While selling the old house, we rented a storage unit to put most of stuff in while we staged, so that the house would sell faster, looking empty and clean. It worked; we sold it to the very first person who looked at it. (We had priced it low for quick sell, but good heavens! List on Tuesday night, sell on Wednesday morning?) We boxed up a lot of stuff that we could temporarily live without, and put it in a 10' x 14' storage unit.
A month or two later, when we moved out, we rented a second storage unit to put more stuff that we could "temporarily do without," while we lived in a small rent house for a month or so to look for another house to buy.
Well, "a month or so" turned into 14 months or so. Finally, we got this old house renovated, and moved in. We settled.
But those two storage units, 35 miles away, had to be unloaded. The price per month that we paid for them stuck in my craw like you couldn't believe. Stupid. I had become That Guy. The guy who pays to store junk.
How could it be anything but junk? We have successfully lived for 16 months without it.
On my day off, I rented a truck the other day at the last minute, dropped my kids off at my mother's place, and went to clean out a storage unit. My wife, surprised that I had overcome my sloth, drove out from work to help. We got one cleaned out in the dark. (Note to storage unit purveyors-- I would gladly pay $10 a month more, if you would make lights an option in your storage units.) We picked up the kids, drove home, showered off the dust, and went to bed. The next morning, my wife went to work, while the kids (off from school) and I went about unloading the truck. Surprisingly, it took LONGER to unload than to load, which is usually not the case. Part of the reason was that my wife wasn't there to help. Part of the reason was that I had to find a task for my helpful 6 year-old at all times, even though she couldn't be trusted to carry heavy things. Most of my stuff seems to be heavy things.
Finally, realizing that we were short of time if we wanted to get the truck turned in in time (after a trip to the dump) to avoid a second day's rental, we just started loading boxes in a pile in the sun room. I hate doing this, preferring to send items to the area that they will belong-- storage shed, garage, studio, kitchen-- whatever.
That pile of boxes yet looms. My family headed out of town for a huge New Year's party down in Austin, and I've been baching it. I know that I'm supposed to say that I'm lonely and miss my family and all, but for a couple of days, it's nice being alone in the house. I come in from work, drop my gun belt on the couch, have a coffee in my underwear in the sun room in the morning, and no one cares.
But that pile remains. And it's bothering me. And I know that I'll catch hell if I haven't reduced it before my wife returns. (And rightly so.)
So I engage in an activity I like to call "Box-Killing." Boxes are good for temporary storage, or for moving things, but they suck for storing things that you use. Items that get stored in cardboard boxes tend to not get used, and just gather dust, making you wonder why you keep them at all. I unload the boxes to cabinets, chests, shelves, etc, and then smash the cardboard box, a vanquished foe, to send out with the garbage. It's the only way I can make such a task fun. So far, I've found some reference books that I've really missed (Note: Matt G's house will from now on have only reference books, books currently being read, or library books in it. The occasional super-classic will be the exception that proves this rule.), and some tools that I've really wanted.
Just a little bit like a late Christmas.