Friday, March 26, 2010

We're In Cabazon and A World of Stuff

We got through the heavy Friday afternoon traffic and arrived at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California a little after 5 pm.  Things went fairly well until we turned onto the 210 Freeway heading towards Pasadena.  Well, it was Friday afternoon.  Bruce did the usual stop and go driving until we got way past Pasadena...San Dimas...Rancho Cucamonga to connect with I-10 heading east. 

In the beginning the air was clear and crisp and the traffic looked like this:

By the time we got well into the Pasadena area, the haze and smog was showing itself and the traffic looked like this:
We got settled into a spot in the RV parking lot at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, north of Palm Springs.  Within minutes there were 3 other RV's making their way to a spot of their own.  It'll do for one night.

I was reading in the paper the other day that a woman named Annie Leonard has written a book about stuff.  The exact title is The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession With Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities and Our Health--And A Vision For Change.  Wow, long title.  Fellow Blogger, Kim, made mention of the "Stuff topic" today.  Click here to read Kim's post.

I've always been interesting in the subject of "stuff" myself.  One of the great parts about the fulltime RV life is that you really cannot keep a lot of stuff around.  Bruce and I have never been very sentimental about accumulating much stuff and then keeping it for generations.  We moved to a few different homes over the years, and that was always a time to purge ourselves of extra stuff.

I did have a couple of collections of stuff, but I got rid of them, too.  They weren't important in the big scheme of things.  In 2008 when we decided to become fulltime RVer's we got rid of almost everything that we didn't want to take in the motorhome with us.  There were a couple of family heirlooms that I did keep and packed away securely in our daughter's garage.  I kept about 10 scrapbook photo albums I'd made with family photos.  Everything else....and I mean everything else.... went to a garage sale, Goodwill or we gave it away. 

We did not want to pay rent on a storage facility of any kind.  We did not want the extra expense of it, but also, what would we put into it?  We didn't own expensive art work, furniture, glassware, dishes or things like that, nor did we want to.  It didn't make sense to pay money to store a bunch of ordinary things for who knows how many years.  Here's an example:  We met a couple last summer down in Wachula, Florida.  They were fulltimer's going on 8 years.  They also had originally been from Washington state and when they moved into their RV they put a bunch of things into a storage facility.  The man told us that they had this storage place for 7 years and they hadn't even been back to Washington in over 5 years.    He said, "I guess we really should go back up there and get the stuff out and get rid of it."  Ya think?  My guess is if they haven't even looked at the "stuff" in over 5 years they probably don't really want it anymore.  But they keep paying that monthly storage bill. 

As a society, I think we are a little obsessed with stuff.  I know people that can't get through a week without doing some heavy duty shopping.  Relatives...but I'm not giving out any names!  How much does any of us really need?  In our RV we keep our winter and our summer clothing.  I just change out the heavy coats for the light weight jackets when the weather dictates.  We keep a bin in the basement just for this purpose.  For clothing Bruce keeps 3 pair of jeans, about 6 pair of shorts, 10 knit shirts, 2 pair of dress slacks plus a suit, 1 dress shirt, and 2 nicer knit shirts for church.  He also has a couple of flannel shirts, a swim suit, 1 pr. of sweats for cold winter walks, 3 hats, socks and undergarments (of course!), and 4 pair of shoes.
I keep a little bit more (of course...I'm a woman!) -- 10 total pair of jeans or slacks (including dress slacks for church), 1 suit, 1 skirt, 2 nice blouses, 6 pair of shorts, about 10 sweaters or sweat shirts, 3 nicer sweaters for church, 8 long sleeved t-shirts or turtle neck shirts, 10 short sleeved t-shirts or knit tops,  a swim suit, warm clothes for cold winter walks, 3 sun visors, socks and undergarments (of course!), and 8 pair of shoes. 

We don't buy too many other things either.  We only have 1 cell phone, 1 computer with a printer, 1 camera and some scrapbooking supplies, including my Cricut machine.  We keep about 50 paperback books on hand and trade them or leave them at RV parks along the way.  We don't have lots of pictures hanging in the RV and we have no knick-knacks.  They'd just fall when we drove anyway.  I know we have a lot more stuff, but it is all for everyday living and we use that stuff everyday!

I guess we are very low-key kind of folks that don't need a lot of stuff.  We still seem to fill up the hours in the day with some type of activity even without a lot of excess stuff.  I guess it makes sense for our way of life as fulltimer's.  Not having a lot of stuff to worry about gives us a real feeling of freedom.  There's nothing left behind to worry about....except the kids....I always worry about them!

