12 February 2018

Never Get A Storage Unit -- Until You Consider The Costs

When we moved to New Mexico, because we were moving in two parts over a 9-month period, we needed to get a storage unit here for all our belongings coming from California, until we moved into a new home. I was staying in a small 2-bedroom, already furnished townhouse, so everything but clothes and important necessities went into the storage unit.

At the end of January, we finally, finally got that storage unit emptied and closed out our account. It turned out to be exactly three years from the week we first got the storage unit. In the course of that three years, it was really only a must that we have the unit for the first year probably since we were doing some renovation work on the house for a few months after we closed the sale. So that means we paid for that huge storage unit that was only partially filled for two year unnecessarily.

I can justify a little more of that time if I consider I was in a cast or barely out of a cast for six months of that two years. But it sickens me that we kept paying for it. The least we could've done is downsized it to about a quarter of the size. Once I got in there in mid-January are really started clearing it out, I realized probably 1/2 of everything that was in there was empty cardboard boxes. Insanity.

Oh that makes my stomach hurt just to write it. We could have purchased everything in that storage unit and some more things we need with the money we paid for that unnecessary storage unit. Of course, this is the whole storage unit scam, get you in there and you never get out. I can't tell you how many months I said I was going to close it out and clear it out but the task seemed a little too monumental.

There were a few bigger pieces of furniture inside but only a few and most of them can be sold. Even though our new house is decent sized, there really isn't a lot of room for furniture inside it due to the open design and wall to wall windows. You can't put a tall bookcase up in front of a window and where there are walls they are generally very narrow or angled to accommodate all the walls of windows. 

So I started making trips with carloads of things from the storage unit to our house and because we live at the end of a secluded circle, down a very secluded lane I just stacked everything in front of the house.  Dear friends helped me with one final load in their pickup truck at 7 pm the last day of the monthly contract. In that load was just a bookcase, two beds and a storage rack. It was amazing to see the unit empty. Sweeping out the storage unit and walking away from the dumpster I had filled at least half of with stuff out of that unit was a victory. Joy and success.

However there was still that mountain of stuff in front of our garage that I have been working on. Thankfully the weather has been good and dry so everything has been perfectly safe out there. Every day I have been going through things and either finding a place to use an item in the house or choosing to donate, sell or recycle it.

I've made four or five trips to the thrift store the past couple of weeks. I haven't been taking huge carloads, but just a few boxes of items as they accumulate in the back of my car. It feels good to get rid of stuff as fast as possible, plus that keeps family members from going through it all and trying to keep things. For the few true storage items we need to keep in boxes, I've been putting those in attics or the garage. I'm amazed that those things have fit nicely into small spaces and we have more room for things than it felt like we did in those areas.

This was a doozy task but I'm happier about it for a few reasons: 1) saving money! 2) getting rid of stuff we don't need. 3) feeling more organized. 4) being more settled in our home. 5) feeling like a better steward over our belongings and how we use our money.

I think it was also the thing that really got me energized for 2018 and helped me get going for the new year. I did this all by myself for the most part and I think it was kind of therapeutic to just listen to podcasts and music and sift through things without having anyone else there to question my decisions or have to make decisions with.

I listened to a lot of inspiring podcasts and happy music through the long days. I also was better than I ever have been about taking breaks and not going for so long that I totally wore myself out. I am still learning to pace myself in my life. Ha. So that was one of my big projects done for January. Do you or did you have any big projects to get through this winter? What were they? How did you feel about them and how did you tackle them?

08 February 2018

New Year, New Me

In November our family hit a rough patch and it has been an intense and immense journey the past few weeks. There had been a lot of soul searching, questioning, worrying, wondering, analyzing, medical concerns, spiritual concerns and more. In the course of that time I lost a significant amount of weight, wasn't eating much for several weeks, not sleeping well and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders as I tried to support my little family finding its way through this time of crisis. Needless to say everything else quickly went by the wayside and we went into survival mode, big time.

Found this beautiful photo of my little family from about 10 years ago while going through a box last weekend. It has been the source of great peace and happiness to me to see the joy in them.
While all the problems and challenges have not faded, things have gotten better and I am a stronger, happier, better person for the journey. I received a blessing a few weeks ago wherein it said that I would look back on this time as a blessing. I can already say that is true in a very specific regard right now. I have grown and learned and changed myself and my relationship with God is vastly greater than it was a few short weeks ago.

I have had the opportunity to talk about my spiritual journey publicly a couple of times lately and with many friends privately. It has been a blessing to share what we are learning in life, our past experiences and grow together in life. I have learned so much from the dear people I love. I have also experienced the blessing of recognizing how many wonderful friends I do have and what they will do to help in a time of crisis.

Amazing people I have around me and if that isn't one of life's greatest gifts I don't know what is! Sometimes we go through hard things to see how loved and appreciated we are and to see the blessings of others' service -- and to allow them the blessings of selfless service. I cannot count the amazing kindnesses that have been extended to our family in the past few months. Purely amazing.

I find that during these times of growth are when I have the most profound experiences that I want to share here and discuss here with you. So I have a long list of new blog topics to cover in the next few weeks. Finally here at the beginning of February I feel that excited energy to charge into the new year and really take it on. Full of goals and excitement. Looking forward to engaging here with you more.

I am also very happy to look forward to the Winter Olympics beginning tonight. I have always loved the Olympics, especially the winter games, and find them so inspiring. Such a great way to get the excitement and energy up for taking on a new year. Can't wait to sit and watch every night we can with my family. A festive fun activity for winter nights.

 I am also headed out to Alt Summit at the end of this month and have been busy the past week getting plans in place. I registered last summer and it seemed like it was years away still. February 2018?! And then suddenly it was February 2018 and I had completely forgotten what month Alt was happening. So I got a hotel room, not at the host hotel unfortunately, but it's close.

I won't have a fabulous new wardrobe to take with me, I won't have a fancy new blog design to tout, or any great partnership with a big corporation to share. I still won't have 1 million readers or have had my home shared on an international design website. I'm just going to go as humble little me and hope that at best I get some new business cards designed and ordered to take with me. Keeping it simple only because that's all I can do right now.

I think it will still be a great experience and all those social/popularity things can't be worried about. I am looking forward to meeting some online friends I have been acquainted with for almost ten years now and never met in person. There are new friends who I will be having some deeply personal and amazing conversations with too - that's already planned.

I also have a Valentine's Day gift/project I am working on that desperately needs to get going. I'm running out to paint part of it right now so it has time to dry while it is warm. There are so many things I must do and so many fun things I want to do. That keeps life fun and exciting I think and I am feeling a lot of joy in life these days, even though it is far from perfect. It's my good life and I am so grateful for it.
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