Stop The Glorification of “Stuff”

posted in: Wisdom | 27

About two years ago we made the decision to sell all of our “stuff” and pursue the full-time RV lifestyle. When my husband first brought up this possibility, it sounded ludicrous to me. After all, here I was living in a giant house, with a pool and everything I needed to live the luxury lifestyle. I thought my husband was insane. He had EVERY tool that was ever invented sitting in that 4-car garage of ours. Not only that but one of the 4 bays held his 1968 convertible Camaro. Not to mention a riding lawn mower and every other lawn tool known to man. Jim can fix anything, and he always had the right tool for the job. Getting rid of all that “stuff” sounded like a completely insane thing to do! Why on Earth would I purposely get rid of EVERYTHING I owned???

RV-cookingoutFast forward to now. We live in our 40-foot motorhome exclusively. Since this is the ONLY home we have, we have had to be very selective about what gets let in here. Jim and I both despise clutter, so we don’t allow unnecessary items to take up our precious counter space or drawer space. Every item that we own now is well thought out and necessary. In fact, now that we are about 8 months into this full-time thing, it may be time to go through all of the drawers and cabinets and get rid of anything we feel we haven’t used yet. If I haven’t needed it in the last 8 months, I probably never will!

Living with less “stuff” is certainly counter to everything we have been taught all of our lives. Every time you turn on the TV or the radio or open a magazine, the advertisers are shouting at you to “BUY BUY BUY!” We are taught to gauge our self-worth on the number of possessions we own. And like fools, Jim and I bought into it all over the years by buying more more more, until we finally figured out that being a slave to our stuff is no fun at all! We now collect experiences instead of possessions, and our lives are that much more rich. See, that’s the funny thing – the advertisers make you think that if you own this product or that thingamajig that IT will make you happy, when in reality possessions have NOTHING to do with happiness. Here are some other things I’ve learned about owning less “stuff”:

  • It’s less stressful – Simply not having to figure out how to pay for all this stuff takes a significant load off my mind.
  • It’s more relaxing – I don’t spend hours cleaning and dusting and mowing and weeding anymore. It takes about 1 hour a week to clean my RV top to bottom.
  • I can be more productive – Doing the things that I want to spend my time on – like learning how to blog!
  • Time to volunteer – Tomorrow we will spend the day packing food for Feed My Starving Children in Mesa, AZ, which is something we love doing together as a family to help out those less fortunate.
  • No more “keeping up with the Joneses” – After all, comparing ourselves to others will only make us unhappy in the end.
  • I display only that which I value most – I do have a wall dedicated to my family photographs because that is what means the most to me and those pictures make me happy.
  • I don’t need a lot of room – I don’t require a big house to store all my stuff. And I never run out of space!
  • Time to be happy – I can spend my time pursuing that which makes me happy! And isn’t that what we all really want out of life?quotehappiness
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27 Responses

  1. Love it. I’ll mention to my wife in 10 years when or boy is off to college. I’ll be 61 by then and hopefully able to do it then. Weekend warriors now in our 5th wheel.

  2. Rodney and Patty

    Do you have things in storage or did you get rid of “everything”?

    • Jim Mellema

      We have a 10x10x10 storage locker. Mostly for 7 years of company records, a few pieces we couldn’t get rid of, and Jim’s tools.

  3. Makes a lot of sense. Good write-up. In our case, family obligations will keep us from going full time. And we’ve got all the “Stuff” EXCEPT for the RV! Trying to clean up our act at home, but fear that the addition of the RV will just result in a doubling of stuff.
    Anyway, enjoyed your article!

    • Jim Mellema

      Truth there. When we were RVing from home, we had to have 2 sets of stuff! Bathroom stuff, kitchen stuff, cleaning stuff.
      We still have 4 squirt bottles of 409.

    • We are the same, we are business owners so can’t leave ‘long term’. We are however going for a 2 1/2month trip starting in August with our two girls (7 and 10 at time of travel). I would LOVE to just pack up everything and trot off around the globe. Husband has talked about it when we retire, but we shall see.

    • SandeeAR

      It’s all about choices. My family obligation has been me going through stage 4 metastatic breast cancer treatment. We sold everything 2 years ago and went full time “local” as I call it. We bounce between two local parks. Plan was to get things paid off, by living cheaper. 1 year end, my cancer came back. DH is still working to pay bills. I need to stay local for doctors. But waking up in a park with no stuff is so relaxing!!!

  4. Love the Article! We’re with ya! Me (43) and my wife (33) decided to get rid of everything about a year ago. We have a 22′ Sprinter Van we built into an Adventure RV. It holds our Mtn bikes in a rear garage with our packs and our Kayaks are on a rear custom rack. No where close to the room of a 40′ but we are able to get to those remote places a big rig can’t get to. I just say that so people who read this realize a lot of people are “getting rid of everything” for different rigs of different sizes for different things….it’s not that crazy. We have an Adventure Blog called Get Some Adventures and have a complete build of our rig on it in case anyone wants to check it out.