Until next long for now!    


Dinah Soar said...

Stuff really weighs a person down. It feels great to get rid of stuff. Ever heard of The Fly Lady? She had a 27 Boogie Fling--or some number in the 20's...can't recall exactly. She says everyday find 27 things to toss...a piece of paper counts as one's much easier than you might think. And it feels good. The trick is not to bring in more stuff to fill up the new empty space.

Another good tip I read said to put the stuff you aren't using but are afraid of tossing into boxes, label them 2-3 years out...and when that date rolls around get rid of the boxes with that date without opening them. If you don't know what's in them, you don't need it..and if you haven't needed it in 2-3 years you can easily live without it. Good idea I think.

Margie M. said...

Dinah Soar...I like the idea of the boxes with the dates. What a great idea. I even tossed out a few more things here in the RV recently. Things in the kitchen that I hadn't used since we moved in fulltime. If I hadn't used it in 18 months, I wasn't going to need it at all...out it went!

thanks for the comment

Cyndi said...

(This is me, waving as you went by!) You are parked about 20 miles due south of me. My daughter works there at Morongo Casino - I would have you go in and meet her but she's now off for 2 days. Cool post about the "stuff," especially since we're currently focused on getting rid of a lot of ours!

kim said...

thanks Margie! That is the book - she was on our national morning tv show - Canada AM last week talking about her new book. thanks also for the attach to our blog - BTW I am down 33 lbs now!

Margie M. said...

Hi to Cyndi...I'm waving at you now! LOL

Hi to Kim...great job with the 33 lbs. Yahoo!

Wild Blue Yonder said...

I had a friend many years ago that was the victim of an arson in her home. The house was a complete loss, along with everything in it. She actually felt empowered rather than sad. She was a little depressed over losing the photos, but her family helped with making new albums from copies of theirs so it wasn't something she could not recover.
She bought less "stuff" when the insurance cheque arrived, and hasn't accumulated much after that.
I think she just felt too good about not having all that weight, just in case there was another fire, at least she didn't have so much "stuff".

Good post!!

Nice to see you are on the road, are you both feeling better now?

Rick and Paulette said...

I better not read that book or my whole life could be turned upside down! Having our own home, and being part time RV'ers, we're probably the kind of folks the author is talking about - stuff collectors! We have, and continue to collect, lots of that evil "stuff". Oh well, we don't have any plans to ever fulltime so, luckily, we don't really need to worry about it right now!!

Vera said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I just ordered it at our library. I am no. 21 on the list. Thanks for mentioning it.

sue and doug said...

some people are nothing without their 'stuff'..not us ..the less 'stuff' the better..purge and purge some more is our motto!! the way ..ever watch the show hoarders?..those people could never live in an RV!!

Jerry and Suzy said...

We got rid of most of our stuff when we went full-time, did store some stuff under our daughter's house, till she got divorced and moved it all into storage. After helping her pay storage costs for about 6 months, we had to go and pick up our stuff. By then we already had our casita here in Benson. Since that time, our STUFF has reproduced in that casita, and now we have added our park trailer, and STUFF is getting out of hand. What goes around comes around!

sue and doug said...

speaking of stuff your toad an explorer or an escape??.is it four wheel drive or all wheel drive..?..what did you have done to it to make it "toad ready?"..brake buddy?..transmission cooler?..we were told by our ford salesman that they cannot be towed??..

Margie M. said...

Sue and Doug: Look at the post for today (Saturday) and I'll give a link to our toad story.

Thanks for the comments.

Maureen said...

Hi Margie,
I am a potential fulltime RVer. I just discovered your blog a week ago and really enjoy reading your thoughts on this lifestyle, as well as gathering information from you for my own future.
This Articel on "Stuff" is great. I keep trying to envision how much I will be taking and what to get rid of, and I must say what I have thought about pretty much matches your supply list..I even hope to be able to take my five or six photo/scrape albums. This list is very helpful and I will revisit it when we get closer to our retirement date ...several years to go yet! We are looking to purchase this year a 23' Travel Trailer. We have lived for several months in this size TT before and were quite comfortable, and it will be easily pulled by our Truck.
Again, I want to thank you for sharing and for all your helpful information.
p.s. Especially loved the end "There's nothing left behind to worry about...except the kids...I always worry about them!"