Downsized? Who, Us?

Heading North to Eureka to get our stuffIt was always apparent that we didn’t get rid of enough stuff when we left Eureka in June 2007. Our $250 a month storage bill said it all.

When we hit the road, we hired a moving company to store our stuff, thinking that someday we would be willing to pay to ship it to us, wherever we landed. But until the moving company actually put it all in their warehouse, we had no idea how much our storage bill would be. By the time we learned what the damage was, it was too late.

The Horrors of Excess

Full Storage Crates at Humboldt MovingWhile in storage, our stuff took up five crates at 4′ x 7′ x 7, for a grand total of 980 cubic feet. Once we closed escrow on our house and saw what our finances looked like, that there was no way we were going to shell out the $5k the moving company wanted to deliver our stuff, so we opted to go get it ourselves.

The only problem was that I never actually saw how much space our junk took up, until we landed in Eureka for just one stealth night in August. When we arrived at the moving company’s warehouse with our 26′ moving truck, our jaws dropped.

Empty Storage Crates at Humboldt MovingA massive amount of boxes were stacked  and waiting. At first, the two movers we hired to help load weren’t even sure if it would all fit. As they started loading, I began making piles of stuff that we would ditch if it didn’t.

I wanted to cry. All this time I thought that we had really downsized. Who was I kidding?! The excessive boxes of clothes, kitchen stuff, and knicknacks, was unreal. I kicked myself up and down the parking lot, cursing at our naivety in thinking we had gotten rid of all but our essentials.

Eventually, the movers made it all fit. We left Eureka in less than 24 hours, and lugged it back to Colorado.It almost all fit in the truck!

Note to Self: Lesson Learned

Two years ago, I thought we were keeping only the essentials. But I’m not the same person I was then. The road has taught me that I don’t need much to have an enjoyable life. I don’t need eight pairs of jeans, or three different sets of dinner plates to feel complete.

Sure, it’s nice to have some of my favorite things back under our roof, like my card making stuff and my bread machine. But when it comes down to it, I’ll take the incredible journeys we’ve had over all of our material possessions any day.

I always knew that our stuff took up five crates at 4′ x 7′ x 7, for a grand total of 980 cubic feet, but i never actually saw how much space that takes up until we landed in Eureka for just one night, to get our stuff into our moving truck.

9 thoughts on “Downsized? Who, Us?”

  1. first of all-I LOVE the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tamalpius! gorgeous views if and when the fog lifts back out to sea. But (just curious), when was this photo taken, right before ya moved here to colorado? Anyways, I am thrilled you moved out of the land of taxation,fruits and nuts (calif.) to heaven on earth, Colorado and our “Rocky Mountain” Natural High state of mind. Not alot of wineries here though so gotta buy the cali vino if the mood hits 🙂
    Oh-downsizing,we know it well. Three years after moving here, hubby was forced out of the Air Force-troop draw down-thanks MR.Clinton. No more “Major” paychecks-we both did odd jobs to survive. We sold almost everything but the bed, tv and 2 recliners-literally. A very stressfull time but hey, we are survivors too. We Never take anything for granted, not even the fresh air we breathe. life is to be lived, 1 day at a time 🙂 Cheers

  2. when i was growing up we lived a very downsized, i found out later they call it “poverty” ! didn`t know we were at the forefront of a new movement ! i didn`t care for it at all , i dig excess if you can afford it .

  3. “But when it comes down to it, I’ll take the incredible journeys we’ve had over all of our material possessions any day.”

    So true my friend 🙂 There is just no way to know that before you go on that journey, however. And what an amazing road you have followed. It’s awesome how it changes you. Glad to hear you made it fit 🙂

  4. I totally understand what you’re going through. Luckily I (to Sam’s urging) got rid of what I thought was most everything before we left to travel. My daughter took some stuff and I had a friend who lent me the use of a room above her garage. I am very thankful I did not have to rent a storage space. Even with me thinking I got rid of nearly everything – I still have too much stuff stored away.

    Things I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of were my grandmother’s things and some of my kitchen stuff. Every trip back home I got through everything and got rid of more. Sometimes I am so happy to find something I thought was gone for good.

    It is nice to learn (while living on the road) that we can live with so much less than we think we can. I was starting to bulge at the seams in the fifth wheel so last night I went through all my clothes and got two huge bags to give to my sister while I’m in town. Even when I’m down to what I think is the basics – I still have too much. Maybe another few years of living on the road will get me to where I need to be?

    All I know is that I don’t ever want to get to the point of where I have as much stuff as I had in the past. It really is freeing to not be owned by it all.

    • Kim, you are so lucky you don’t have a storage unit, I sleep a lot better now knowing we don’t have that bill.

      Since getting our stuff back, I’m starting to go through all of the “wish we would’ve packed this..or that..” in the rig. Clothes, gear, etc. Now, I’m going to take everything out, and repack the rig based on what we’ve learned over the last couple of years. Then, it’s back on the road come winter!

      If only my bread machine would fit in there . . .

  5. Smart to rid yourself of the space.
    I have a friend in San Diego with a storage space. I started bugging him about fifteen years ago to get rid of it. He’d already had it for several years.
    “What’s in there?”
    “Well, I’ve got some cinder blocks.”
    “If you divide the rent you’ve paid by the cubic foot, those are the most expensive cinder blocks in history.”
    As far as I know, he still has the storage space.

  6. Oh Rene, I SO feel your pain! Now that we’re back in Orlando, we are astounded by the amount of crap we managed to accumulate, just in the RV over the course of the year! We thought we had downsized quite a lot before we left, but like you, are not the same people we were either, and now feel like we are drowning in STUFF! And we haven’t even looked at the storage room yet. Ah well, one box at a time…

    • Hey Lisa, good luck with the storage. Just remember, you did the best you could with the information you had at the time. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.


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