Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Approaching One Year of Fulltiming: Still Getting Rid of Stuff

At Sunset Shores RV Park, Willis, Texas...

As we approach the end of our first year of fulltiming, we find ourselves still in a paring down mode. Getting rid of possessions accumulated over 40 years has not been easy. The reason, I suppose, is that we spent most of that time acquiring the stuff and only a small fraction of that time getting rid of it. Oh, if only we had had the wisdom of old age when we were young!  

I'm not sure why we thought it necessary to buy or build huge houses, since there were only the three of us. The obvious and uncomfortable answer was that it was an ego thing, I guess. Over time, we began to realize that acquiring things wasn't ultimately satisfying and that big houses require big attention and big expense to keep up, inside and out.  

We eventually built a relatively modest RV port home, an experience well documented earlier in this blog, that was to be our retirement home base while we wandered the country, and that's what it became. However, we found ourselves enjoying RV travel and living so much that we began to resent having to return home and take care of the required upkeep on the house before being able to leave again. We were also in a state of constant apprehension, worrying over the security of the place after a burglary that resulted in a painful emotional and financial loss for us. The security alarm that was installed was obviously no deterrent, so our much desired freedom to travel was not really free, clouded with worry and resentment as it was for us. 

We eventually decided that the only way to be truly free was to get rid of the things that were enslaving us; that meant the house and the stuff inside it had to go. Once we made the decision, things happened quickly, and the jettisoning of the rest of our stuff became brutal. That experience was also fully described about a year ago in this blog and yes, it was so worth the effort.

My point in including this brief version of our downsizing for fulltiming is to provide evidence of how very far we've come in terms of getting rid of our bondage. And yes, I'm using the term bondage on purpose, because that's what the tentacles of our materialism felt like when we were desperately struggling to be free. To that end, take a look at what is left after our efforts over the past years--from 3,500 square feet a decade ago to this:




This storage unit area occupies about 120 square feet and, as you can see, there is room to spare. Most of what is left is memorabilia and photos that we are slowly going through toward a goal of digitizing things to the extent possible. There are also a few clothes left after having donated hundreds of garments to charity, and we're still working on these.  These things will continue to dwindle as we go forward, for we experience a greater sense of freedom with everything we discard. And you know what? We've missed none of it! Besides our huge increase in freedom--and did I mention spendable income?--not missing our "stuff" is perhaps the most remarkable thing about this experience.

Now, is this draconian offloading experience for everyone? Of course not. Most younger families need the stability that a house brings in a permanent location. Some empty nester couples would perhaps not fare so well with so much togetherness. Some would prefer the stability of their community and relationships, and some just need more room, period. And that's all fine; if a lot more folks got into fulltiming, we would probably have an RV parking crisis out here. For those who might be contemplating such a move, however, this is just something for your consideration. For us, it is nirvana. If only we could have done it sooner!


Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.


20 comments:

  1. I sentiments exactly, if only we had done it sooner and we are in our 11th year full timing. Glad that are suited for the lifestyle.
    Happy New Year and may you have many more good years on the road.

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    1. Hi, George! We agree with you; we were suited for this way before we realized it!

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  2. I/we couldn't agree more. We certainly love the life style and don't regret it for a moment.
    Happy New Year to you and Sandy, all the best in health and safe travels for this and many years to come.

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    1. Thanks, Bill! Happy New Year to you and yours also!

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  3. Well written post, Mike. We are following in your footsteps too as well as many other full-timers and each year will be a milestone for us as well. Hoorah!! for this fabulous decision!

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    1. Thanks, Patsy! We're enjoying reading about your good times. Like you, we consider ourselves very lucky.

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  4. First and Foremost Happy New Year to You and Sandy.
    We both started getting ready to Fulltime around the same time with the same goal of shedding the bonds of our past. Even though many others were fortunate enough to get rid of everything that held a grip to their past we also have a Storage Unit that we'll be visiting when we are back in Canada in the spring. We will also be working to downsize even that amount that holds us from total freedom.
    Be Safe and Enjoy this Lifestyle for as many Years as you are given.

    It's about time.

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    1. Thank you, Rousseaus! I know it's preferable to get rid of even the amount we have left, but sentiment really gets in the way of that. If this is as good as we can do, well, that's okay.

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  5. Started year 10 on October 7 and "bondage" is the best phrase I have heard for all the junk as I called it. Have a great new year.

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    1. Hi, Barney! Ten years--congratulations and Happy New Year!

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  6. Finally getting rid of the house this year took such a load off me I can't even describe it. But bondage is a great word to describe how stuff controls us. Happy New Year.

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    1. Back atcha, Sandie! Always good to read your friendly words.

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  7. For different reason, I too downsized. I was determined, even though I am in pretty good health, not to have my kids have to go through what I just did dispersing and dispensing all of Joe's things. I moved from a 2 bedroom, two bath double wide mobile home to a small studio apartment and I don't miss a thing. It was incredibly painful to part so suddenly with many of the "things" but now that they are gone....I'm really ok and comfortable in my surroundings. A very Happy New Year to the two of you.

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    1. Thank you, Betty! We enjoy seeing your posts, and we marvel at how well you're doing, relying on God's love for your strength. We're so glad to have had a chance to visit with you and your dear Joe when we came through Portland. God bless, and happy new year!

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  8. So glad it is working out for you and you are still loving it on your one year anniversary. We are approaching seven years this spring, and don't miss any of the stuff we got rid of. The one thing I do miss is a dishwasher, which we could have if I was willing to give up some cabinet space. I guess I don't miss it that much, as it hasn't happened. Instead, Kevin has become the dishwasher most of the time. Works for me :)

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    1. Hi, Evelyn! Hard to beat having a dishwasher husband, isn't it? My poor Sandy is not so lucky; I HATE washing dishes. But the tradeoff for her is that I do most of the cooking. To make life easier, we use paper plates for most meals. Great invention, those things.

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  9. Great job, after 7 years we need to go through and get rid of stuff. We have been lax on the 1 in 1 out rule.

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    1. Hi, Y'all! I try not to think of all the years and all the time, effort and money, we expended just maintaining our houses and our stuff. I guess some guys enjoy the upkeep of a house and yard, and I suppose some ladies enjoy housework, but we are definitely not those people. The only thing that could be better than our life now...well, there's not anything any better; what am I talking about? Thanks for stopping by and happy travels!

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  10. Whew..... your storage unit looks a lot better than ours! We need to get to work...! We are fulltiming for 16 months now, and time just flies by! We shed a two story house (notice I didn't say home), two careers and a personal business! Uplifting is a huge understatement to say the least. I miss some things, (I would love a bedroom when the grand child come to visit, my big garden bathtub) but not enough to get ever get a brick and mortar.
    I hear the humm when the engine of our motor coach kicks in and my heart gets happy! Love this life, and we go to bed happy every night!

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