Fourteen years ago when we moved to Naples we stored all of our “extra” stuff at an air-conditioned storage unit. Our prior home had a huge basement, a luxury missing in Florida.
The charge for storage began at a fairly reasonable rate, but every year the price increased. Now it has attracted my attention. In fact, when I added up what we paid for storage over the fourteen years, we could have had enough money to add an additional room to our home.
In addition to the money issue, my sister, who will be the executor of my estate, was not thrilled with the possibility of having to deal with a separate storage space. She strongly urged me to “get rid of it.”
I procrastinated for several years because I have an air-conditioned storage room in the garage and it needed to be cleaned out to make room for new residents. Of course, I never got around to it. I always find something else to do that is much more fun—like scrubbing the kitchen floor.
But when the latest bill for the storage unit arrived and I realized how many necklaces I could buy with that money or, to be politically correct, how much I could donate to a charity, I said to myself, “Do it.”
My handyman arrived with his pickup truck and off we went. I calculated that it would take all day. But he was very experienced in moving and packed his small pickup so expertly that it took only two trips. In less than two hours.
Now all the boxes are sitting in my garage saying, “Keep me” and I am saying, “Get rid of you.” The task of going through everything is onerous.
There were four huge cardboard wardrobe boxes. Enormous, even. I decided to first look through the clothes that I deemed worthy of storage for 14 years. Out of maybe 200 pieces of clothing, I discovered only one belt that attracted my attention. It went into the Goodwill box after I tried to stretch it around my expanded waist. It wasn’t even close, unfortunately. The clothes were so outdated that, as I held up each piece, I said to myself, “I wouldn’t wear this to the garbage dump.” I tried to remember what I had been thinking when I decided they were worth saving 14 years ago.
Probably the most important reason we opted for air-conditioned storage was that we had an extensive art collection. Now, don’t think “valuable art” because it isn’t. Important only to us. So now it was sitting in my non-air-conditioned garage. A family member suggested that I should move the artwork to my unused guest room until I could clean out the storage room I did have. That was a great idea, and so I did. That gives me breathing room before I tackle more clean-out.
Going through all of the memorabilia in those boxes is going to be so difficult. Who can possibly make decisions on what to keep and what to throw away? I think I have my notes from college and grad school in there. What I am going to keep is my notebook on Cuba that I made in fifth grade when Cuba was a big vacation spot. I remember that I have many travel brochures from the ‘50s in there. I’m sure that brochure collection is very valuable—to whom, I am not sure.
Everything in those boxes is important to me. Even if I never look at it, I know it is there. That is comforting to me. Eventually, my sister and my children will throw out every piece of paper now resting comfortably, lovingly, in those boxes. Friends urge me to do them a favor and ditch it all now. I say, let them do it!
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