Aug 282009

Slowly, ever so slowly, our old bus conversion is getting emptied out, and the Winnebago is starting to fill up. It is amazing how much stuff we are finding that we did not even remember we still had! A lot of it is finding its way to the dumpster, or into the van to be dropped off at Goodwill.

Miss Terry has been doing most of the work of sorting and moving, mostly because she has a place for everything and wants everything in its place, and according to local rumor, I may be more of a stash it anywhere and we’ll look for it later kind of guy. I suspect that may account for a lot of the stuff we didn’t know we still had.

I keep pulling things out of closets, drawers, and cubbyholes and wondering why I have it. I finally gave up on the idea of ever being thin again, or even pleasantly plump, so there are some jeans and shirts that were part of that fantasy that will definitely go away.

But how about some of this other stuff? Why do we even still have it? A holster for a handgun I sold ten years ago. A music stand from my ill fated attempt to become a saxophone player. Some VCR tapes of movies we never got around to watching. We have not had a VCR in forever. An antique marble rolling pin. (I want that gone before Miss Terry whacks me over the head with it!) I have a feeling that whoever buys our bus, once we’re moved, out may get a lot better fuel mileage than we ever did!

Some of this is kind of bittersweet. In our old life, when space was not a problem, Miss Terry collected hand carved Native American fetishes, which are small stone or bone images of animals that have significance in the Indian culture. She gave most of them away when we hit the road, but she came across some of her favorites that she kept, which have been packed away for years now. Maybe she’ll find a place to display them in our new motorhome. She also came across some beautiful handmade Native American jewelry she has not worn in years, but that still has a lot of sentimental value to her.

For many people making the transition to the fulltime RV lifestyle, getting rid of their stuff can be quite challenging. However, once the trauma of seeing their first two or three treasures going away to a new home is over, most have found it to be a liberating experience. We soon come to the realization that we sometimes get to the point where we don’t own our stuff anymore, it owns us.

And just like we did way back when we first started our own fulltiming adventure, we are getting rid of even more stuff, and just like this old bus, soon we will be carrying a lighter load.

Thought For The Day – Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “Sorting The Wheat From The Chaff”

  1. Nick,

    I worked part-time for 4 years in a self storage facility. I can tell you from personal experience that you are not alone. Many, many people spend thousands of dollars each year storing stuff that they don’t need, don’t use and often donate it when they finally decide to move out.

    Cookie Queen and I can personally attest to your comment about stuff owning us and it was very liberating to discover just how much stuff we could do without.

  2. We sometimes get to the point where we don’t own our stuff anymore, it owns us.
    We sometimes get to the point where we don’t own our stuff anymore, it owns us.
    We sometimes get to the point where we don’t own our stuff anymore, it owns us.

    I thought that if I said that three times real fast it wouldn’t be true anymore…. Guess it didn’t work…

    It sounds like you’re getting the hardest part done, good for you guys.

  3. Last night I posed this question in yesterday’s comments, but I suspect everybody has moved on. So Nick, you’ve always said that you could haul a “ton” of stuff in your bus conversion. While moving most of it to your new home, do you find yourself running into GVWR issues with the Winnebago?

  4. It sounds like maybe Bad Nick gets a lot of that stuff and then puts it in unlrelated places just to gently hide it from you and Terry. He probably knows exactly where it is and maybe even gets it out to play with it sometimes when you guys are not paying attention.

    Who knows, maybe he got another gun (or is planning to get one) that fits that holster and you just don’t know about it.

    Personal experience:
    We still have the advantage of living in DakotR in the back yard. All of our “stuff” is still in the basement of the house. Every few months, I take a 90 gallon city trash can and drag it into the basement, empty. The goal is to fill it before the next trash pickup on Tuesday. The “left-overs” that I gleened out of the boxes, drawers and other “high density” hideouts, are left sitting out to be sorted and restored in new places. This adds an urgency factor to dealing with them because whatever flat spaces they now occupy are probably places that I will need to be able to use in a few weeks or months. Places like the table saw bed, workbench, flip top tool box, slack space on the hand tools storage shelves.

    That last one is a really good technique because as tools are discovered in various random boxes, bags, buckets, etc. They have to be put on those shelves sooner or later so the boxes, bags, ect. can be pitched into the 90 gallon “liberator!”. When that happens there will rarely be anything that is as important as the tool.. Any tool, used or unused for decades will still trump 4 Aces of any other sort of content.

    I will admit that this cannot be done in a few weeks. Some lagging content will be able to hold out longer in this competition than John Ratzenberger on Dancing with the Stars. The key is the presence of the 90 gallon mawr that must be fed to full by Tuesday. That insures that every week the liberator is brought into the basement, 90 gallons of volume is released to the natural environment and eventually, you will see the difference.

    There is just one rule, If its in the basement I must not be there past monday evening and it must never be put on the curb less than full. Its amazing how well this works for us that are organizationally challenged and sometimes can’t seem to make a simple decision between STAY, GO, DONATE. I have found that by the time things have survived the liberator a few times (or many) and have not had their destinies firmly decided, the sheer trouble of having to face them again wears down their staying power and their ability to cling to the edge of my indecision, weakens and starts to slip.

    By the time I reach the “Oh crap! I have to handle this again!” point,… it has become translated into crap and that is a no-brainer.

    I promise that it only takes a few weeks of gritting your teeth when facing the unfilled Liberator 90 gallon container before that becomes a passion more powerful than all the collected “I am sure I can/will/might use that item someday”.

    And above all, don’t let the ebb-tide side of this catch you by surprise. It is guaranteed that with a week or even a few days after the tuesday an item left with the liberator, you will see an immediate need for it. That is the way of nature…. ignore it and just ask yourself if you would have recognized this need if you had not just handled that item for the first time in 14 years? The answer must always be NO! because if you had even thought of it you would not have had a clue where it was and would not have been willing to spent the hours of lost time it would have taken to discover that it was not in any of the places that you could have thought of to look in for it.

    For those items that are still potentially too useful, valuable or warm and fuzzy to give to the liberator, you can store them on eBay or Craigslist until you need them (never).

  5. Rick,
    The Winnebago has a large GVWR and we can carry quite a bit, but we definitely do have to do some trimming, which is a good thing.

  6. Amen, and Amen! Keep up the good work!

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