May 112012

I get a lot of e-mails from new RVers and wannabe fulltimers asking all kinds of questions, from what kind of RV to buy, to whether or not to buy a campground membership, to dealing with family members who are not happy with their decision to hit the road. I always try to answer to the best of my ability, based upon our own experiences and those of fulltimers we know well.

One thing that comes up over and over again is couples debating what to take and what to leave behind. It seems like a lot of guys feel they must take an entire machine shop with them when they leave home. I’ve heard from fellows who want to carry a fully loaded toolbox, plumbers’ tools, a bench grinder, a chainsaw, and even a Rototiller. Now it’s well known that I have no business using tools, especially power tools, but who the hell needs a chainsaw or a Rototiller on the road?

And, of course, a lot of women (and some men, too) want to take all kinds of kitchen gadgets with them. The two most popular items seem to be bread making machines and KitchenAid mixers. We know a lot of folks who carry both with them, and Miss Terry has a commercial size KitchenAid she would never let go of.

What somebody chooses to take with them or leave behind is a personal decision, but one thing I do know is that you can’t take it all. There’s just not enough room! I don’t care if you’ve got the longest, widest, mega-coach on the road, with umpteen slides and three acres worth of storage in the bays down below, sooner later you have to just accept the fact that there is a limit to what you can carry.

But that doesn’t mean that a lot of people still don’t try! We met somebody once who must have had five years worth of old RV magazines, huge plastic bins full of nuts and bolts and screws, and even a couple of post hole diggers. He just couldn’t seem to part with anything. He was a hoarder before they had reality TV shows about it.

Most of us start out with a lot more than we will ever use or need, and over time we whittle away at it and reduce our load. Every year so Miss Terry and I go through our bays and unload a lot of stuff. The common belief is that if you haven’t used something in a year, you don’t need it. But somehow or other, it doesn’t take long before more stuff starts creeping in to fill the space you just made. It’s true, nature abhors a vacuum.

For Terry and I, books are one of our weaknesses. Even in this age of e-books and e-book readers, we still buy printed books. Now that we both have Kindles, we don’t buy a lot of printed fiction anymore, but Terry is always looking for new cookbooks and recipe ideas for her Miss Terry’s Kitchen column in the Gypsy Journal, and I buy a lot of reference books about places where we are traveling to help me research and find things to write about. I also have a lot of books related to things like forensics, police investigative procedures, body trauma, character and personality traits, and other things that I refer to a lot when writing my mystery books.

You have to set your own priorities. If tools are important to you and you use them a lot, it makes sense to carry that fully stocked toolbox. If you love cooking and baking, why not take along that bread making machine or KitchenAid mixer? Just because you’re now traveling doesn’t mean that you stop being you, or stop enjoying the things that you did in your sticks and bricks house.

Just understand that you may have to make some sacrifices to make everything fit and stay within your RV’s safe weight limits. And leave the damn chainsaw and Rototiller behind!

Thought For The Day – To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.

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Nick Russell

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  8 Responses to “You Can’t Take It All”

  1. Nick, We boondocked through out Florida last winter, mostly in WMA areas. It was sure nice for one of us to have a chain saw along. The evening campfire was the activity center.


  2. You mean I cant take my vintage RV museum collection????

  3. We ran into some folks in Yucca Valley a couple of weeks ago, they are taking time off to do a year on the road to see how they like it. The husband told me that his wife insisted on bringing 52 pairs of shoes…..:>)

  4. Chain saw? Actually not a bad idea as mentioned by Gene T. We carried a reciprocating saw (Saws All) and used it to procure firewood from time to time.

  5. We winter in a 34 ft. gas MH without a great deal of storage space. However, we make room for some jumps, tunnels and weave poles so I can practice agility with my pups wherever there is an appropriate space. This means other stuff gets left behind, but priorities are priorities, right?

  6. Thanks for the reminder that we have to go thru our bins again when we get home for the winter, like first time full timers, of 8 yrs we still think we need something and just can not get along with out it,most if the stuff yes stuff we are still finding in spots we forgot about and cannot remember what they are or what they are used for. We will either store them but more than likely they will go to the stuff table in the clubhouse for someone to adopt or give them to the Airman’s Attic for the AF base in San Antonio; got a good laugh about the rototiller. Be safe and do not work to hard. When is the new book coming out? We are both looking forward to it.

  7. My currently favorite cookbook is available as an eBook. Terry might want to check it out.

  8. we just downsided from 40 to 30 feet ten feet less storage less clothes, shoes, junk do with less stuff that’s what it is about

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