It’s a daunting task – imaging all your stuff in a 5-by-10 space.

Today I looked at storage units. I need to find a place for all my stuff while I’m away in China. I’ve never really packed all my stuff away like this. When I was deployed to Iraq, the army paid my rent, so I left all my stuff in my apartment, sitting right where I left it. While I was overseas, my roommate cherished having the two-bedroom apartment to herself. She put up lace curtains in the kitchen and e-mailed me threats of having sex on my bed or, even worse, simply sleeping on it. She later told me that for the first few weeks she slept in my bed and cried because she missed me, so I forgave her for putting up those retched curtains.

Now, everything must be packed away and stored somewhere safe, somewhere dry, somewhere I’ll remember in a year.

I looked at a place just south of Mankato. It was nice, new. It had a cement floor. I opened the unit, stepped back and stared into the empty space. It was tiny. In my head, I started to pack it all inside. I placed each item inside – my bed up against the wall; my desk and bookcases against the other wall; the two trunks, stuffed full of folders and book and old notebooks I somehow feel I still need, under and atop the desk; the four plastic bins full of left-over army gear, gnomes, books, and other random junk strategically placed in between it all. I tried and I tried but it just wouldn’t fit. I couldn’t do it.

How does someone do this kind of thing? Do they just get the unit and hope all their stuff fits? What about the stuff that doesn’t fit?

Where does it all go.