Twice in the last week I’ve been approached with the topic of “stuff”.
First by a retired couple from California who drove through the park and proceeded to ask me questions about being a camp host which of course led to questions about my history and what circumstances led to us becoming full-time RV’ers.
You could see the intrigue on their faces as they mulled over the possibilities of doing the same, followed immediately by the wife asking (while side-glancing at her husband) “but what did you do with all your stuff?” Hubby flinched a bit as I told them that I had detached from my “stuff” in 1996 when I left Nebraska to become an Arizonian and hadn’t suffered from “stuff attachment” since. She “got it” & he wanted to but it was clear that he was extremely attached to his stuff.
Second by a friend who’s feeling the call of the road but is overwhelmed by the task of downsizing and lightening the load of years of accumulated “stuff”.
This has led me to revisit my past and present relationship to stuff, how it went from being my friend to being my captor and how I decided what to keep and what to release.
I think unconsciously I asked myself….
1. If I had 30 minutes to gather up the stuff that meant the most to me, what would I choose? Note to self: this doesn’t mean I have a moving crew to help me, it means Me, Myself and I. What would “I” physically gather and keep.
2. Now what do I do with the mountains of stuff I’m releasing? How much of it is cash in my pocket and how much is thrift store inventory?
3. Get rid of the non-cash worthy stuff and eliminate the clutter. Make as many trips to your thrift store of choice as needed OR lo and behold, some have BIG trucks to save you the trouble!
4. Sell! Sell! Sell the rest!! It ain’t an easy or pleasant task but the shit has to be shoveled out of the barn whether you like doin’ it or not! Put on your big girl or boy shit shoveling panties and get ‘er done!
5. What doesn’t sell within 30-60-90 days (you make the choice) becomes thrift store inventory.
6. OK, the stuff has thinned now what? Is the house next followed by a smaller abode? RV, apartment, smaller house, condo, a roommate to share expenses in the home you have now ….. tent ;-) ?
7. DO THE FINANCIAL MATH! Keep it simple…. Bare bones cash on hand/income vs. bare bones expenses.
8. Research, research, research! We have the internet these days so use it but rely on your instincts too.
Here’s where people get “stuck”. Too much information has the same effect as too much stuff. It clogs the motivation …. So if you find yourself mired in info muck, get out the shit shovel again and get busy!
9. Get out there and find some tangible options for the lifestyle you’re seeking on the budget your financial math uncovered before your house goes on the market because if you’ve gotten this far you’ve created the forward motion momentum that ensures a quick sale. You don’t want to be caught with your “where do I go and what do I do” pants down when the time comes.
Most importantly of all, if you’re not super, duper, out of your mind excited about the prospect of releasing your stuff, creating a new lifestyle and 1000% committed to making it happen, don’t do it!!!!!
You’re not ready.
At some point you’ll become overwhelmed and stop mid-release and most likely go out and accumulate more stuff just to make sure you’re back in your pre-buried comfort zone. Kind of like the drunk that gives up drinking for a while only to fall back into an even deeper bottle when the goin’ gets tough.
I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve reinvented my lifestyle and practiced the above steps. I must say I have no regrets or long for anything I left behind (or anyone… ;-)
But I’m a gypsy of sorts and an extremist when it comes to livin’ light and being ready to move on in a moment’s notice.
Throughout each transition I’ve gone a step forward followed by two steps back again and again but ALWAYS with eyes facing forward!
OK, ‘nough said.
Gotta go….I have STUFF to do!