It is something I would never have fathomed. My wife and I fit our entire life in a 3’ by 6’ by 8’ locker.
We’ve been planning for over six months. Actually, we knew we would leave Seattle eventually, I wrote a post about it a couple of years ago in What will become in a year. Needless to say, this is something we’ve discussed repeatedly. We knew we were leaving for an extended period of time, and we’ve talked about what to do with our stuff. The large things we knew we would get rid of. We retired our king size bed after serving us well for over 10 years. We got rid of our extra-large chair, despite being comfortable and pricey, because we forever stained it by cleaning cat vomit and other spills. The Ikea couch we purchased when we moved to Seattle would find a new home, as would various other items in our house.
We embraced the Buy Nothing Facebook group in our neighborhood, posting and rehoming various items. We made lots of Goodwill and Threadcycle runs. This was our attempt to minimize our collection of items while at the same time trying to keep them out of landfills.
What to keep?
This was the toughest part. The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) offer a resource page to help downsize your stuff.
Sidenote: while I don’t really subscribe to The Minimalist lifestyle as much as they push, they do have a couple of great movies I’d recommend watching even if you are not considering minimizing your life. You can watch their first one on YouTube.
They offer great tips, one of them being if it can be replaced easily for under $20, then why keep it around? Don’t keep stuff just in case but keep stuff that brings meaning into your life. That is sorta what we did. We kept things that brought us meaning in our lives, that we could not replace easily, or couldn’t give away.
It was tough, not going to lie. It wasn’t as if we easily channeled our Marie Kondo and weeded things out. We did however, and I hate myself for saying this, channel my inner corporate speak and begin with the end in mind.
Storing at Leva
The high cost for little space actually surprised us when we began looking for storage. Jordan had an idea of asking the management team where were living to see if they would be open to the idea of us renting a locker from them. And they were! Thanks Leva on Market! It was the cheapest option available to us. Now we had an idea of how big the storage unit would be—3 feet wide, 6 feet long, and 8 feet high.
It took us a couple of weeks to sort the things we wanted in boxes and bins and get rid of the rest. We kept memorabilia that was sacred to us, framed pictures, wedding albums, clothes we were not taking with us, camping gear, and kitchen items we wanted to keep. I also kept a lot of our electronics such as our computer tower, monitors, and various voice activated devices.
One last thing—our cat, Chip
Actually two last things. Our beloved cat—Chip—and our Nissan Rouge—Maiz Azul (yes, we named our car blue corn because it’s blue and the dealer kept telling us this car was a unicorn). We really considered bringing Chip along. I mean Dad Dan Nguyen became famous for traveling with his cats, why couldn’t we? Maybe we had another @spongecake_thescottishfold on our hands! But we found some great friends who would take care of both while we went on our tour. Thanks again Becca, KJ, and Ellie—three fantastic people who we trust with our cat and our car.
So, we packed our car with Chip and his things (yes, our cat has stuff too), along with the couch we gave them, and drove across Washington from Seattle to Spokane.
Saying goodbye (temporarily) to Chip was the hardest part about this tour we are taking. We were lucky to spend the day with Chip in his new (temporary) home before leaving. It was emotional seeing him adapt to his new surroundings and we hope he doesn’t think we have left him.
We will definitely return to Spokane and pick him up, as well as our car. But for now, we know he is getting along with his new (temporary) family.
Could you do it?
Has anyone reading considered downsizing into a small locker? Back in college, sure, I had little to nothing. But this is the first time in my adult life that I’ve reduced down to a small locker. I think everyone at some point in their lives considers getting rid of stuff, but then reconsider it as crazy. Let us know if this was tough or how you overcame it.
We may be crazy to do the same! We may live to regret when we return but that is a future Jordaniel issue. Something that we will figure out when we return from our tour. Until then, we will live out of backpack as we travel through Europe!