One of the most difficult decisions to make and one of the most difficult tasks to perform when deciding to go fulltime in your RV is how to get rid of your stuff and how much of it to get rid of. Until you really take a look at your “stick and brick” (S&B) house it is easy to think that everything in your possession is needs as opposed to wants or just plain clutter. According to Paula Jhung, an organizational expert and the author of Cleaning and the Meaning of Life, “Clutter is stuff we don’t need but don’t realize we don’t need”. And boy, can deciding to pare down to a 40 foot living space really make you see more clearly the difference between the needs, the wants and the clutter!
While many organization experts recommend de-cluttering being done in small doses, a little at a time, this is definitely not possible for many future fulltimers. If you are on a timetable to sell your S&B home or to start your first workamping job, you simply cannot afford to be part of the 40% of people who intend to de-clutter but never end up getting the clutter out of their homes at all! The clutter gets simply moved to another spot or even moved off-site to a rented storage unit.
A potential issue that can cause roadblocks when it comes to downsizing your stuff is the fact that you have many items that are intrinsically woven into your past life and are therefore emotional triggers. Your daughter’s first shoes, your son’s first baseball glove, the card your husband gave you on your 10th anniversary. Over the course of your lifetime you have no doubt amassed many of these types of sentimental items which are very difficult to dispose of for many of us but at the same time are very difficult to lug around the country in an RV. Additionally, a study conducted at UCLA found that just looking at clutter elevated most women’s anxiety level and stress hormones! No one is implying that you could be featured in the next episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive but it is definitely easier to start your "relaxing" fulltime life when you are not bogged down with stuff, stuff and more stuff! Coming up we will review some ideas to help you begin to pare down your stuff to get you going on your fulltiming adventure.