After reading an article in the USA Today newspaper this morning about downsizing all of one's stuff....I got to thinking about the whole thing from the perspective of a fulltime RVer. The article was mainly geared toward the average family that has downsized some of their belongings due to the poor economy and how folks are realizing that they can live nicely without buying a lot of new stuff all the time. There was mention of a man with a website on how to pare down your belongings to only 100 items. That may be a hard thing for some to tackle. I didn't keep the newspaper, so I can't quote anything from it. We recycled it at the McDonald's we were sitting in so that somebody else could read it.
Being a fulltime RVer is helpful in learning to live with less. However, we met a couple down in Wauchula, Florida in May and they were fellow fulltimers. After talking with them at length, they shared the fact that they maintained a storage unit back in their home state...although they hadn't even gone to it in over 7 years. They couldn't decide what to do with all of their "stuff" when they began the new lifestyle, so they put it into storage. Doing the math and figuring they may pay about $50.00 per month (if lucky) for the storage unit, that comes to a grand total of $4,200 for those 7 years. Yikes! If they should ever quit fulltiming, that $4,200 could buy a whole bunch of new stuff. Besides, what good is all of this stuff doing anybody locked up in a storage unit?
When we chose to begin fulltiming we gave a lot of stuff away, sold stuff at yard sales, gave stuff to charity, and threw stuff into the trash as well. I had some family heirlooms to think about. Except for my photo albums, I'm not very sentimental about things and I shipped the family heirlooms to my cousin here in Salem, Virginia. I knew she would enjoy and appreciate having them. Our kids are like us, and didn't want them either. I had a beautiful set of Noritake china from our wedding shower back in the dark ages. It was still perfect and nothing was chipped or broken. I had it out at 2 yard sales and no takers. At our 3rd yard sale I thought I'd give it one more try. A young newlywed woman drove up and was looking at things. She saw the china which had a price tag on it of $75.00, for the whole service for 12. She was interested but didn't want to spend that much money. I sold it to her for $35.00. She was so excited and I was happy it went to a home where somebody wanted it.
To some people their things are so precious to them because they've lived with them for many, many years. I had to think about what I wanted most....a free to roam lifestyle, or a fixed home with all of our stuff. No question for us!
Living in a 40 foot motorhome does allow us to still have a lot of "stuff". This photo below shows 1/2 of my bedroom closet. We added a wire shelf at the top to hold lightweight items and I have a file box (acid free cardboard) on the closet floor to hold my scrapbooking papers. The other side of the closet holds a long, hanging shoe bag, jackets, clothes hamper and a full sized ironing board. Bruce has his own large closet in the hallway. We maintain the philosophy that if we buy some new article of clothing....something else has to go! We have plenty of clothes to wear and we wash laundry a couple of times a week, so it is easy to keep less in the closet.
Bruce and I both enjoy reading, so bringing books was important. Here in an upper cabinet over the driver seat are some of our paperbacks. They are double-stacked and they are 2 deep also. We also brought along many hardcover books that we have been reading first before getting to the paperbacks. They were ones we had in our fixed home but hadn't read yet. As we read them now, we recycle them at the RV parks we stay at. Most of them have park libraries or book-trading shelves and we always leave something behind. Eventually, all the hardcover books will be gone.
Since we have a diesel motorhome, the storage space in the basement is plentiful. On the driver side Bruce keeps his ladder, some tools, chemicals for holding tanks, RV cleaning supplies and things like that. On the curbside of the motorhome, we keep folding chairs and table, extra non-perishable food items, paper goods, extra dog food, 2 large bins with scrapbooking supplies, 1 bin with heavy winter clothing and the electric blanket for cold weather, hose and attachments for central vacuum system, and toy box for the grandkids.
We do not carry an outdoor grill. We are probably the only RVer's in the world that don't have a grill. Our motorhome is also not equipped with an outdoor television. We have the radio/CD player, but no TV. We were glad it wasn't there, as we would not have wanted to take up the cabinet space to house a television since we already have 2 indoors.
Every RVer, fulltime or part-time, has their own priorities. What we find important, others will not and vice-versa. No matter the size of your rig from pop-up camper to a new 45-foot luxury motorhome, there is still a limited amount of cargo capacity and you must learn to live with it!
Until next time.....so long for now!