Author Topic: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?  (Read 5025 times)

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Note: this is not an attempt to garner sympathy or financial assistance, I'm lucky enough to have that covered by friends and family.  I've debating posting this, as it feels so personal, but I'm just genuinely curious how you Master-Mustachians would handle something like this?

The story, as briefly as I can explain it, goes like this.  On May 14, 2017 I loaded up my moving truck (16' Budget truck) to move from Longmont, CO to Irvine, CA for a new job.  Lots of thought and planning went into the decision to move, so let's not get into that.  Needless to say, the money was too good to turn down.  I could FIRE much faster if I took the job, despite living in a very expensive area. 
I'll spare you all the details of the trip, but if you want to know how I saved money along the way, let me know. 
When I arrived in CA, I was too late to get the keys and gate access to the apartment complex, so I checked online for a decent, well-lit, safe hotel with parking big enough for my huge box truck.  I chose the almost-brand-new Fairfield Inn in Tustin, CA off the 55 hwy so I could rack up some Marriott points and the company was paying the bill.  Besides, they had cameras at multiple angles in the parking lot enough space to park the truck.  After checking with security and management I parked there, locked up my truck with 3 different locks and went to bed.

The next morning, the truck was gone.  Called the police, they found it a few miles away, 100% empty.  Everything I've ever owned, GONE.  They even swept out the truck.  Of course CSI fingerprinted and DNA swabbed it for good measure, but these guys were Pros.  Video shows them jacking the truck in about 6 min flat.  I've moved 45 times in my life and I have never seen that before.

**Also, as a PSA - buying additional insurance from Budget does not cover the contents of the truck, just the truck.  Same with my car insurance (Esurance).  I don't have a car, but I am paying the insurance on my Mom's '02 Beetle until my brother takes it over next month. I'm fighting with my renter's insurance right now to see what, if anything, they will cover.  They are not offering up anything at the moment. **

Maybe they will catch the a-holes and I can visit them in prison, but I doubt that will happen.
Anyway, no use sitting around crying about it.  Time to move on. 

Sooo, my question to the master mustachian folks out there:

What would you do if you only had MacBook Pro, iPhone7, 3 pairs of shorts, 3 t-shirts, 1 pair of jeans, shoes and a toothbrush?
(seriously, this is all I had) By my count, $35,000 worth of stuff in that truck. - and yes, a lot of it was face-punch-worthy!

I have a 1-bedroom apartment and here is what I have purchased so far:
1 - Queen Mattress
1 - Large cushioned chair (something to sit on and read while looking out over the vast empty space of my apt)
1- tall table (to use as a desk/eating surface and fill out endless paperwork for insurance companies and cancel all of my bank accounts) Note: I think I like this better than my $600 sit/stand fancypants desk
1- tall stool (to sit at the desk when I'm tired of standing)
1- Frying pan
1- cable modem
1- WiFi router
+ basic sundries: bathroom supplies, some food from Costco
1 - Hybrid bike from Nashbar + panniers, fenders, lights, helmet, tools, pump and rack. 

I have a lot of friends suggesting that this is the best time to become a minimalist.  I've wanted to downsize for a long time, but damn, I surely didn't want to do it this way.  It is what it is though...

Honestly, I feel like this is a rare situation and I honestly and just sitting here trying to figure out what to do. 

Live in an RV or tiny house?  Possibly, but I have a 14 month lease to get out of.
Buy just the basics and avoid any guilty pleasures?  I certainly didn't need that acoustic guitar that I never learned to play.
Will I really miss my 100+ vinyl records from the 70s and 80s?  Probably not, besides, with iTunes, Amazon Prime, who needs it?


justchristine

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 07:07:55 PM »
If that were me, I would stay in the apartment and embrace the minimalism.  I hate any and all shopping so just buying things as I found a need for them would be easier.   Its much easier to not buy something than get rid of something that you already have.  I would focus on only getting things that have a purpose, although I would include a few decorations to make the place feel more like home, but I'm a nester...might not be applicable to you.

oldladystache

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 07:29:30 PM »
Many times over the past few years I've half jokingly wished for a fire, or for someone to come and steal everything. A chance to start over without all the things I've been hanging on to for no particular reason.

In reality, I'm sure it's terrible, but it is a chance to lighten your load of stuff.

