Storage Unit

storage unit

When you have so much stuff your house can’t hold it anymore, what do you do? Donate? Discard? No. Nooooooo. You get a storage unit. Because you might need that stuff some day.

Akin to the wisdom of leaving your second-most costly possession, your car, out in the weather because the garage is full of worthless junk, a storage unit permits you to pay monthly fees to hang onto forgotten objects. We opted for storage when we finally got around to clearing out the basement and were faced with what to do with the extras. Here’s a sampling:

Lathe, hasn’t been used in ten years. May get back into wood-working some day.

Plastic bin containing almost-worn-out sheets. Too good to throw away, and they could come in handy as paint drop cloths, right?

Six electric fans. Well, what if the A/C goes out?

Wicker bar cart. Could need this when we give that big party we’ve been planning for thirty years.

Legos, Cabbage Patch Kids, Big Wheel, too many stuffed animals to count. Save for future grandchildren. Besides, such memories!

You get the picture. (We had several of those, too.) So off we went to check out the closest storage facility, which happened to be just a mile from the house. Those places seemed to be everywhere, which gave us the comfort of knowing we were not alone in our feckless hoarding.

The young couple who ran the place bubbled with such enthusiasm, it almost made up for the fact we were agreeing to send them a monthly check.

“You can have access to your items any time, day or night,” the young man assured us.

“And the place is totally secure,” his pretty wife chimed in. “You’ll have the code to the gate and the key to your unit. We live right here, so we keep an eye on things twenty-four, seven.”

It sounded good, so we went home to fill our pick-up truck, returned to our new space and proceeded to unload, box and stack our stuff neatly. How lovely to have all that room!  We meticulously labeled the cartons with a black Sharpie. It was a far cry from the chaos of our basement. But then, suddenly, the unit was almost full and there was a  lot left in the truck. We resorted to haphazard shoving, a blitz of get-er-done. Our intention to make a master list of contents went a’glimmering, so by the time we eased the overhead door down barely clearing the contents we already couldn’t remember what was in the back.

Then we met our neighbors.

“Hey,” said the yellow-tinged, extremely thin man who emerged yawning from the unit next door.

“Hey,” we responded cautiously.

“Y’all rentin’ that space?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Cool. Whatcha got in there?”

“Oh, just stuff. Should have thrown it away. Nothing of value, just junk, really,” we babbled.

“Uh huh. A’right, then. See ya.” He disappeared back into the shadows, from which emanated an aroma of dirty clothes, old food, feet and pot. We caught a glimpse of a bare mattress on the floor as his overhead door came down.

Next came a white-haired couple, holding tightly to their walkers as they made their perilous way to us.

“Good morning,” the lady said. She had a sweet smile, like everybody’s favorite granny. “Say, honey (to my husband), could you lend us a hand?”

Two hours later, Honey returned covered in cob webs, sweat and resentment. “They made me clean out their whole unit,” he said, brushing frantically at the webs in his hair. “I had to load their truck, pack up their walkers and help them both up into the cab. They offered me five dollars.”

“Did you take it?”

“Darn straight! We’re gonna need it. We’ve got a monthly storage fee to pay.”

Absolutely. We might need that stuff someday.




5 thoughts on “Storage Unit

  1. Oh, man. That’s hilarious! There’s definitely a short story in that situation, Doris. I’m a relentless purger and neatnik. Our local thrift stores are regular recipients of our unwanted stuff because I can barely manage our small household of stuff never mind try and remember what might be in a storage unit.


  2. This story made me laugh a little. It made me want to just donate everything I own when I give up my home and move to assisted living. It sure would be easier than worrying about which of my worldly possessions I should keep. I loved the story.


  3. My storage story: A friend going back home, forever, to Brazil offered me her El Cheapo bed with mattress five minutes before she left for the airport. She lived in student housing at Emory… how long would that bed have been homeless? But unable to jump-start my brain, I directed my son to load it onto his truck. Almost a year later I realized how much money I was throwing away just to keep an unwanted bed off the street at $25 a month. Posted a notice for free bed, and it disappeared from my life first evening. I agree with Susanne — that’s a short story. In fact, I am pretty sure Mrs. Entwhistle has forgotten about her storage unit, paid by Automatic Draft from her bank!


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