The Story of My Storage Unit

January 13, 2008

I was in a situation nine years ago where I was living in an apartment which I could not afford to pay for because I lost my job and the savings were running out.  I rented a storage unit, which was much less than apartment rent.  I had enough money left to afford it for a few months while I figured out what to do next.  I moved everything I owned into the unit except for basic stuff like clothing, toiletries, a sleeping bag, some books, etc. which I put in my car.  Then I drove to another town and starting living out of a relative’s guest room.

That was a difficult time.  I thought it would be just a few months of transition, but it eventually turned into four years of being semi-homeless.  I survived by cutting my expenses to the barest minimums, and earning money doing short-term odd jobs, working office temp jobs, selling some of my stuff, and the occasional charity gift.  I was in debt and probably suffering from severe depression.  That whole time I felt that “my life” was stashed away in that storage unit.  Since I could not afford to buy anything, I kept everything and re-used what I could.  That situation increased my packrat/hoarding behavior as a survival tactic.

During that time a good friend suddenly needed a place to store a garage full of things he was saving, such as boxes of business records, research materials, memorabilia, tools, lamps, construction materials, and I don’t know what else.  We figured that since I was paying for a space anyway, why not save money by sharing it.  I reshuffled and restacked my things, stacked his boxes nearly to the ceiling, and got it all in there.  My friend did help with the rent for a while, but that didn’t last for long.

After those four years of semi-homelessness one of my temp jobs turned into a regular job, and I have been working there for more than five years.  With a regular income from the job I was able to get out of debt, pay my own way and reimburse my hosts for their guest room.  About three years ago I had another friend who was moving out of town and had to store 20 boxes of stuff, which fit neatly on a palette.  I took that into the storage unit as well, and he also paid rent for a while but no longer does.

Most of the stuff in the storage unit doesn’t belong to me!  Yet I continue to pay the rent month after month.  Both of my friends are now living in other states and are financially unable to come here and take back their stuff.  I know now that I did not store “my life” in the unit, it was just physical stuff.  My real life is in my mind and my body.  The storage unit is a remnant of a very dark time in my life and I’ll be glad to stop renting it.

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2 Responses to “The Story of My Storage Unit”


  1. […] my previous post on the storage unit I said that I was storing boxes for a friend who now lives in another state and changes the subject […]


  2. […] but this monumental day is finally here.  Last weekend I moved the last few boxes out of my rented storage unit and handed in the key.  My key ring now has 3 keys instead of 4, and I notice it every time I pick […]


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