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 living… to a stuffed standard SUV. I’m floored.

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

As I’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 — purged. To be honest, I am still in awe of what I accomplished. I know I don’t give myself enough credit for the work I undertook. If I think about it from an external perspective, the task seems gargantuan. 

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 — these next few weeks while I’m still in KS.

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