An Avalanche of Stuff

Ah, the storage unit: the last best receptacle of a lot of stuff.

It happens to the best of us… we start with a few well-sorted boxes, most of which are even labeled. Then, before we know it, there are some things that don’t quite fit in the boxes we have handy. And so we add a duffle bag, a backpack and a few shopping bags—each of which is full of yet more stuff. And then…

… it happens: the avalanche.

The avalanche occurs when things in storage are stacked so high, in such a haphazard (yet totally common) manner that moving one shoebox leads to a tower of items falling on your head. The good news is that you might just find that one item you were looking for to begin with. The bad news is: it landed on top of you.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. While there are no figures on “storage unit urgency,” it makes sense that during the process of downsizing, moving or even a very thorough housecleaning, there is some sense of urgency. While we’d all like to approach the project of renting and filling a storage unit with a clipboard and labels in hand, sometimes things do get stacked up quickly and without any semblance of order.

If you are facing your own mountain of stuff in your storage unit, you are not alone. Take a walk around the storage facility. You will likely see someone moving in or out with the same urgency (and exhaustion) that you felt the moment you put the lock on your unit.

The most difficult part of dismantling the avalanche is the first step. If you have a huge mess on your hands, it’s o.k. For you, the first step might be going to the unit and taking a photo of how it looks today. This will be your “before” snapshot. Everything after now is a win!

If you are ready to begin getting organized, bring a few things to your unit: two clean, empty bags, a box and your phone.

  • Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes. That is plenty of time to begin the process.
  • The box is for donations. If you have clothing you haven’t worn in two years or gifts that you have never used but feel obligated to keep… put those in the box!
  • One empty bag is for things you will use during the upcoming three months: clothes that you will wear, books that you will read (or give away) and one thing that you have really missed—it could be a camera, a piece of art or a ukulele.
  • The second empty bag is for trash or recycling. Find at least three things to put in it.

Before you know it, 30 minutes will pass and you will have made the first foray into getting your storage unit to a manageable state. You can do this. After all, it’s just stuff. You get to decide whether it’s stuff that makes you happy or, if not, that you are ready to donate, throw away or recycle. You’re in charge.

Conna Shannon

Conna Shannon

Conna is a writer, editor and aspiring filmmaker. She's into DIY, upcylcing and macrobiotic cooking. She lives in Monterey, California, with a yellow lab named Daisy.
Conna Shannon

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