  5. I did this 2 years ago and had so much “stuff” to get rid of…. The best thing I ever did in my life.
    Thanks for sharing… I couldn’t have said it better.

  6. We also did the same thing. Had a big house with the big yard & pool; almost 2 years ago we rented our house & have been full timing in our 40 foot home…..absolutely love it. Don’t miss the “stuff”…..

  7. I have enjoyed reading all your posts and seeing your amazing pictures since you started the RV life!

  8. spacenorman

    I’m hoping I can convince my wife to take your advice. We purchased our coach roughly a year ago and have since spent 120+ nights in it. She retired at the beginning of January – and in the process eliminated one of the obstacles to our being able to travel more. I’m in the process of obtaining approval to work remotely – from our coach, 100% of the time. Our oldest son is about to move 3/4s of the way across the country for his job. Our youngest is still at home … but at 24 is more than capable of living on his own (although he may need a little financial support for a couple more years to were we to sell our home now). I’m ready to make the jump to downsize drastically and full time for a while. I’m just waiting (and to some degree – hoping!) that my wife will catch up with me in that regard quickly!

  9. You’ll be twice as happy after you get rid of the storage unit.

  10. I definitely agree with you. In our case a house fire took care of all our stuff. Instead of rebuilding we bought a 43′ 5er and sold our smaller one and now we are full-time. We haven’t got to travel much yet but I fir one am loving the uncluttered lifestyle.

  11. Michael and Rebecca Carter

    Agree. We started full timing the end of August in of 2015. We sold our big house with pool and big yard in 2014 and moved into an apartment so had a transition period. We to still have a storage unit for some furniture tools and documents. The shedding of the house and pool and a lot of stuff through an estate sale and have no regrets. It was/is very freeing. We are still adapting and I expect that we will continue to purge for awhile but we are surely in a better place today than we were 6+ months ago. We look forward to continuing to follow your blog.

  12. Do you have a campground membership for a place to live with full hookups and only have to pay a meager annual fee for the privilege. This was what we had and it certainly makes life easier. Here’s one of the memberships, (we had two) and their parks are coast to coast, that you may want to take a look at. Thousand Trails….

  13. Michael price

    Thinking about the tiny home or rv life….Till then I can take care of that Camaro. Haha. Enjoy your lifestyle. We would love to do it. Be safe and be happy

  14. Terri Hatfield

    Great article! We did the same thing 2 years ago……. We also have a storage unit. Life is pretty simple now.

  15. Russell Lee McFall

    Loved your post!

    We are on a 5 year (now 4) plan, we got our R(5th wheel) and will have it paid off by then. We are starting our de-clutter now, it will take some time to eliminate all of those things that you don’t need but we are taking it slowly so by the last year we should have only essential furniture and clothing, sell it off, put the house on the market and be on our way. Some folks like to just do it, but due to work and plans (wife needs to ease into the idea) we agreed to a 5 year plan to move in that direction, first year on the road we will keep the house if all works well, we will sell it otherwise we will probably end up downsizing (we are already in a small house) even smaller and just doing seasonal travel.

  16. What about bad weather. Like tornados etc. Where do you go.

    • Jim Mellema

      Haven’t had a problem with bad weather. We travel, we’re not stuck in the tornado belt in March….

  17. I am also trying to downsize, we have two young kids though so I’m finding it quite hard – I want to get rid of stuff, they don’t! There is definitely something to be said for less is more though, I’m sick of picking up stuff, putting away stuff, and trying to find somewhere to put stuff, it’s endless and drives me insane!

  18. Wonderful article. I am trying to declutter and be able to go more! I will get there but loving whatever time we have on the road in our 36’BP for now. Pre Estate sale scheduled for July 16th! Got to turn my head and just let it go.

  19. Loved this article!! Just sold our house had 2 auctions to get rid of “stuff”. Totally agree with you. Even though some of it was hard to part with, I felt the burden lift right off my shoulders. Not full timing yet, but can’t wait!!

  20. Hi Carol! Good for you and your husband. While my husband and I didn’t sell it all, we did make the choice to downscale our lifestyle into a much smaller home (probably not much bigger than your 40 footer and probably less expensive!) We not only scaled back but we went completely debt free and that has not only made our lives everything you said but even more. We call the process “rightsizing” because when people think of downsizing they see it in a negative and our move has been anything but! And while we don’t travel around in an RV we do travel a lot with Airbnb and lots of other vacation rentals. So much freedom! ~Kathy

  21. De clutter… Yes…. Give up luxury… No😊…..Today’s motorhomes are luxurious!!! Who needs the house!!! A 40 foot motorhome has all the necessities and even luxuries of a home these days!!!!! ( we have a 40 foot too… But it’s 16 years old) the only thing u are really giving up is lawn maintenance and high utility bills lol!!! Motorhomes definitely are not like they use to be!!! As a matter of fact, most 40 foot motorhomes( brand new) cost way more than most people’s houses!! Would love the freedom and simplicity of full time RV ing.. Have fun!

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