Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sparky, Do You REALLY Need All This Stuff?

We've been on the road full time now for nine and a half months. Keep in mind that neither one of us has a house now, but we do have a storage unit back in Indiana. When we packed the motor home with everything we possibly could think of that needed to go in a home, albeit a very small one, I packed clothing with the idea that my entire wardrobe needed to go with me. I needed:

Dress up clothes--you never know when we might go to a fancy place to eat, out to the THEE-AH-TUH (theater), plenty of different kinds of shoes, (a woman can never have too many shoes you know), all my earrings and junk jewelry, lots of different types of jackets, sweat jackets and sweatshirts for all the different kinds of climates we might encounter (which we have), a couple different pairs of hiking boots--tall and short (haven't used those yet despite all the hiking on strenuous trails we've done), rain gear--packable stuff, and all kinds of craft stuff....(everything else on the manly side---tools, hoses, repair stuff, etc. etc., all that stuff is inside the bays OUTSIDE.

jewelry holder, pockets on both sides
Here's what I have come to find out....have I ever needed to get really dressed up? NOPE! Have I ever worn a dressy dress in 9 months? NOPE! Do I need 8 pairs of jeans in several different colors? NOPE! (2-3 pairs would be sufficient) Have I worn all the shoes I've brought on board at one time or another? NOPE! A great pair of athletic shoes with very good tread has been sufficient for all my hiking needs. I wear my Tevas when it's hot, and one other pair of athletic shoes besides the ones I hike in and that's it!...I've never worn heels once....I have a dressy pair of sandals in a light color that I wear with nice slacks and a dressy top when we go out someplace nice...Short of a funeral,  or more blessedly a wedding, I have no idea why I brought on board at least three skirts, several blouses and  outfits that have sat in my closet for 9 months and never been worn, tops that look wrinkled all the time and will need ironing should I ever decide to wear them because they are smooshed into a tiny closet, an earring pocket holder that holds my entire earring and necklace collection to which I can say I switch between the same three pairs of earrings all the time. I thought I was being so clever at finding this jewelry holder, but I don't need all this jewelry! It just takes up space! Not a lot, but it's just something that I really don't need....

What's the point of all this? When you are a full timer, you don't need to bring it all with you! You probably won't wear 50% of it! And, you probably won't have room for it unless you jam and cram it in. It's hard to part with it at the time of getting ready to travel, but in my opinion, I'll bet most of us who full time have their clothing wardrobe down to a few favorite pairs of jeans and shorts, short sleeve shirts (many of them tee shirts that we buy at places we go visit), a few long sleeve tees for the cold weather, a couple of sweatshirts, a layered jacket that can be used in multiple types of weather, and just a few pairs of shoes. Less is more....
We share this side
Eldy's side--he got gypped!
So today, I cleaned out my side of the closet.. I came up with a BIG garbage bag full of clothes I haven't worn since we left last June, and Eldy culled his side of the closet and cleaned out a few shirts....here's something else you need to know...unless you buy a honkin' big RV, the closet space is going to require some serious clothes pruning! We have tiny drawers, and although lots of upper shelf space in the bedroom, linens take that up for the most part, and so do our out of season jackets. I'm glad we were able to donate some good clothes to a charitable organization today, and we have more room in our closets and drawers now!  (Hm-m-m-m, Sparky, are you going to tackle the kitchen cupboards next? You know the ones that have all the food in them that you never cook?)  Uh..uh...uh...time to go through my recipe books and come up with some home cooked meals, me thinks? Or do I see a food bank donation in the near future!? Anybody else find out that they didn't need all that "stuff" they brought with them on the road?


  1. You better believe it! We have been on the road 9 years and I cull out what I do not wear every year in November and sell it at a park garage sale. What doesn't sell gets donated. When all is said and done we need very little of everything. Living simple is our creed. And even though we have purchased a stick built I plan to continue living simple.
    Whenever I make a purchase as I stand there with item in hand I ask myself, "Where will I put it? and on a scale of 1-10 how much do I really want it."

  2. Well, I started out having something to say, but stupid blogger couldn't "perform my request" *sigh* :(
    Um...ya. Purging. Right. (forgot what I was saying)
    We've had to do it a few times. Usually after coming back from an assignment. Started out with having to clean out the house we moved into from the previous owner, since we bought it from the estate of my late father-in-law. Man did he have a lot of junk! Deep enough in the garage to swim in if that were possible. Took me months.
    It will most certainly happen again when we move home in 2012. Just have way too much stuff. It's hard I know for those who think they need for us to give them a Christmas list, but I really don't want any more stuff. (get me practical stuff....a book of tickets to the local car wash or something like that...or nothing!) Eventually with the extended family we decided enough was enough and pooled our resources at Christmas and either gave to a local charity or bought sports equipment for the local half way house.
    When my shoes wear out, I get new ones. Turf the old pair out. It's really simple. The kids still end up giving me clothes, which then get put away only to find much later on sometimes with the tags still on (blush) even when I tell them I don't need anything.
    I'm sure it's way more challenging when space is at a premium.
    Do people still think it's fine to give you "stuff" for Christmas and birthdays? It would be tough to be gracious, that's for sure.

  3. We find that we are constantly reevaluating what we have and why we have it. Minimizing is almost an obsession now. It doesn't matter if we have room for it; if we're not wearing/using it, why are we keeping it?? We find that it's easy to accumulate when we stay put for any length of time, so we always do a round of purging when we're preparing to leave a place that we've been at for 3-6 months.

    And like Barb said, whenever I think about buying something, I have to ask myself where it is going to be stored. If I don't have a good answer, I don't buy it!