Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Place For Everything And Weight Loss In The HUNDREDS of Pounds!

You know the rest, "and everything in it's place."  The kindergarten classroom method of organization is ideally suited for us fulltimers.  Living in 400 square feet, give or take (mostly take), means DISCIPLINE!  I don't think any topic regarding moving into an RV full time is talked about more, or in so much detail as getting rid of belongings.  There are so many reasons; emotional attachment, value of items discarded, fear of needing something you got rid of, the list is long.  One things I can promise nearly everyone, you will be shocked at how LITTLE "stuff" makes you happy.  This is one of the pleasant surprises that many new fulltimers comment on.

How in the world do you decide what goes and what doesn't?  That is a highly personal question, really  I have seen items and belongings that other fulltimers keep and I think they are crazy!  I would never allow my precious RV space to be taken up by some of these things, but then I know they think the same thing about some of the things I keep too.  That's OK.  It's a personal thing. It was no different in a sticks and bricks, really. The one rule that I am very strict about in our RV: If is doesn't have a home, it goes. EVERYTHING must live somewhere, clutter makes an RV a mess and, for us anyway, very stressful.  You have to get creative, but it can be done. We also like to live in a state of "road readiness" as well, meaning there is little to do to get on the road, but that's another blog post!

First of all, do your best to peel back all ideas and misconceptions about what you truly NEED.  Think very hard about how you spend your time, how you prepare your meals. Do you play games?  Do you bake bread?  Do you read a lot?  What about clothing?  Are you a fashionista?  Do you have 37 pairs of shoes?  Bathrooms are junk collectors too.  I know you paid a lot for all that makeup in your drawer, but be honest about what you actually USE on a daily basis.  Get rid of the rest.  Keeping it is not the same as keeping the money you spent on it, you must separate the cost of the item from what it's actual value it. The truth is, keeping that item does not mean you still have that money you spent on it! It was gone a long time ago!  Keeping items because "someday I might like to"  or "I hope to fit into this pair of pants someday" is not going to make the cut.  Most everything can be replaced and having to buy new clothes because of weight loss is (I am told) a joyful experience.  Yes, you will have to pay for it again, but you must be strong and disciplined here. Your new mantra should be: "Am I willing to pay to KEEP this?" because literally, when living within strict weight and space limitations, you are. Every ounce of it.

So the theme is: You can still keep it, you probably just can't keep it ALL!  For must of us, this winds up being an unexpected and wonderful surprise after shedding so much of our stuff.  It's true what they say, we are a slave to our stuff.  You are not a MUSEUM! Only you can decide if your stuff is so precious that you pay to store it (and continue to care for it). For us, we decided NO storage unit. It all goes.

We have been fulltime more than two years and we are still (joyfully) shedding stuff.  I know we will truly have arrived at fulltime nirvana when my sons spare closet no longer contains crates of our photos and memories. It's definitely a process, more for some than others, and you will get there. Don't be too critical of yourself, and try to be brave.  Not ONCE have I regretted parting with anything, and we had a LOT of stuff, (as most people do after living more than 20 years in one house). I think a lot of us are conditioned to thinking that there is some sort of meaning or identity-connection between our identity and our belongings.  We think "There is so many memories attached to this!" Actually, no, the memories are "in the vault" (your heart). They are IN you, forever.  I learned that getting rid of things did NOT erase the fond memories.

When something is very special, we attempted to re-home it with someone, usually our kids, so we could enjoy it when we visit.  It gives me such pleasure to see my daughter using my "big giant salad bowl" that I loved so much that my mother gave me.  I see treasured pictures hanging on my kids' walls. I love seeing Christmas decorations and other things displayed lovingly in their homes. In fact, I think it's even more wonderful. I became almost emotional the other day helping my daughter move into her new house and I got to "revisit" old friends that were so dear to me; it made my heart sing to think of the item continuing it's life in our family. Yet another wonderful surprise that I have come to appreciate after becoming a fulltimer.

So, have faith, be brave, and keep at it. You will get there. We are also still getting there. We have developed a rather warped pleasure in getting rid of things now. I think it represents a rebirth, a new reality that we love.  On my wall hangs a very apropos saying, "The best things in life are not things". Truer words were never penned. Our lack of "stuff" has, in reality, become a source of great pleasure and joy, and that was truly unexpected.

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