Adventures in storage

What a fun weekend we just had! (Sarcasm intended.) Our realtor came out last week and looked at the house, and he told us that we should not put any money into fixing it up or even staging it, because it will probably be a tear-down. This was sad news, since our house was once beautiful, but not surprising. It’s not that there is anything wrong with our house besides needing some minor repair work and upgrades, but in our neighborhood that’s what happens with all but the newest homes.

We had worked like dogs just to get the house semi-presentable, although it is still full of clutter and the closets were stuffed with things my husband thought shouldn’t go into the shipping container because of the heat. The realtor advised us first to clear out the closets so that people can see what size they are. So, during the week I went online and found a climate-controlled storage facility and a truck to rent.

This in itself was a bit of an adventure. Both the truck and the storage facility sent me messages explaining that my reservations weren’t confirmed until I spoke to the local manager. The storage facility manager was supposed to call me within 24 hours, and she didn’t (I thought). The truck company sent my husband an email asking me to call, and he didn’t tell me about it. So, I didn’t know about it until I got home from work, at which time their office was closed.

The truck was easy to sort out, but the next day I called the storage facility five times! The first time, I got a person, and she told me the computer system was down, but she would call another facility and have them check my reservation, and then she would call me back. She never did. It wasn’t until I had left three messages that I realized I had typed my phone number one digit off on the electronic form, although I had left the correct number with the person I talked to. Finally, after work, my husband and I just went over there. I still don’t know if they never called back or if they called back the wrong number, but the computer was still down when I went in. The manager told me she had confirmed my reservation the same day I made it, but of course to the wrong number.

Then she explained that her voice mail goes directly to her computer, so if she doesn’t get the phone, with the computer down, she doesn’t get the message. While I was there, she ignored the phone several times. (Side point: I get that not answering the phone while dealing with a customer is normally good etiquette, but when you know that the phone customer’s messages aren’t going to be conveyed to you?) Anyway, we finally got all checked in to the storage facility, I thought, and got our code for the gate. Big caution from the manager: don’t be in here later than 10PM or you’ll get locked in. (This is important later.)

So, Saturday morning I go up to start pulling things out of the closet and find that the two rooms we spent so much time cleaning out are all full of junk again! I kid you not! And this is not the first time it has happened! This time, my husband had been helpfully pulling things out of the closet already, but seeing it like this had such a devastating effect on my energy that I was appalled. I would have been fine just pulling things out of the closet a few at a time and taking them down to the truck, but seeing that room messed up for the third time just felt horrible. (The second time was when I went up the night before we were supposed to shampoo the carpet.) I have explained to him the psychological benefit of knowing you have made some progress. “We cleaned out this room so we don’t have to do it again! Yay!” I don’t think he gets it. (I have also explained to him that moving things around isn’t cleaning. He has piles of boxes behind the screen in the living room right now. They have been there for three weeks. With him, things are truly out of sight, out of mind.)

Well, we are two old people. I am 64 and my husband is five years older. You can imagine how much fun we had taking a bunch of boxes down a flight of stairs. It took us all day, although we took a long break in the middle. This was work that those guys I hired could have done in a couple of hours. To make matters worse, it hadn’t rained all summer, as is frequently the case in Austin, but it was raining that morning when we first started taking boxes out and it rained all evening while we were unloading.

Finally, we got smart enough just to take everything downstairs, and once we had it all down, it only took another hour to put the rest in the truck. We stopped to give our animals dinner, and we got to the storage facility at about 7 PM in the pouring rain.

Our code didn’t work.

We didn’t have our cell phones with us. The office was, of course, closed.

Our truck was due back at 9:30 AM, and the storage facility office didn’t open until 11.

We had to go all the way back home and call the main number. They gave us a temporary code, but it took them about 20 minutes to do it. By the time we got back, it was 8 PM. We had two hours to unload the truck and get out of there. It was still raining.

Well, the good news is that it only took us a little over an hour to unpack the truck, so we didn’t spend the night in the storage facility (with the woman I saw that, I swear, did). The storage facility had these big carts that we could load up, which made the job a lot easier (as did the elevators).

The result of my husband's driving
The result of my husband’s driving

Then we went to leave. On the way in, my husband was unable to get the truck close enough to the keypad to put in the code himself. I had to get out of the truck, walk around it, and put the code in, and then run through the gate. On the way out, he got close enough, but when we were going to leave, he put his foot down on the accelerator hard, and BAM! We ran into one of the big yellow posts that protect the keypad. While we were sitting there being discombobulated, the gate started to come down, and my husband had to gun it to get through! (Well, actually, it started back up when we were under it, but how did we know that was going to happen?) These were just two of the terrifying driving events of the evening.

And that is the story of our weekend adventures!

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5 thoughts on “Adventures in storage”

    1. Oh, Mary, two years ago I bought him a book for Christmas on decluttering. He almost immediately lost it in all his junk! It didn’t surface again until two weeks ago. At this point, we don’t really have time to deal with this problem, since we are working so hard to get ready to leave. My brother suggested he needed counseling, and I said “Yes! But we don’t have time to cure him right now!” And anyway he wouldn’t go. Maybe after we move and things settle down, I can read something that will help me help him not get things into this kind of condition again.

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    2. Some of these do look good, though. I have seen Wayne get sucked into reading things, for example, every time he’s started working on his boxes of papers. Unfortunately, that’s what he’s working on most of the time, so I don’t know what to do about it. That is, that’s his category. I like that idea, though, and also the one about the fold. We do have a problem with stuffed drawers. Unfortunately, we don’t have a large dresser, so we have to hang.

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  1. You poor dear. This sounds like the kind of situation that might need a professional who helps with hoarding, for the sanity of you both. I’ve read that the person who ISN’T a hoarder often feels so exasperated that they make threats, while the hoarder feels so traumatized by the things being removed that they feel anger, disbelief, and betrayal. It’s tough.

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    1. Well, yes, but unfortunately we really don’t have time to deal with that before we move. So that puts it mostly on me. I haven’t made any threats so far, but I have gotten angry at times. I’m trying not to do that. Thanks for your sympathy. I haven’t actually thrown out anything he doesn’t want, by the way, except outright trash, old catalogs, old bills, old receipts, that sort of thing.

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