In part one of my story of stuff, I talked about how I started acquiring stuff at a young age and spent nearly a decade after college traveling back and forth across the country with a lot of stuff. Looking back now, I can’t even understand why I felt the need to carry so much of it with me, because every time we moved, I felt like we were running away from something and trying to start anew. It would have made more sense to just leave everything and start fresh each time. However, that old “if I’d known then what I know now” saying doesn’t do anybody any good, does it?
At any rate, after 9 years of craziness, at least I finally was brave enough to leave my dysfunctional relationship for the FINAL time. I actually left in the middle of the night with our son J and my car packed full of clothes, computer, personal items and some of J’s stuff. It took us 4 days and 3 nights to drive from Florida to Iowa. Ah, another fresh start, right? Just leaving an entire household of stuff, plus a misogynistic ex behind sounds so empowering doesn’t it?
While I am happy to say I was smart and finally strong enough to NOT go back into the relationship, I did fly back down to Florida about two months later to get all of my STUFF out of the house and put it in a storage facility. I was staying with my parents, and there wasn’t room for anything else in their house, so for a year I paid like $40 a month to store all of that stuff. A little over a year later, I finally drove down in an old pickup truck of my dad’s with my new boyfriend to vacation in Florida and get it.
We had a nice week in Orlando, spent time on the beach, drove to see my friend from St. Petersburg and then went to pack up all that stuff. Unfortunately my guy had hurt his back badly and wasn’t able to help much, so there I was packing furniture, boxes and just a lot of STUFF into the back of the truck by myself. I can still remember the sweat dripping off my face and my heart pounding as I hefted and heaved to get everything in, only to have to take stuff out a few times to rearrange and get more in. Crazy…
Yea, so we drove back, then I had to haul most of that stuff up to my new 3rd story apartment. My parents and the guy helped, and my son and I were set in our new place with our stuff.
We were in the apartment for two years and acquired more stuff, got rid of some of it, got more, and always had a very full apartment. I was always trying to rearrange to make it look less cluttered. My darling son had more toys than he knew what to do with, and his room was packed.
When the lease was coming due after our second year in the apartment, I bought a house. It was a darling (little) house very near the school. I paid Two Men and a Truck this time to move all the big stuff back down those stairs, (was getting a bit smarter) but still made many trips up and down those 4 flights of stairs. They were just like the ones in The Big Bang Theory. It’s no wonder I have flashbacks when I watch the scenes where they’re going up the stairs.
The new (little) house had a half basement, so there was room to put a lot of stuff. My son was as much of a collector as I was, so there was a lot of stuff. More stuff than there was room actually. My favorite pastime was thrift store shopping, and I was always getting loads of “bargains” on clothes, knick knacks, books (oh so many books) and just STUFF. I tried to organize the upstairs, but a majority of the stuff ended up in piles in the basement, waiting for the day it would be used and organized.
Two years into us living there, my boyfriend moved in with us. From henceforth, boyfriend will be known as D. All of D’s stuff was added to the always growing collection. My garage had been pretty untouched until this, but D had a store when we met, and when the store went out of business, all of the stuff in it moved into my garage.
I spent the next 8 years or so constantly rearranging to try and make room and to organize so things looked neat and not cluttered. Of course I still went to thrift stores and got stuff. My son acquired stuff, and D acquired stuff. We lived happily surrounded by it and all was well.
The blissful situation came to an abrupt halt when I hit my 40’s and became unsatisfied with my life. I needed a change. Shopping and getting more stuff wasn’t making me happy, but I kept doing it. At least when I shopped, I didn’t have to think about being unhappy. Unfortunately, once my son graduated and we all kept getting more stuff, my unhappiness, combined with 2 grown men, 2 dogs and 3 cats made the small house seem even smaller. Something had to change…..