Monday, August 8, 2011

Escape from the storage unit

In June I went to Maine charged with the task of eliminating the need for three 10 foot by 20 foot storage units. It took three days. At the end of the three days, three enormous truck loads of items had been removed to the dump or for reuse or resale by the junk man. One smaller truck load of items had been taken to auction. Several silver items had been sold for cash to the auction man. A cargo crate of forty oil paintings had been shipped across the country. 27 small boxes had also been shipped across the country for one client's new home. A fair amount of things had been integrated into the other client's nearby home. And there was no more need for the storage units.

It looks so innocent.
One of the storage units on the first day.
The key to our ability to that quickly pare down to just a few items being shipped to my client's new home was all in my clients' frame of mind. They no longer wanted to pay for the storage units. They were starting life in a different state, and did not want or need the physical items they'd had in the past, so they were ready to let a lot go. That attitude combined with the wonderful auction man and his amazing associate, the junk man, who were ready to take away everything on our schedule was what made the quick turnaround possible.

A lot of trash.
Deciding what to keep, what to sell and what to let go of.
It was physically exhausting work, even though the long Maine summer days were complemented by truly perfect summer weather (no bugs!), and it was mentally and emotionally draining for my clients to continually make decision after decision all day long. But at the end, there was a palpable sense of relief at having accomplished our goal and a sense of freedom at being able to start a new chapter of life unburdened by the objects of the past.

A small pile of boxes to ship.
Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.

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