Using a Storage Unit as a Stepping Stone to Minimalism

I’m what you would call a cautious person. I like life to be predictable. When an opportunity to follow my dreams and move from the west coast to the east coast came, it shook things up significantly. After a visit to find an apartment, I realized that I’d accumulated more possessions in my lifetime than my car could transport for the trip.

I had about 2 months to downsize, and I became obsessed with only taking the most important things with me. I devoured blogs and Pinterest Boards, looking for ways to help me reduce my belongings.

I tried holding each thing in my hands to determine if it brought me joy. Everything just seemed to say, “We’ve been together since the 3rd grade! I’ve sat on your desk your whole life and faithfully held your pens, pencils, lost buttons and spare change, and this is how you repay me?!?”

OK, so my possessions are all guilt-inducing, sassy things. I tried talking back and thanking each knickknack for its service and assuring it that it wasn’t going to the dump. Toy Story 3, anyone? I knew that this method wasn’t going to work for me at all.

I tried to think of people who needed these items. Again, the guilt washed over me like a wave. This stuff was becoming like the extra pounds after Thanksgiving – it was not going to leave me easily.

Next, I tried giving things to loved ones. The attempted exodus of possessions only earned me an intervention with my friends and family, thinking I was contemplating taking my life as I tried to lavishly give my treasures away.

At this point in my quest to reduce my possessions, I was coming up empty of workable ideas, was full of frustration, not to mention that I’d run out of time. I decided that I was going to go a different route. I found a local San Leandro storage facility and carefully placed all of my items that I was not sure about into containers and walked away. I was going to live this way for the next six months. I planned to return home for the holidays at that time. So, if I could manage without these items, I would give them away without regret to my loved ones, sell, or donate them to those who could use them.

I’m not going to lie, with all of the changes; I was both exhilarated and frightened. The adjustment to a new city and way of living was, challenging. I returned after six months and went to my storage in San Leandro. Some of my stored items were going to come with me. Others would be donated. I learned by my experiment was that I could be happy without these things and found joy in donating them to a cause that I felt passionate about.

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