. And we didn’t have the courage (if that is even what it would be that we would need?) to let the entire box go. I started to question whether Idgie would love us or hate us for getting rid of her history. I was emotional and that wasn’t the best time to make a decision. So we brought the boxes back. I felt torn about that decision because the last thing I wanted was a bunch of stuff just cluttering up our shed but we did it. We did it with the intention that we’d go through them when we weren’t under a time crunch and widdle them down things that we felt really mattered or were worth saving, even though in that moment we still were questioning how to define what was worth saving.

Here we are now months later and guess what,  the boxes and bins are still sitting up on the lofts in our shed. Out of sight, out of mind. Exactly what I was afraid of. When we got back and unpacked the things we were putting into use, life  filled of appointments that needed to happen, family and friends visits and getting the cabin and Betty White ready to get back onto the road took priority. As I write this we are just a few days back on the road for the next six months or so. I guess they will sit there a bit longer. I like to think my current self would make different decisions if we were just starting full-time on the road today. Yes, we’d still get a storage unit but MUCH smaller, and with time to organize and pack it with the things that truly were irreplaceable.

This post was written for inclusion in the May collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!
Little Bungalow– “Overthinking My Basement” : Why 1,200 square feet of dedicated storage space actually stresses me out. 
Fourth & West– “When Your Storage Keeps Downsizing” : The changes we’ve made to our apartment and the storage we have sacrificed. 
Tiny Ass Camper– “Storage & Stuff” : Cleaning out our storage unit after 2.5 years of full-time travel.


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One Comment

  • Cathy

    I’m wondering why most of us give our Casitas feminine names? Our Casita is MiniPearl. Our Nissan Pathfinder is Willy Nelson 😍We full time, but it’s just the two of us…we have 49 boxes of Christmas decor in storage….but….no furniture and it’s the very smallest unit….I sold my kitchen aid….if we ever settle down I’ll get another 😇

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