I'd keep the apartment, buy only what I really needed at the time, and make long term decisions later.

mozar

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 07:42:11 PM »
Ditto what other people said. I just wanted to say something similar happened to me 10 years ago when I was moving. My car was broken into and they stole my trunk full of clothes, bed sheets and blankets. I still miss those tshirts sometimes, but oh well.

rdaneel0

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 08:06:45 PM »
I would stay in the apartment and wait one month to buy anything else except personal care items and clothing, which I assume you may need for work immediately. Any time you move it's easy to get caught in the trap of buying a ton of crap you don't really need. IMO it's better to stay in a place a while, get used to your new schedule and lifestyle, and then slowly accumulate what you need at a good price.

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 08:11:31 PM »
In my experience, renter's insurance SHOULD cover the contents while they were being moved assuming the coverage was still active. My insurance company specifically advised me to NOT cancel my renters insurance until I had moved. Now they are a class-act company. I don't know if every policy with every insurance company is standardized in this way.

Villanelle

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 08:24:25 PM »
My renters insurance definitely covers the contents of my stuff during a move.  Of course there may be plenty of salient details that could apply here, but I'd fight hard, ask them to cite specifically what clause in the policy says you aren't covered, and maybe even consider consulting a lawyer.  (Does your new job come with benefits that include any free legal advice?)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 09:04:25 PM »
What a shitty, shitty, shitty thing to have happen :(
I would have a lot of feelings about that.

In terms of the practical...

I'm just completing the final steps of getting everything for two of us to fit inside our compact car with us. We may well be there.

I'm a huge fan of minimalism, and was already doing it, just not to that degree the last two years. My options feel wide open.

Ideas besides the ones you mentioned, that might work for you:

1. Perpetual housesitting. All the comforts, none of the purchases.

2. See if your landlord will let you out of the lease. Plenty of landlords are compassionate enough to break a lease in a tricky circumstance.

3. Vandwelling.

4. Room in shared house.

sparkytheop

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 11:29:06 PM »
Oh, man, that sucks!

I've been going through a lot of stuff the last few days, boxing up things to donate (have made two trips so far), and filled up a pickup for a dump run.  Eventually I will build and move to a smaller house, so my goal is to really get down to just want I need/really want, so I don't have a bunch of stuff to get rid of when it is time.

If it were me:

Something to put my feet on when sitting at the chair (I always have my feet up at home). 
Kitchen (I rarely eat out, so I love a well stocked kitchen, but...) :  A cast iron skillet and dutch oven (mine don't even leave the stovetop because they are used all the time).  A sauce pan, cookie sheet, wire rack, cutting board, and knives/utensils.  A dish set (max of 4 place settings--I'm not fancy, so if I was entertaining, I'd use paper plates/cups).  A really big coffee mug and a travel mug.  A French press or pour-over contraption for coffee.  An espresso maker if I started to miss my homemade lattes.  Glass storage containers.  An 8x8 and a 9 x 13 baking dish.

A camera.  I have pretty much had one since I bought my first camera around fifth grade.

A sewing machine and fabric (but, my big hobby is quilting, both by hand and machine).

Shelves for clothing.  I prefer shelves over drawers. 

Clothing (in addition to what you have):
2 hoodies, because I live in them
4 t-shirts, don't want to do laundry every day
3 jeans, can usually wear them twice before washing
2 pairs pj pants (I'd sew my own)
5 long sleeve tees
Enough socks/underwear to only have to wash once a week, plus the set I'm wearing
My work provides my clothing (specialty arc-flash PPE)
1 coat, if needed (I use hoodies as jackets)
1 "nice" outfit for the theater, going out for dinner, funerals, whatever (shirt, pants, shoes)

For books/movies, etc, I'd get a kindle (I have amazon prime).  I'd also make use of the library and online sources (like youtube) for stuff to read and watch.

As I look at my own list, I'm thinking there is a lot more stuff I can put in that donate pile...




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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 11:47:07 PM »
Thanks for all of the comments everyone.  Great advice all around. 

Quote
Many times over the past few years I've half jokingly wished for a fire, or for someone to come and steal everything. A chance to start over without all the things I've been hanging on to for no particular reason.

Yep!  I actually wish all of it WAS a fire because my personal info would be burned up, instead of in the hands of criminals, but there are a few things I would want to keep that are more than just "stuff" like family photos, Olympic Torch, letters from loved ones.  Otherwise, really, it's just "stuff" at the end of the day.

Quote
My renters insurance definitely covers the contents of my stuff during a move.  Of course there may be plenty of salient details that could apply here, but I'd fight hard, ask them to cite specifically what clause in the policy says you aren't covered, and maybe even consider consulting a lawyer.

