Purge – to remove people from an area, country, organization, etc., often in a violent and sudden way, or: to cause something to leave the body
Folks like to use the word purge when needing a word to describe getting rid of their stuff. Purge does not exactly fit properly from the definition above but we all get it. And purging of stuff is something that all future RV full-time people must come to grips with. There is any level to the extent of purging. Natasha and I have gone back and forth on how much we should get rid of, what we should keep and what we might store away. We do plan some day to leave the road, buy a house, a few acres and live a more “traditional” lifestyle. So does it make sense to get rid of stuff we may need in the future? Or is it better to store away stuff we may or may not need? We know one thing for sure; we have no plans to be hauling all of our stuff around the country, something must be done.
My co-worker has a neat little saying about people’s stuff: “my junk is stuff and your stuff is junk” (well actually he inserts a different word for junk). He does have a valid point; there is much of our stuff that really is useless so the word junk to describe it is valid. Then there is the adage: if you haven’t used it in two years get rid of it! I like that one but most of us fail miserably attempting to follow it. My favorite though: when was the last time you saw a hearse towing a U-Haul. No doubt we can’t take our stuff with us when we leave this earth; we are just marking time with it, and in the end it does us no good to keep it around just to be a burden to our families when we are gone. Okay, now I am getting a little depressed.
Moving should present a great opportunity to stream line our life and purge the stuff, but not always. I know for certain I could go up in my Dad’s attic in Berea, Ohio (my old home) and find boxes moved with us from Battle Creek, Michigan in 1973 that have still not been opened! And just because one may move often does not mean the boxes don’t remain closed, usually they just continue to follow and multiply, still unopened.
But I digress, yes living full-time in an RV requires a rather severe effort at purging one’s stuff, it simply makes no sense to bring it along, there just is no room, and weight is a big deal when hauling your house around the country.
One obvious option for us is to rent a storage unit and keep it all, thus eliminating the need to purge, loading just what is necessary in the RV rig, and then returning to the storage unit when we need (or think we need) something. But is that so smart? I read a story of a full-time couple that rented a storage unit for three years and never once visited it in that time, while paying $140/month rent! Ouch! So I think a storage unit is out for us. Which brings us back to purging.
Natasha and I know we have to purge, just to what extent. At first we started identifying anything we would need later and figuring we would find somewhere to store it. But where exactly might that “somewhere” be if we were to avoid the dreaded storage unit? Family and friends!? Okay now we are getting to a touchy situation. The last thing we want is our family and friends tripping over our stuff for four or five years. Wow, this really now fits with my co-workers saying: “your stuff is @$#* (junk)”. We still are 2-3 months out with our push-off date and now we are pretty much bent on getting rid of everything we won’t need on the road (With the exception of those precious items that can’t be replaced: works of art, photographs, keepsakes; well you know them when you see them.) Our purging tools will be selling, donating, giving away and trashing.
So how are we doing? Well not so bad, basement freezer was sold, along with a double stroller, car cargo carrier, router table, bicycle trailer, snow board and pasta maker. On the block is my table saw, ski carrier, and sometime soon a well maintained and in fantastic condition 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a big High-Output V8 engine, heated seats, sunroof…..okay I’ll stop. And my, that doesn’t seem like much does it? I think we are in trouble and the next three photos will prove it.
We collected all of our coats and jackets and stacked them on our couch. Then we went through them carefully in an act of coat and jacket purging. The result is in the next photo!
Pretty good don’t you think? We should be proud. Except one thing, the two bags don’t represent what we are keeping, just what we purged! I was unable to get rid of a single coat or jacket!
In the next photo we rounded up all of the kids stuffed animals. I think it would have been easier if they were all live cats, these stuffed animals were all over the place. Did we get rid of any? Are you kidding, once the kids were involved (can you find them in the photo?) there was no chance at any stuffed animal purging.
Heaven help us!