As some of you know I’ve been working on organizing my disheveled 15×10 storage unit in southern California for the last five weeks.

The reason it’s so disorganized was back in May of 2019, I had less than a week to move out of a three bedroom house. I literally threw stuff in boxes and if there was anything fragile in said box, I marked it as such and moved onward. The boxes were all different sizes – left over Chewy, Amazon, and Walmart boxes, or boxes that I picked up free from grocery stores. As none of the boxes were the same size, they were stacked haphazardly.

My plan was:

  1. To find some missing items: clippers, Dremel and my tools.
  2. Organize the boxes and put everything in like-sized boxes.
  3. Be able to lift all of the boxes by myself for easier moving.
  4. Know precisely the number of boxes I have and exactly what I have in case I hire a moving company.
  5. Try to sell some stuff or donate.

I thought this whole process would take three weeks, but instead it took five weeks. Why? I’m not as young as I once was, and I’m definitely not in shape. I also didn’t have a plan together when I first started out.

5×10 Unit

When I first started opening up the boxes and putting like stuff into the small sized U-haul boxes, I ran out of room very quickly. As the U-haul facility where my 15×10 unit is didn’t have any 10×10 units left, I rented a 5×10 unit, hoping this would suffice. It didn’t. It was too small.

10×10 Unit

10×10 unit, partially filled

So, I found another unit a little ways up the street from U-haul. I began to move the boxes here, and then eventually moved everything from the 5×10 unit here also.

Broken Stuff

Never trust anyone to pack your stuff. My ex packed my stuff into the storage unit. And although boxes were marked with directional arrows and marked as fragile, or even “Extremely Fragile,” these were ignored. 😡

Broken iguana

My brother made an iguana out of soapstone, and this box was marked, “EXTREMELY FRAGILE” and was even marked to what it contained and had directional arrows. The box was on its side with lots of heavy items placed on top of it. 😡 So, yes, this one of a kind artwork broke. I cried when I saw it shattered in about five pieces all on the right side – all because the box was on its right side instead of on its bottom!

I also came across a broken folding table because again, the ex thought it best to put hundreds of pounds of weight on the folding table! Folding tables cannot hold this type of weight. Duh! And of course, two broken bookcases. Grr.

Cardboard Runs and Donations

I found a place to recycle cardboard and did two runs with my 4runner full of cardboard – all flattened down. If I don’t have to throw away anything, I will recycle or donate. I also donated quite a lot of stuff to Goodwill, which is located conveniently right next door to U-haul. I donated clothes, at least three large boxes full, hangers galore, a ladder, bench, chair, books, books, and more books, DVDs, and really wanted to donate two really nice rolling arm chairs but because of Covid, Goodwill wouldn’t accept them… so they were hauled off to the dump.

Look at all of those boxes!

Accomplished and Finished

Remember my list from above? Well I accomplished it!

  • I wanted to find my clippers because my Pomeranian, Halo has serious mats that needed trimming. DONE
  • I wanted to find my Dremel so I could file my dogs’ nails down quickly and easily. DONE
  • I found my tools.
  • I organized all of the boxes and put them in all U-haul boxes. DONE
  • I wanted to be able to lift all of the boxes by myself. DONE
  • I wanted to know the precise number of boxes I have. DONE
  • I donated, recycled, and hired a hauling company for the broken stuff.

Behind the wall of boxes is my queen size mattress, two twin size mattress frames that connect together, my Mom’s roll top desk, a futon, two cat trees, and an oak dining table. In front of all of the boxes, to the right, is the Whirlpool washer and dryer that I’m unsure if I’m going to keep yet and my 1950s Wedgewood range – that actually works! I’m a sucker for antiques.

The turquoise wooden chair is in front of my Mom’s wooden chair, and you can see the turquoise table which has the box with the broken iguana in it. Then I have a bench on the left side of the unit, and a sewing table, which you cannot see in the photo.

How Many Boxes?

Before I reveal the number as it is a rather large number, I must tell you that not all of the boxes are full. Why? Because I need to be able to lift them and also, I don’t want things to be in different boxes again. Example: before I had ONE rather large box of books, but I couldn’t lift it. This ONE box became FOUR boxes. I also had ONE box of records that ended up becoming THREE boxes… then there’s all of my jewelry supplies, that alone accounts for about 20 small boxes.

  • 87 – 1.5 cu ft (small) boxes
  • 14 – 3 cu ft (medium) boxes
  • 8 – 6.3 cu ft (large) boxes
  • 1 – mannequin box
  • 1 – table lamp box
  • 1 – stereo box
  • 2 – Akro Mills boxes
  • 5 – miscellaneous sized boxes

For a 1200 sq ft house, it’s recommended to get: 12-37 small boxes, 25-35 medium boxes, 16-20 large boxes, 10-12 extra large boxes, 10-12 wardrobe boxes, 3 file boxes, a dish box, a flat screen TV box, a few book boxes, and packing supplies.