Yes, I think insurance will eventually cover some of it.  Of course I was being cheap and picked the $10K coverage, but that's better than nothing.  I have a lawyer friend who volunteered to chase after the insurance company for me.  She is reviewing my policy.  The hardest part is remembering everything you owned, where you bought it, finding receipts, etc. 

Another PSA for everyone: Backup/scan your files, pictures and anything of value.  Scan your receipts or buy off Amazon and other places where you can research them.  Between Amazon and Gmail, I may have enough receipts (even after depreciation) to claim the full $10K, hopefully. Also, I was shocked at how much stuff I had and what it was worth.  While creating an inventory spreadsheet, the number kept growing and growing.  I'll definitely consider that process BEFORE buying insurance next time.  Perhaps I should just cut myself off at $10K of stuff?!?

Quote
If that were me, I would stay in the apartment and embrace the minimalism.

Agreed!  Trying to embrace it and keep things simple for now.  The apartment is only 3 miles from work, so I really enjoy the location anyway. 

Quote
1. Perpetual housesitting. All the comforts, none of the purchases.
2. See if your landlord will let you out of the lease. Plenty of landlords are compassionate enough to break a lease in a tricky circumstance.
3. Vandwelling.
4. Room in shared house.

All of those are interesting. 
Housesitting would be cool, but difficult on the commute to work with ever-changing addresses, but great idea! 
Lease: I'm looking into it regardless, just in case I come up with an option to bail.  Just not ready for that right now.
Vandwelling: I considered that with my last job (remote consulting) but ultimately chickened out. 
Room in a shared house: I considered that before moving here, but at 44 yrs old, I do prefer my own space.  In my 20s and 30s, I did that a lot though!

@sparkytheop - awesome tips! I did buy a french press today - I need my morning coffee!  Basics, ya know? I cook and bake a lot, so while I'm kind of excited to buy new gear, I'm also sad that I lost my KitchenAid mixer and Blendtec.  uggh!  There is a "HomeGoods" store here (by TJMaxx I think) and they have lots of good deals on mis-matched kitchen items.
Sewing machine: in CO, my mom lived close - I miss dropping off clothes for free alterations and fixes!
Your list is very helpful. So many things I've not thought about, so while reading yours, it was triggering things my head.  Thank you very much. :)

Overall, yep, it's shitty and it will take a while to get over, but at least I have my health, a good job and good friends/family.  Thanks again everyone!!  Just reading suggestions and support really helps with the mental aspect of getting over the loss.


jeromedawg

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2017, 01:04:43 AM »
Crap! That sucks man... sorry to hear about this. I live in Irvine and my brothers have stayed at that same Fairfield Inn - I've not heard of anything like that happening but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's right near a major freeway and is on the outskirts and border of both Tustin and Irvine. Not necessarily a bad area but a convenient one for criminals to have an advantage, unfortunately. Someone must have been following and casing you... perhaps an employee at the hotel or working elsewhere in the vicinity. Hopefully the cops get good leads on all this. Speaking of crime in Irvine, there has been an uptick in mail theft, package theft, and car burglaries in the city - it's unfortunate because of things like prop 57 that passed... sorry for those who voted for it but rehab my A - once the thieves are released back onto the streets, they target this area because it's easy and everyone is too trusting to have packages left at the door all day. If they get caught, no big deal just wash rinse and repeat (or get your associates to help you do it) - a lot of these criminals reside in other cities but target Irvine for the reasons stated. Anyway, anywhere you live that's close to a freeway the probability of theft increases dramatically.

As far as the crazy rents in the area, definitely check around for renting a room from someone or getting roommates, etc once your lease is up - that should help save a buck or two LOL. As far as clothes, places to shop/eat, etc hit me up and I can point you to some places to the best of my ability. Congrats on the job btw (are they helping cover or pay for relocation expenses as well?). Honestly, I don't know what I'd do if this were to happen to me - I'd probably freak out a good amount. Then reality would set in and I'd 'slowly' rebuild and yea it probably would be a good catalyst to *start* minimalist and keep it that way.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 01:06:47 AM by jeromedawg »

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2017, 01:21:50 AM »
Your attitude is GREAT, Ratherboard.

For what it's worth, I'm in my late 40s with a young teen and I'm seriously exploring all the options I listed (plus live-in care for an elderly person). Never too old for roommates! lol.  It's been a high priority to have my own space (esp kitchen) the last several years, but with housing costs in my area (rent or buy), I'm looking at alternatives (because staying and saving are both bigger priorities for me).

Getting my kitchen down was one of the hardest. I was a total foodie for some years, and make almost everything from scratch, but minimalism is still doable.

Our (locked, in our yard) bikes were stolen last year. I was a mess. I can't imagine how I'd feel if literally EVERYTHING was.

