A Beautiful Discovery Amidst the Junk

Letting go isn’t always sad, it can be sweet

Merre Larkin
7 min readJun 6, 2024
Self-storage building with an arrow pointing at author’s space
Photo provided by author — arrow pointing at my now cleared-out storage space

In the midst of a lot of letting go this year, I found myself having to throw away almost all of the belongings I’d been storing in a self-storage space in Pennsylvania for thirteen years.

That hadn’t been the plan when I put all that stuff in there, and by stuff, I mean stuff. At the time, it didn’t seem like stuff. Almost thirteen years later, most of it qualified as just that.

I lost my father three months ago. Now I’m losing my mother. So yes, I did get emotional after the junk haulers drove away with my stuff taking up half their truck.

But I also made an illuminating discovery as I alternated visits at my mom’s nursing home with time spent alone in my hotel room going through what I refused to let the junk guys take.

Almost thirteen years ago, I embarked on a cross country relocation to California, right after my youngest child graduated from high school. I planned it badly. Thankfully, my dad stepped in to lend an experienced hand.

As he and I whittled down the contents of my condominium to what would fit in a medium-sized Penske truck, I held my ground on certain items that didn’t fit, but that I wasn’t ready to part with.



Merre Larkin

Writer of nonfiction (memoir, essays), fiction, and poetry. Life/writing coach. Educator. Marathoner. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.