Nomad Life Month #15: Cleaning Out My Storage Unit, A New Chapter

If I’m to organize my nomad life journey into chapters, this is the end of one: going back to Phoenix to clear out my storage unit in November 2021.

Back in 2020, the things I had stored in my walk-in-closet-sized storage unit in Phoenix were partly meant to be my “starter kit” for my new home. A few kitchen items (utensils, serving bowls, a quality frying pan, nice bakeware), clothes I wanted to wear again, art and decor that I loved (paintings, mixed media, sculptures), the sentimental stuff (photo albums, frames, greeting cards, high school yearbooks), and the boring stuff I HAD to keep (like my birth certificate and years of paper tax returns).

At the time, I thought I’d find a place to settle during my nomad adventures. Maybe even buy another home or a rental property. But now, 15 months in, I’m certain that I don’t want to do that anytime soon. I can’t fathom putting down permanent roots after I went through so much to dig them up.

My trip to Phoenix to clean out my storage unit marked the end of a chapter, and a decision: the nomad life will continue indefinitely, and the short term solution made then to “store the things I will deal with later,” transitions.

Between the sun and the fun and my Arizona friends, I made a few visits to the unit, wiping down layers of dust, stacking and re-stacking bins and boxes in my car, shoehorning in the oddly-shaped items, even shipping three boxes by UPS, until finally it all fit. From a 1,600-square-foot house: every closet, every drawer, every cabinet cluttered with 35 years of livingโ€ฆ to a stuffed standard SUV. I’m floored.

That is my life. My life reduced. Or is it… maximized?

As Iโ€™ve flitted around the past 15 months, the gravity and the volume of what I did has been out of sight, out of mind. 98% of my life. Downsized, liquidated, lightened. The essentials with me, the extras in my storage unit. Everything else โ€” purged. To be honest, I am still in awe of what I accomplished. I know I donโ€™t give myself enough credit for the work I undertook. If I think about it from an external perspective, the task seems gargantuan.ย 

Now, back in KS at my family’s, unloading the SUV, opening boxes, and going through what’s left? I look at some the things that I kept and I ask myself why. What is the relevance? What is the meaning? Some of the time, there was no meaning. I was moving too fast to think. I also think about how much money I spent on possessions, and I shake my head.

I am NOT the same person that I used to be. The incremental, daily changes were hard to notice, but looking back, I don’t recognize myself. It’s a metamorphasis, and my heart is full.

I was a person who cared about filling my home with things, but now I am a person who cares about being light, and filling my life with experiences, relationships, and memories. Phoenix, it’s been real. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds, and (foreshadowing)… it’s gonna be amazing!

Until then… more bestowing, more organizing, more downsizing to come โ€” these next few weeks while I’m still in KS.

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