Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Real Cost of Stuff

We moved out of our house this past weekend.  After unsuccessfully trying to sell for the past four months, we took on renters.  So naturally we had to move all of the junk, I mean stuff, that we have accumulated.

Well, not all of it.  We sold off several large pieces of furniture the week before on Craigslist.  We had also had a yard sale earlier in the season to get rid of unwanted items.  I thought we were in pretty good shape for our move.  So down to U-Haul we went and rented a 14' box truck.

Loading up

Last Friday afternoon we left work at lunchtime to go home and load up our truck.  Everything went pretty smoothly and fit in fine, though we did end up throwing a futon frame away and some other miscellaneous stuff. 

Of course now we had to find a new home for all of our stuff.  Luckily my in-laws were willing to take it in for the time being.  The thing is, my in-laws live on Long Island; four hours and many expensive tolls by U-Haul truck away.

Long story short: we made it to the island after a harrowing journey involving cutting across nine lanes of NYC rush hour traffic, an inadvertent trip around the Mets stadium, and no bathroom breaks. 

By the time it came to unload the truck the next morning, we didn't even remember or much care about what was in those boxes in the back of our U-Haul.  In fact, we put up a couple more things for sale on Craigslist that day.

It got me thinking:  if one annoying trip can make me forget about what is in those boxes, what did I really care about it in the first place?

After all, the tag line to this blog is currently 'Achieving our dreams by simplifying our lives'.  We've made great strides in simplifying, but we still have a ways to go.

Of course that isn't even taking into account all of the stuff that we have moved to our new apartment.

I estimate that to move our stuff it cost right around $500.00.  That is just for the hard costs including truck rental, gas, tolls, etc.  I haven't yet put a value on mine or Trish's time.

On the bright side we did make a trip to the beach on Long Island Saturday afternoon.  We had said to ourselves that if we were going to go through all of this trouble that we would have to at least go to the beach for a half an hour and remind ourselves what all this craziness is for.  We spent about five hours there.

The moral of the story?  Own less stuff.  I have talked before about wanting to have less, perhaps even trying to live with 100 or less things.  I think this experience will be a good catalyst towards those goals.  I have basically been living out of a backpack for the past two weeks as we have packed up and moved in to our new place for the next month.

"But Bill, what do you mean: 'for the next month'?"

I mean that we are moving forward.  The opportunity to transfer to Burlington, VT with my job fell through.  And while we have toyed around with the idea of the USVI, I think we will be stateside for the time being, just not in one place for very long :)


  1. I know what you mean about "stuff". We could not sell everything, so we have a storage unit, and I hate it. Don't want to give it all away, as we could use the money. It will all go eventually. We are frantically moving out of our house, as we close next wk. Thought we had it all under control, but then the sewer pipe clogged! The house if fighting back.

    At least now you guys can get out and explore a little, without the burden of the house.

  2. Our house is for sale, and we know it's going to be a job to get ride of all the junk, er, stuff. Hope to have a garage sale this fall and not wait until we have an offer. I think it will feel like a weight has been lifted somewhat. Enjoy your freedom, and congrats on moving forward!

  3. Thanks again for all the encouragement! It is really nice to not have the house as such a burden anymore, very freeing!