Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

What is Left After Downsizing from 2500 Sq Feet to 180 – Our 10×5 Storage Unit

Our 10x5 Storage UnitDownsizing is such a simple word isn’t it? Maybe not. Maybe just in my imagination. When we decided to sell the house, we knew we’d have to sell, donate, or throw away almost everything in it, but the magnitude of that project didn’t really  impress itself into our brains until we were already knee deep. It was tough. 10 and 1/2 years of marriage, 3 kids, and years of  “plenty of space”  led to  a house full of things we rarely used, and definitely did not need. We are actually really good about not being packrats, yet stuff managed to proliferate anyway.

Getting the kids to clean out was probably the hardest part. Knowing they needed some security, Sam and I agreed that they could store whatever they felt they wanted (within limits). We had plenty of storage tubs (34 to be precise) and since we knew WE were keeping very little, we’d most likely have room. For the most part, they did really great. I’ll admit I cleaned out most of their room without them, but we saved their treasure boxes, Andrew wanted his orange comforter (me – I’ll buy you a new one. Him – MOM! It has to be this EXACT SAME ONE), Cara had some toys, and they all had stuffed animals I refused to let them bring. I drew the line at 3, but I’m pretty sure they all snuck in a few more.


Sam kept his planer since it was the one large tool he’d buy over again. The other tools he would rather upgrade so they were sold. After at least 2 months of going back and forth, I finally sold off the rest of my cute office furniture (I JUST redid that room!), my green velvet chaise, and our dining room table. All replaceable in the future. We did keep our Select Comfort Mattress (sold the bed frame) which boxed up nicely, as well as an Armoire Sam finished as a kid. It has been such a handy (if heavy) piece of furniture. Being a photographer, we also had plenty of wall art which we bubble wrapped and stored in the Armoire. Other items we kept: wooden toy train tracks (these are my favorite and I LOVE them and we have LOTS), folding chairs with our name on it, the toy kitchen (Cara insisted), suitcases (the kids ALL insisted), some games, and just other random memorabilia and home made decorations.

Every time we would make a pile to go to the storage unit, Sam and I would look doubtfully at each other and think “There’s no way we are going to fit!”. Once we packed it all in with room to spare though we were pretty proud of ourselves!


I know that we will be different people when we are finished with this part of our journey. That’s okay. When we walk back up to the storage unit, and think “Why did we save all this?” maybe some people will think “I told you so” but for now, its what we needed in order to let go of everything else. I think we needed some tie to the life we’ve built together over the last decade, and that’s natural. We’ve also had people tell us (almost jealously), “Wow! Its like you get to start all over and buy everything new again!” This is true, although I’m sure we will be a lot more picky about what we let into our lives. This is not a process I desire to repeat anytime in the near future!


So, there you have it: all the stuff not wandering with us will live here till we are done.

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  • Karen Bourne - impressive! I’m sure it will be so fun to pull things out again. It will be nice to have those things when you move into a space that is bigger than your airstream. That was a ton of work. Way to go!ReplyCancel

  • Tamara - What an inspiring post! We are on the front of this downsizing process and I spent the weekend away from home, trying to get my head around the whole “what do we keep” and “how much storage do we need” situation. Your post helps put things in perspective.ReplyCancel

    • Jess - I’m glad it helped! Good luck with the process – its painful but definitely worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Brea Palmer Abel - Just wonderful! What an insane amount of work that went in to downsizing to this extent. KUDOS! But it gives me hope…as we’re hoping to leave on our house-selling, stuff-purging, road-schooling, full-timing adventure next summer. ReplyCancel

  • Jean Smith - I just spend the last hour catching up on your blog and adventures. My goodness, you guys are amazing. You have done so many cool things, seen so much, will experience so much more. You are making me so excited for our own adventure (we leave next week…eeeek)! But, this post made me laugh because we JUST went through the same thing. We seriously purged our whole life and fit the remains in a 10×20 storage unit. I stood at the entrance of the storage unit wondering if we were super awesome having downsized our life so much, or super lame and would regret it later…LOL! I’m leaning toward super awesome. Right??? Right? Convince me that I’m right 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Jess - Oh Jean!! LOL! I totally needed to hear you say this. We are super awesome! hahah Yeah. Let’s stick with that. (P.S. I’m ridiculously excited to see you guys on Saturday!)ReplyCancel

  • Storage: What We kept and What We Shouldn’t Have » Currently Wandering - […] our house in Lehi, Utah 6 months into our travels, we got rid of mostly everything. What we kept was stored in a 5ft by 10ft storage unit and we have added a few things from our travels over time. We recently emptied it out on our way to […]ReplyCancel

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