The late George Carlin had a routine where he talked about stuff. He opined that life was just a series of events where we acquire stuff and find ways to keep it. According to him, houses were just a …
The late George Carlin had a routine where he talked about stuff. He opined that life was just a series of events where we acquire stuff and find ways to keep it. According to him, houses were just a way to keep your stuff. When your stuff became too cumbersome for that dwelling, it was time to get a bigger house. When you left your house to go to work or vacation, you always locked the door so people could not steal your stuff. If a thief gained access to your house, they did not take all your stuff. Your fifth-grade report card and pictures of your prom had no value to them. They only took the good stuff like your laptop and jewelry collection.
I admit that my collection of stuff had gotten out of hand. My closets were bursting at the seams with clothes that I have not worn in decades. My collection of books had long ago outgrown my numerous bookshelves. I often wonder why I keep those books. I rarely reread them. My favorite novel is “Catch-22.” Do I really need five copies of it, acquiring a new one every time I moved?
So, to reduce the clutter and volume of my stuff it was time to look for a suitable storage space. After making an estimate of how much stuff could be moved, I began visiting the many storage space options.
My initial hurdle was trying to guess how big a space was necessary. The spaces come in many varied sizes. Some of them look like they could hold a pair of boots and a few sweaters. The cubicle spaces then increase in size until some could contain a car. Of course, the bigger the space the greater the cost. Some of them require a monthly payment that approaches the amount of a second mortgage.
I decided that I just needed a space to temporarily put some of my stuff until I could find the time to sift through it and process the clutter. I finally settled on a space and gave a check to cover the monthly payment and the required security deposit. I inquired why a security deposit was necessary since the contract said that being delinquent for 3 months allowed the storage company to sell off my stuff. Having watched too many television programs that showed people buying storage contents at an auction, I opted for a monthly automatic payment from my bank account. I was not going to let some stranger wear my old Concord Hotel purloined waiter jacket as he read one of my copies of Joseph Heller’s masterpiece!
Finally, it was time to move some of my stuff into storage. I hired a guy with a truck to assist with the job. When I told him it was going to storage he said, “big mistake.” He explained that most people put stuff in storage with the plan to soon decide what things they no longer need and thus vacate the space. He added “but that never happens. You just keep paying a monthly tab and never get around to visiting the storage space.”
It turns out he was correct. For months I never went to the storage space. Anything that I thought was needed was easily replaced. When winter arrived, instead of retrieving my cold weather clothes and boots, I went shopping and bought what I needed. Eventually, I decided to visit my stored belongings.
I opened the locks and taking a deep breath, swung the door open. Crammed into the space were vestiges from my past life. Items I once thought were important were packed wall to wall. I realized that I could easily live without them having done so for almost 7 months.
So, I did what should have been done months ago. I contacted some local charities and made arrangements to have them pick up everything. When the day arrived, I unlocked my storage unit, opened the door and told them to take it all. As they got busy, I went to the main office, returned their lock and signed my end agreement.
By giving up the space I saved enough money to move into a bigger dwelling. Now living with much larger square footage I had plenty of room. Well, at least for a while. Soon I got busy buying more stuff!
Hudson Cooper is a resident of Sullivan County, a writer, comedian and actor.
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