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2017, 08:03:22 AM »
@Jeromedawg -
you are spot on with everything.  The hotel is nice as well as that little development, so I certainly "felt" safe when I parked there.  The hotel staff were very professional and helpful, so my hat's off to them.  I would definitely stay there again.  The Santa Ana PD and Tustin PD said there has been an increase in box truck theft and they think its a team of thieves who are looking for specific targets.  Your theory on being followed is also one the cops mentioned.  They are reviewing footage from a gas station I stopped at in Anaheim to see if they can spot the same guys caught on footage who stole the truck.  Both Police departments were extremely helpful and sympathetic to my situation.  Hopefully they find these punks!

Also, your comment on the recent theft in Irvine is exactly what we were talking about at dinner last night!  My friends live in the neighborhood off Sandy Canyon and they were concerned with the increase of crime as well.  It's sad really. All of the OC was once such a clean, safe, wonderful place.  It still is in many regards, but just disappointing...

As for my employer - they have been awesome!  They are not only paying for my move, but they brought over plates, silverware, cups, TP, paper towels, and the list goes on.  Really sweet folks over there.  The managers even kicked in with a stack of AMEX gift cards which came in handy for all of the household sundries.  It's crazy what all of the little things can add up to!

I'll hit you up on PM for some places to shop.  Looking for some bargain places for sure. :) - and thank you!

@jooniFLORisploo -
I'm the same way.  Love to make everything from scratch and freeze/store the extras for eating later. I am resisting the urge to re-purchase all of my old kitchen equipment.  Some of it is a little redundant (how many spatulas do you really need?) so I am being very particular this time and trying  to buy more efficiently. 
As for living with others - I don't mind it as much, but the selection process just gets a little harder with age I guess.  Perhaps after settling in and my lease is up, I'll explore some possibilities. 
Congrats on downsizing and the minimalist route - never easy, but soooo refreshing without all that "stuff" right?
As for bikes - I have a garage, but I still plan on locking it up heavily inside the garage.  Maybe even just parking it inside my apt.

Thanks again for all of the advice!

ElleFiji

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 08:10:03 AM »
I would enjoy the happy minimalist space. And I would buy a plant. It's helpful having a little plant friend in a big wide space.

jeromedawg

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 11:38:25 AM »
@Jeromedawg -
you are spot on with everything.  The hotel is nice as well as that little development, so I certainly "felt" safe when I parked there.  The hotel staff were very professional and helpful, so my hat's off to them.  I would definitely stay there again.  The Santa Ana PD and Tustin PD said there has been an increase in box truck theft and they think its a team of thieves who are looking for specific targets.  Your theory on being followed is also one the cops mentioned.  They are reviewing footage from a gas station I stopped at in Anaheim to see if they can spot the same guys caught on footage who stole the truck.  Both Police departments were extremely helpful and sympathetic to my situation.  Hopefully they find these punks!

Also, your comment on the recent theft in Irvine is exactly what we were talking about at dinner last night!  My friends live in the neighborhood off Sandy Canyon and they were concerned with the increase of crime as well.  It's sad really. All of the OC was once such a clean, safe, wonderful place.  It still is in many regards, but just disappointing...

As for my employer - they have been awesome!  They are not only paying for my move, but they brought over plates, silverware, cups, TP, paper towels, and the list goes on.  Really sweet folks over there.  The managers even kicked in with a stack of AMEX gift cards which came in handy for all of the household sundries.  It's crazy what all of the little things can add up to!

I'll hit you up on PM for some places to shop.  Looking for some bargain places for sure. :) - and thank you!

@jooniFLORisploo -
I'm the same way.  Love to make everything from scratch and freeze/store the extras for eating later. I am resisting the urge to re-purchase all of my old kitchen equipment.  Some of it is a little redundant (how many spatulas do you really need?) so I am being very particular this time and trying  to buy more efficiently. 
As for living with others - I don't mind it as much, but the selection process just gets a little harder with age I guess.  Perhaps after settling in and my lease is up, I'll explore some possibilities. 
Congrats on downsizing and the minimalist route - never easy, but soooo refreshing without all that "stuff" right?
As for bikes - I have a garage, but I still plan on locking it up heavily inside the garage.  Maybe even just parking it inside my apt.

Thanks again for all of the advice!

Yea, we left our car there while at Disneyland the entire day. No issues. Sounds like this crew is all over the place - you'd think the PD would setup an operation to nab them.

