Getting Rid of My “Stuff” For the Peace Corps


I was considering a storage unit for my Riccar vacuum cleaner

I never thought it would be this difficult to decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away, before I leave for the Peace Corps.

I only have one month before I leave for Lesotho, in southern Africa, and I’ve debated whether or not to rent a storage unit.

The cheapest storage unit I found was a 5’x5′ unit for $1, 950 for 28 months. Do I want to pay that much to store my clothes, shoes, and some files?

My mother’s silverware is going to my cousin’s house tomorrow, but since my cousin doesn’t have room for my files and my clothes, I decided to box everything, and store it with a friend for 3 months. If I’m not back before then–(I don’t plan on that,) my friend can either keep or donate my stuff to charity.

At first I contemplated a storage unit because I’m attached to my (old/expensive) vacuum cleaner, but then I asked myself: “Are you crazy Sonia? Are you really going to get a storage unit because you’re in love with your old vacuum cleaner?”

I have a thing about good quality vacuum cleaners, and spent a fortune on my Riccar, ten years ago, It still works well, and for some reason, this is one of the items I’m having a hard time releasing. (Any psychologists have an analysis of what this means?)

I started looking at all the “love letters and poems,” I received from my ex-husband when we dated, and during our marriage. That is a hard decision for me right now. Should I get rid of them? Part of me is tempted to, as my new life in Lesotho is starting, and I need to move on.

What about my sons’ Kindergarten and school papers? I cannot throw those away, even though they tell me they don’t want them.

Any advice from my friends? Have you had to make decisions like this? 


Disclosure: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Comments (12)

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  1. Linda Luke says:

    I get it. I have a Riccar vacuum too. And, even though I’ve been a member of the simple living movement for decades there is a logic to hanging onto something that works so well and would be expensive to replace.
    I encourage you to keep the keepsakes that open your heart. You can always let them go later. Or, you might consider taking pictures of some of them and storing them online. Everything else is optional. And,if you need more storage, I have room in my garage.
    Linda Luke recently posted..How Wayne Dyer Saved My LifeMy Profile

  2. Ian Mathie says:

    Learn to love dust, Sonia. There’s likely to be a bit of it about where you’re going and it’s a natural part of the environment. Files can be scanned and stored on a micro chip, everything else is dispensible. It’s a shame you haven’t got more family to leave things with, but hey-ho, you can’t take it with you at the end. And, after all, you’ve had the use of the items, so you have their memories. There’s loads of new stuff out there in the world for you to discover and to love, so only keep what you can carry. You don’t need baggage (or storage bills) to have an adventure.

    So what’s all this about being in love with a vacuum cleaner? Is this a new form of California thrill? Is it catching on?

  3. Sonia, I sympathize. I completely sold out my possessions three times in my life. It was hard. However, none of those things were important enough to spend that much money to store. For letters and kid papers that you want to keep, a cheaper option is a safe deposit box. Try to let the rest go (if you can), especially the sweeper.
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted..Literary Mystery Fiction: Finding the Sweet Spot … by Nancy G. WestMy Profile

  4. Masuda Khan says:

    When I left for my two years advanture , I rented a movable storage unit for only $45 a month. They dropped the unit in my house and I filled it up, they came and picked up to store in their facility. I think somethings are worth keeping even just for memory sake. I given up few things I still regret.

  5. Suellen Zima says:

    When I set out for what ended up as 16 years plus of wandering the world, I left a few things in my parents’ storage unit. I’ve been living back in the U.S. for 16 years now. The only thing I’ve really used over and over from what I kept is an old wok. You live in the digital age now. Take memory photos of the stuff you love, and you can even scan letters that you think you might some day read again (but probably won’t). Anything archive-worthy? All the letters I saved for 25 years from my Chinese students are now in an archive at Stanford University – a much better place for them than in storage. Move forward — you’ll have the opportunity to collect a lot more stuff you’ll wonder what to do with when you’re old.

  6. Yvonne Sagi says:

    Dear Sonia,
    I am the sentimental type that loves the paper the old letters were written on. I still have my sons’ kindergarten and school papers and drawings. I look at them from time to time and they warm my heart.
    Regarding the vacuum cleaner, as you say you won’t need it in Lesotho. When you return you can always buy another one if needed.
    Good luck with you new gutsy adventure and keep us updated.

    Take care and love, Yvonne

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