Within about 1 year of our desired departure date, we began taking a serious look at de-cluttering our home. This was all in the interest of preparing for an eventual move, if necessary. We were still hoping that we might be able to rent our home partially furnished, so that we would not have to store all of our large furniture pieces, but it seemed apparent that some sort of storage was inevitable. We had originally planned on using one of our attic rooms to store ALL personal items (besides the furniture), but due to the tremendous heat upstairs for about 2-3 months of the year (i.e. 115 degrees), we were concerned about potential damage to our belongings. The thought of all our photos melting would be a disaster! We decided to take all documents and small items of value to my parents home in Los Angeles before we left, but had obviously accumulated, much, much more.
Dan and I decided to tackle a different room in our house each month, to start the slow process of organizing and eliminating nonessential items. Our first month was focused on our office, and ended with a 55 pound tub of paper that needed to be shredded! We then photographed each room upon completion, when it was the most clean and “beautiful” to use for advertising our home rental.
We also sold some of our items on Craigslist that were in good shape, but of no use to our family any longer, like a crib, and a work bench. I regularly brought clothes and toys to consignment shops and used clothing stores, before donating unwanted items at Goodwill, knowing that any extra income we could generate would go a long way on the road. I personally LOVE getting rid of stuff! When I looked around my house and saw how much junk we had it stressed me out. I cannot believe how much we had accumulated, and looked forward to simplifying.
In the end, we did not have to rent a storage unit outside of using our attic space, but this may be the only option for other people. My initial search into storage facilities, led me to believe that we would need to spend approximately $200 a month to store our personal items. I especially liked the idea of PODS, where they park a container in front of your house for a full month, for you to slowly pack, and then they hall it off to a storage unit. There is no unpacking required. Once you want your stuff back, they truck the pod back over to your home, where you have another month to unpack.