The new communities between Sand Canyon and Jeffrey, northeast of the 5 are huge targets for theft just because of the proximity and location in relation to the 5. Super-easy access for thieves to steal mail, packages and burglarize cars (and businesses) where fwy access is under 10 minutes away. Cypress Village and Woodbury have been prime targets as of late. They've caught 2-3 crews of thieves so far in the past half year probably. A lot of people around here have started installing video surveillance, Ring doorbells, Nest cameras, Arlos, etc as a result. And even then, these thieves are still brazen enough to walk off peoples' porches with packages. I actually had a package stolen off my porch while on a cruise. This led me to get a Ring Doorbell and some cameras (this might be facepunch-worthy but I'm also somewhat of a tech geek and the device is just cool to use to screen solicitors that come to the door, especially if you're out of the house).

That's awful nice of your new employer :) Google? Hahahaha yep feel free to hit me up whenever. I actually do most of my shopping online with the exception of groceries but if you need help navigating the area or wanting to know about supermarkets, restaurants, stores, etc, I can try to offer some help/pointers.

As far as bikes are concerned, I used to live on the 3rd floor of an apt complex in Irvine and would carry the bike up and store it in the apt for a period of time while I biked to work. It was a PITA after a while despite being a lighter-weight fitness hybrid. If you're on the first or second floor, it shouldn't be too bad. Just make sure to lay some cardboard down or get a bike stand or something if you're concerned about marking the floors or carpet (landlord might not like it and oops there goes the security deposit!)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 11:43:05 AM by jeromedawg »

MsPeacock

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 02:42:53 PM »
So sorry for your loss. Those moving trucks must be like treasure chests for thieves. I volunteer for a bike group and one of their trucks was broken into in a trip and many thousands of dollars of bikes were stolen. 

Anyhow... I like the idea of minimalism. I popped in to say that if the same happened to me I'd be looking for used things, at thrift stores, curbside, etc and not rush to purchase replacements of anything that wasn't absolutely essential.  (I regard a mattress as essential, as an example). I've found that when I can take the time to be patient things eventually come to me as i need them - a cool retro lamp or whatever. I hope that makes sense.

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2017, 04:50:46 PM »
For what you do decide to replace, I recommend the website Sweethome. http://thesweethome.com/ They have reviews of all different kinds of household items, from dishwashers on down to spatulas, and they are thoughtful about not always going for an expensive choice. I have really liked everything I have bought on their recommendation, and I find it far less stressful than trying to parse Amazon reviews...

bugbaby

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2017, 05:06:02 PM »
I'm sorry to hear of your loss...

That said, for someone of your age and extensive moving experience, I just don't see how this is even a baby crisis... I mean, you still have the job and the apartment, right?

I've also moved many many times including 2 international moves in the past 2.5 years basically starting from scratch. I've started over twice in the past 9 months with an empty apartment...each time between Wal-Mart, furniture store and Amazon, it's under $2k to get a comfortable place with more than I need. Or am I missing something?

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Cassie

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 05:44:00 PM »
This happened to some friends of mine but their homeowners policy covered it.  Still it majorly sucks especially pics, etc that are not replaceable. I would get things slowly so you don't over buy.

redbird

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
That sucks. If you weren't on the wrong side of the US, I'd donate some used but perfectly fine kitchen stuff to you (some only a few years old). I am upgrading a lot of it to fancy facepunch-ish worthy things. It isn't necessary, but I cook at home a LOT, so it's worth it to me.

I feel grateful that didn't happen to me during one of my moves. I also had a rented truck and had to stay in a hotel room overnight. The room was really gross and probably the worst hotel room I've ever been in, but nobody touched the truck fortunately.

Hopefully your renter's insurance will help you.

trix76

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2017, 08:40:43 PM »
When I had stuff stolen, in addition to submitting receipts as part of my renter's claim, I also submitted photos as proof of ownership. So I ended up printing out a bunch of photos that were on my phone, on Facebook, etc, and circling the items I was wearing/holding/riding that had been stolen. Then I submitted receipts to my renters insurance company for the replacement items I was buying. It was a ridiculous hassle but in the end I got a fair bit of money from my policy. So sorry this happened to you!


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Lady SA

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2017, 08:45:18 PM »
How awful! I'm sorry that happened to you. I admire your mindset about the whole thing!

