Toward a less cluttered life

The hub and I often dream of selling everything, buying an RV, and taking off to indulge our love for photography and writing.  Just think of the possibilities for meandering when every day doesn’t just have a momentary switch but becomes a momentary switch! 

The realities of having to have jobs so we can have insurance and, well, food mean we have yet to make the dream come true.  The government also gets in our way.  Our state, like many others, does not permit residents to live in an RV (even a giant Class A) year-round.  The maximum amount of time permitted is something like 180 days -- and those days can’t even be consecutive.

Every year, though, when the RV show rolls around (no pun intended), we buy our three-day passes, I stuff my coat pockets with gluten-free snacks, and we head for the fairgrounds where we drool our way through three buildings chock full of dreams. 

This year, we finally hit upon the dream that feels more solid than any we’ve dreamt before: a Class B. 

We fell in love with the Winnebago Travato.  Cleverly designed features team up with streamlined visuals for a unit packed with all of our necessities as well as a few of our wants, without making me feel claustrophobic.

Of course, paying for the dream is so far out of our reach right now that I would be completely discouraged if I weren’t an inherently optimistic sort of person.

What I’m reminded of each year when we go through this dream phase is that, while part of the attraction of RV life is the freedom to take pictures and write to my heart’s content, another part of it is that it represents a less cluttered life. 

That thought led us to thinking about a smaller home requiring less maintenance, or even a cottage-sized rental home.  A smaller home with lower expenses might let us reach our goals sooner. 

Envisioning the smaller home we want brought me back to the need to continue decluttering the home we have.  No sense in carting along too much stuff in our daily lives, whether there’s to be a smaller home or not. 

Having a vision of what the dream looks like for us is helpful; it can make the road clearer, the effort less exhausting.

Case in point: the day after our first foray to this year’s show, I pulled 25 pieces of clothing from my closet and dresser and bagged them to donate to a local thrift store.  The hub did the same.

Unlike Miss Dorcas Lane, I have three weaknesses, not just one: books, dishes, and fabric.  Some of the books are research materials for writing and I may need them for quite a few years yet.  Others are novels I’ve enjoyed and, as I’ve been known to re-read books, I’m hesitant to get rid of them.  Dishes are pretty things to look at and eat from, and fabric makes pretty things to sleep under.  Prettiness has value, too.

What’s worked for us in the past when we’ve run up against brick walls to getting rid of stuff has been choosing what we want to keep instead of becoming overwhelmed with the idea of all the things we have to give up.  There’s a shift in thinking evident in that contrast.  The latter is negative; the former is positive. 

I will figure out how to deal with the books, dishes, and fabrics toward which resistance, for me, is too often futile.  I’ll start by selecting the ones that I most want to keep instead leaving claw marks all over the ones I don’t really love in the first place.

It’s not going to be as quick a process as it was when we moved into our current home, before which we’d gotten rid of upwards of 30% of our possessions in 30 days.  But it’ll happen. 

Even if no one shows up and plunks down a free Travato in our driveway, we’ll be living a better life.  There’s no reason we can’t have a less cluttered life, no matter what our address.

In the meantime, anyone wanna’ buy a rancher?