We emptied our storage unit today.
We emptied our storage unit today.
It has been quite a process. Two years ago, my husband
started a new job in Indiana – 500 miles from our home in Missouri. At the
time, we had a beautiful four bedroom, two bath, 2,000 + square foot house in a
five year old subdivision on the outskirts of town, two children at home, a
pool, a home office, and one dog. We had both been unemployed for some time, so
when this job became available it was a huge answer to prayer.
For six months I sweated it out, mostly alone, since I had
to remain behind to settle our affairs and prepare for the move. In my mind,
hubby had the easy job. All he had to do was live in his sister’s basement, go
to work, and look for us a place to live. I, on the other hand, had to deal
with a rebellious teenager who during that time decided to move in with her
boyfriend and subsequently got pregnant, console the youngest child who would
be leaving behind the only neighborhood he had ever known, and pack up the
house. I would have traded places with him on any day.
Now, I did not do it all entirely alone. One day a man from
church came by and moved some packed boxes to the garage for me because I had
injured my back; I really needed the room to continue the packing process.
Another day, my oldest daughter and her boyfriend emptied everything out of the
attic. And then there was the fun day when ladies from church came over to help
me pack up the kitchen. And yet other friends disassembled the 24-foot pool and
packed it up for the move. I could never have accomplished it all without their
During those six months, hubby would come home on an
occasional weekend (eight hours driving in each direction!) to help out. There
was the weekend we emptied out the crawl space and discovered boxes that had never
been unpacked from the previous move. Unfortunately, much of what was stored
down there had mildewed. So we rented a dumpster and as we hauled boxes into
the yard from the attic, the crawl space, and the garage, we tossed the
mildewed items into the dumpster and sorted everything else out for a yard
sale. Boy, that is the biggest yard sale we ever had! Because we had household
items from every room in the house I am convinced we had the best selection of
all in the neighborhood yard sale. I had no idea we had collected so much
stuff! At the end of the sale, we donated every leftover item to charity – and
that was still a sizeable pile of stuff.
It was surprisingly freeing to be rid of all those items,
but yet I still had to pare down our belongings because everything we would
take with us to Indiana would have to fit in one car and one 26-foot rented
moving truck. There were more difficult moments to come.
We had decided on three possible towns we wanted to live in,
with two of them being higher on the wish list. When in the spring hubby found
us a three-bedroom rental in one of our preferred towns, we were elated.
Knowing he would want to move in as soon as possible, I arranged with the
rental agency to have the house ready for us to sleep in the night I would
arrive and to sign papers the following afternoon. I strategically planned the
items I would pack so he would have all the necessities to set up housekeeping.
I packed everything he would need into the minivan and I hit the road. I
completely trusted my husband’s selection of a home for us. The rent was a bit
high for the neighborhood, but it was a rent-to-own deal so I knew it would be
worth the effort to make any improvements. We had planned to sleep on
mattresses on the floor that first night, but the furnace wasn’t working so we
slept in his sister’s basement. The next day while he was at work I was at the
rental and I started assembling the basic furniture I brought and imagined
where everything would go in the house. I was surprised and ashamed of the
disappointment I felt about the condition of the house. I had always said that
you can make any house a home just by putting your own belongings in it and
here I was being put to the test. I was determined to stand by my word. As the
day warmed I noticed an unpleasant odor that got stronger as the day went on.
By the time hubby got off work I had identified the source of the smell that by
this time was irritating my sinuses and my lungs: the carpets smelled like
cats. I am allergic to cats.
No problem, we thought. We’ll just take up the carpets,
refinish those pretty hardwood floors and it will all be good. But the realtor
did not go for that idea. She said she would not tear out $2,000 worth of
perfectly good carpet. She was angry with me because I had assured her on the
phone that I completely trusted my husband’s judgment and she had turned down
another renter because of my agreement to rent the place sight unseen. I was
miserable. Thankfully, hubby’s sister let us store all that stuff in her basement
until we found another place. So I returned to Missouri and the house stacked
with boxes to wait.
My very pregnant daughter dropped out of school and decided
to move with her boyfriend to another city; he had taken a different job so
that he could have insurance for her and the baby. They moved the day before we
did. I had kept all her bedroom furniture for her and they came by to tie it
all on top of their belongings that were loaded onto his pickup truck. It
grieved me immensely to be leaving my girls behind, but it seemed to me worse
because they would be separated by many miles from each other and would not be
find comfort in each other’s presence. I felt this whole experience would
either break us, or teach us all more self-reliance.
One of the best decisions we made during the whole moving
process was to hire professional movers to pack the truck. They were worth
every penny. They had the whole house packed up lickety-split, they used their
young backs rather than our ageing ones, and they didn’t have a single argument
as I am sure we would have!
Eventually, my hubby found the perfect rental for us in the
town that was at the top of my list. The price was lower and the house was in
much better condition than that other house, so I guess the Lord knew what He
was doing. We settled our son into his new school as we settled into our new
hometown. Hubby and I were so happy to be living together again! The only thing
we missed was having the complete autonomy that comes with home ownership; we
never felt like it was a permanent home.
So this is the part where I tell you about the ugly little
house we bought not quite a year ago. I have talked about it in earlier blogs.
It is very, very tiny. It feels more so when you live with a man who has long,
gorilla-like arms that seem to bump into things even in a very large room. The
house was in such rough shape, that we packed up everything except our beds, a
tv, a loveseat, and the patio furniture, and moved it all into a 10x30 storage
unit. It was kind of like packing it all back into the moving truck.
Thankfully, I had saved all the moving boxes. We lived on the porch of the
house for several months while we did the renovations. Once the drywall was
complete (and we had exhausted our strength), we laid sheets of vinyl flooring
and carpeting, moved the main pieces of furniture in, and decided to just live
here for the winter months. Meanwhile, I would go to the storage unit from time
to time and bring home a carload of things to put away. Those boxes and bags
full of our belongings would stay piled in corners until I found a place to put
them away or decided to get rid of them. Once the house felt normal again, I
would return to the storage unit for another load.
We still do not have a climate-controlled space – or even a
garage – to absorb any overflow. The shed contains the lawnmower and bicycles
and the attic holds the Christmas decorations. Other than that, we have gotten
creative with storage solutions or have simply gotten rid of it all.
we emptied the storage unit. Surprisingly, I have been able to find a home for
most items (even if not in my home). There are a couple of those
plastic bins stacked in one closet and some on the enclosed porch. I will not
be able to reduce the contents of those bins right away, but at some point I
will be able to let more of their contents go. The important thing is that
somehow I have survived the culling process (there is probably a good sermon
illustration in there somewhere). More importantly, we are able to live in our
smaller, but comfortable space without feeling responsible for so much stuff. With that
storage unit empty, I am free to concentrate on a multitude of unfinished
projects. Maybe even start a quilt.