Lets see, for me, I would also embrace minimalism but stay in the same apartment (or maybe look for a studio, sounds like you don't have any dependents following along?). I'd concentrate on acquiring very efficient tools/items that can serve multiple purposes for these areas:
1. sleeping
2. eating
3. working (doing work from home?)
4. transportation

I'm also inspired by backpacking and camping, so if you like the outdoors, I'd get things that could be used both at home and out in the wild! No need to buy two things for two locations when one will do fine for both :)

For sleeping, I've found that our old ikea futon is ridiculously comfortable (more comfortable than our bed!), so I might scour craigslist for a used one to use as both a couch and a bed. Get some good pillows and a nice sleeping bag. We use our sleeping bags when we visit friends and family, and a few times we've used them as normal blankets on our bed.

For eating, I'm really a fan of an efficient camping cook kit. This is the one we currently have and we love it and have used it a few times at home in a pinch: https://www.amazon.com/Esbit-12-Piece-Lightweight-Alcohol-Aluminum/dp/B00B49U0YC
This one has plates, two pots, a fry pan, a handle, a lid, a hot pad, and a "stove" all in one.
Plus a few "extravagant" kitchen things like cast iron pans, a good fry pan, and a dutch oven. Basic spices you use for everything (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, etc). Utensils. mixing bowl. One really nice chef's knife. A solid silicon spatula like this is good for almost everything: https://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Silicone-Non-stick-Resistant-Stainless/dp/B01DUI093G/ref=sr_1_21?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1495507360&sr=1-21&keywords=solid+silicone+spatula
Food storage containers for storing leftovers.

For working, I'd get a comfortable chair and make sure you have a laptop charger. Router, internet access, etc.

For transportation, I'd get a bike, and eventually probably a trailer to haul things that are too big to fit in a backpack.

Some other things off the top of my head: medical supplies (bandaids, pain meds, etc... lol probably would get one of those hiking first aid packs!), shoes (sandals, walking shoes, one nice pair), jacket(s), decorations. A tall table that could be used as both a standing desk and something to eat at.

I'd probably see if I could avoid getting a TV or other expensive entertainment, get netflix/hulu and watch on your laptop if you need to. But I'd try instead to use your time exploring your new area, and if in a few months you still want a TV, go for it. I'd adopt the same mindset to a few other "extravagant" purchases, up to you.

From there, I'd get things as I stumbled upon a need for them. I've got all sorts of junk hiding in my closets that have never seen the light of day, let alone been used (many were wedding gifts and hand-me-downs). If I had waited until I truly found a sustained NEED for, say, a breadmaker, before getting one, then I would never have one sitting on the top shelf in my closet gathering dust.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 08:55:56 PM by LadyLB »

brooklynmoney

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2017, 09:15:27 PM »
I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your stuff. I would definitely stalk Craigslist for furniture. Also when you get more stuff and FYI to others I used a website and app called Know Your Stuff to make an online inventory of my big items like furniture and uploaded receipts too so I can prove if anything is ever stolen what I owned and how much I paid.

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2017, 10:49:22 PM »
@EllieFiji - I like the plant idea.  I was considering a small herb garden to supplement my cooking needs. Thanks! 

@jeromedog - I live on the 1st floor, so I may park my bike in the apt.  I was just about to toss the cardboard from the Ikea tall table, but that would make a really nice bike pad to protect the carpet and walls.  Sweet!  ..and yes, the cops were discussing a "bait truck" to try to nab these guys.  They powered up my iMac, but the address was bouncing all over so we couldn't pinpoint them.  They must be using VPN and some other tech to cover their location.  So I sent the "erase" command.

@MsPeacock - yup, got a nice mattress, sleep is too important to me! Aki-Home had a sale, so I got lucky there. A lamp is my next treasure to find, my bedroom doesn't have an overhead light.  Scouring Craigslist now. :) Thanks!

@Noodle - that website is awesome! Thanks for the recommendation!

@babybug - the "crisis" is not the stuff, but the irreplaceable items like family pics, collectables.  But yeah, I get your point.

@cassie - yeah, tried homeowners, but no luck, so hoping I can strong arm the renter's insurance guys 

@redbird - I appreciate the thought.  I've already received some kitchen donations from folks in the area doing the same thing as you. :)  and yeah, I've parked moving trucks and trailers in so many places that should have been stolen, but weren't.  Just wrong place, wrong time I guess.

@trix76 - I hadn't thought of the pics to prove ownership.  I'll dig through FB and Dropbox to see what I have.  Thanks!

@LadyLB - I like the 4 categories. Keep it simple.  I must keep reminding myself of that. I needed a screwdriver to build my 2 pieces of furniture, so I bought a "multi-tool" that has multiple interchangeable heads.  Hopefully that works for a while without having to buy a full set of tools all over again.  My tall table is also my desk and I'm loving it.  Thanks!

@brooklynmoney - I like that app idea!  Of course its much easier when you start from the beginning which is definitely what I'm doing now.  So much documentation, so having an app surely helps! My renter's insurance sent me a cool spreadsheet template that has been really handy as well. 

Thanks again everyone!  I'm slowly losing the anger and frustration and turning it into a game of "how minimalist can I go?"

Laura33

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2017, 07:18:21 AM »
Wow, that sucks.

You seem to have it remarkably under control, and others have covered most of the basic suggestions.  I'd focus on a couple of extras that you need to make the new place feel more like home, more relaxing while you're there -- sort of like the plant idea above.  How about some Bluetooth speakers so you can relax at home with some music?  Or a poster/print/piece of art/piece of pottery/etc. that you love and can put somewhere prominent so you can look at it while working/relaxing?  Maybe you can ask your friends/family members to send you reprints of some of their favorite photos, either to hang on the wall or to put in an album?

And as a far more practical matter, I am a huge fan of what Ikea is now calling Kallax -- a whole wall of cubbies, with various box/door options, that gives all of your miscellaneous little annoying stuff someplace to go that is out of sight; I also leave some of the cubes open for books or display. 

Vindicated

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2017, 08:04:28 AM »
I'm not sure if it would work or not, but you could go through old credit card statements to prove purchases.  They probably go back a few years.  The insurance may except that in lieu of a receipt.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2017, 09:05:01 AM »
Woulda, coulda, shoulda; no need to rehash the past. Only bit of advice
I can give you is that with almost nothing you are still better off than the vast amount of folks with substantial negative net worth. No choice but to embrace the minimalism moving forward.

BTW, I know that Fairfield by the 55; I stayed there once. You have to realize that the 55 separates Irvine and Tustin from Santa Ana; the latter, in my opinion, to be avoided at all costs. A lot of street crime, gangs, etc. Sure, you run the risk of theft anywhere, but a fat (uninsured) moving truck in a hotel parking lot on the edge of Santa Ana is really just asking for trouble.

Sorry to hear your troubles, with determination youll be just fine. The BEACH is FREE!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2017, 09:12:02 AM »
After our bikes were stolen, a forum member pointed out that purchases made on my credit card the previous 90 (?) days were covered by the card company. Anything you had bought recently? (Our newer bike was just a touch outside the 90 day period.)

jeromedawg

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2017, 11:13:47 AM »
Woulda, coulda, shoulda; no need to rehash the past. Only bit of advice
I can give you is that with almost nothing you are still better off than the vast amount of folks with substantial negative net worth. No choice but to embrace the minimalism moving forward.

BTW, I know that Fairfield by the 55; I stayed there once. You have to realize that the 55 separates Irvine and Tustin from Santa Ana; the latter, in my opinion, to be avoided at all costs. A lot of street crime, gangs, etc. Sure, you run the risk of theft anywhere, but a fat (uninsured) moving truck in a hotel parking lot on the edge of Santa Ana is really just asking for trouble.

Sorry to hear your troubles, with determination youll be just fine. The BEACH is FREE!

Yea, I forgot about it bordering Santa Ana as well, which many parts (but not all) are sketchy. The area around the 55 can be sketchy in parts - generally that particular area isn't *as* bad as other parts of Santa Ana though. You have to realize that Santa Ana, as with most cities anywhere, has good pockets and bad pockets. Santa Ana near Tustin Heights is actually pretty nice. And the area of Santa Ana around 4th street, or DTSA (Downtown Santa Ana) has benefitted from recent gentrification and development efforts to revive many of the commercial properties. Because of the commercial property improvements, it seems like the residential zones surrounding the immediate area have also slightly improved. Not that I'm promoting that anyone should go live in central Santa Ana or anything ;)

In any case, I don't think it would matter too much where OP was parked with his truck if a gang of pros were casing him out - they would have figured out how to steal from him (where there's a will there's a way). The only way to circumvent this might have been to get the truck inside a gated complex or garage but that seemed like an unlikely possibility.

The beach is free with the exception of metered parking and pay-for lots :( But street parking can be found with persistence. Also, as of late, going into the water may cost you an arm and a leg, literally. The great whites have been cruising our waters, so be careful out there! I haven't been to the beach in a long time since having kids in the past couple years. I need to hit the water and get a line wet (love surf fishing)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 11:18:43 AM by jeromedawg »

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2017, 11:26:29 PM »
Quote
I haven't been to the beach in a long time since having kids in the past couple years. I need to hit the water and get a line wet (love surf fishing)
Yes!  I've been wanting to fish since I got here.  I only got in a few weekends in CO when the weather was good before I had to leave for CA.  I want to check out some pier fishing too.  (which reminds me, I need to add my fishing gear to that insurance list)

Quote
After our bikes were stolen, a forum member pointed out that purchases made on my credit card the previous 90 (?) days were covered by the card company. Anything you had bought recently? (Our newer bike was just a touch outside the 90 day period.)
Good point.  I've been digging through credit card statements in hopes of claiming some of that.  One less thing to fight the insurance companies for.  Thanks!

Quote
And as a far more practical matter, I am a huge fan of what Ikea is now calling Kallax -- a whole wall of cubbies, with various box/door options, that gives all of your miscellaneous little annoying stuff someplace to go that is out of sight; I also leave some of the cubes open for books or display.
Yup! I love Kallax.  Very versatile, sturdy and cheap! Also, for the pics of family, I've already put in a request with my family that this would be a great holiday/birthday gift.  :)

Thanks again everyone!

jeromedawg

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2017, 10:24:58 AM »
Quote
I haven't been to the beach in a long time since having kids in the past couple years. I need to hit the water and get a line wet (love surf fishing)
Yes!  I've been wanting to fish since I got here.  I only got in a few weekends in CO when the weather was good before I had to leave for CA.  I want to check out some pier fishing too.  (which reminds me, I need to add my fishing gear to that insurance list)

Sweet, what kind of fishing are you into or what kind of gear do you have? Fly? Spinning? Pier fishing around here can be fun, and does not require a license, so it's a good way to get a line wet without paying. I've been into fly fishing as of late so I'll go to the park to practice casting, since that doesn't require a license. Fly fishing the surf is a blast even though it can be pretty rough and chaotic (in addition to making sure you don't hook someone on the backcast hahaha). These days I'll just buy a day license when I go because I don't go enough to justify buying an annual. Of course, after I go once, I end up going like 2-3 more times and kick myself for not just buying the annual license (It's just over $50 now w/ the "Ocean enhancement" stamp where a single day costs $15~).

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2017, 09:10:15 PM »
Quote
Sweet, what kind of fishing are you into or what kind of gear do you have?

Well, I had some gear, but I guess I need to buy new gear now.  I was into lake and stream fishing in CO. Mostly lightweight to medium weight rods.  Nothing too fancy.  I had accumulated a decent bait/lure collection in my tackle box, so I'll need to re-purchase that as well. 
I've been wanting to fly fish, so maybe this is a good excuse.  I just enjoy the relaxing aspect of it and also "fooling" fish.  And like you said, the cost is minimal after you buy some basic gear.  I'd like to get a long rod for pier fishing and maybe a fly rod to learn with before hitting up a lake or stream for my first time. 
I'll have to try surf fishing too.  Thanks for the license info, I was wondering about that.  I checked out the website, but haven't pulled the trigger on a license for the same reasons you stated.  Unless I start going some more. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Starting at ZERO, literally just a suitcase, what would you do?
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2017, 10:42:12 PM »
Quote
Sweet, what kind of fishing are you into or what kind of gear do you have?

Well, I had some gear, but I guess I need to buy new gear now.  I was into lake and stream fishing in CO. Mostly lightweight to medium weight rods.  Nothing too fancy.  I had accumulated a decent bait/lure collection in my tackle box, so I'll need to re-purchase that as well. 
I've been wanting to fly fish, so maybe this is a good excuse.  I just enjoy the relaxing aspect of it and also "fooling" fish.  And like you said, the cost is minimal after you buy some basic gear.  I'd like to get a long rod for pier fishing and maybe a fly rod to learn with before hitting up a lake or stream for my first time. 
I'll have to try surf fishing too.  Thanks for the license info, I was wondering about that.  I checked out the website, but haven't pulled the trigger on a license for the same reasons you stated.  Unless I start going some more.

Very nice - I would love to head out there to fly fish some of the streams. Fly fishing is awesome for those purposes. There's a lot more components that have to come together that require concentration and skill: learning to cast properly and accurately is probably the biggest part of it. I love just going to the park and casting because it's sort of a 'mindless' form exercise where you can really clear your mind and relieve some stress. Even better on a decent flowing stream. After fishing for rockfish, yellowtail, etc there's a point where fighting the fish/pumping just gets tiring - it's exhilarating at first but then it gets old fast. With fly fishing/casting you're constantly on the move and more active with positioning the fly and trying to trick fish; arguably more so than with jigs and lures. In any case, maybe we can hook-up one of these days and hit the surf or something. I've been wanting to head towards the mountains though as of late.