The Move…or Get Rid of Your Stuff, Son
The next months or so after that fateful day in the RV show we went on our first outings with the RV. Driving the monster down the freeway we felt very much like little kids with a big, dangerous toy. We also had a steep learning curve and much time was spent referencing the 245-page manual while old-time RV’ers looked on and sniggered in the background. Actually, that’s not true at all…the old-timers were rather helpful and have continued to be on all our travels so far. So, we tackled questions like do you put out the slides before leveling (it’s before). How do you dump and what is gray and black tank anyway (turns out black is from the loo and should be dumped first…rather important info that). Various things also failed (gas coming out of the cooker without a flame seemed significant) and we had moments of angst that we might have bought a lemon. But, as it turns out, almost all new RV’s have things that go wrong and that’s exactly what the first few outings are meant to shake out.
So, 8 months later, with exactly 4 outings under our belt, and several hundred reviews of the financial plan we decided to make the big move and get on with it. After all, we really didn’t need all this space, Paul was getting bored at work and I needed something to stress about. So, we gave our notice to the landlord and started the process.
Now, if I can give one piece of useful advice for anyone making this move it is:
Get rid of as much of your stuff as possible! Seriously folks.
We asked an old-time RV’er, with 10 years of full-time in his rig if he regretted anything about it “The only thing I regret son, is paying for storage these past 10 years”
Well, given that our current inventory could barely squeeze fit into a 40-foot container, we needed to bring things down a notch. So, off we went….a quick inventory review of our earthly possessions revealed that we’d accumulated over 15 years of paper filing (thanks to obsessive filing on my part), hundreds of books (thanks to Paul’s frivolous book-buying habit), various pieces of furniture that made no sense and several cases of unidentified objects with murky pasts. So, we started selling, swapping, donating and shredding, and did so every single day for a month. Start early and don’t give up, is the moral of the story, and indeed, with enough persistence it’s amazing how much stuff you can get rid of and how much you don’t miss it when it’s gone. In fact it felt cleansing, almost spiritual.
In the process of stuff-getting-rid-of we came across a bunch of places I’d recommend for those looking to do the same
- Craig’s List – wonderful place to sell stuff. Our 10-year old grill, some rollerblades from Paul’s youth, an old computer bag and many other nick-knacks ending up earning cash for themselves via this method. It’s free to list, so just take some pics and let ‘em fly.
- Paperbackawap.com – a site to swap books with anyone, anywhere. You send yours and you get any book you want in return. We’ve now got 70 book-credits for our travels across the US.
- Goodwill & Salvation Army – for donations. They take almost anything in good shape.
- Freecycle.com – awesome little site I stumbled across while looking to get rid of random stuff that couldn’t go to Goodwill. It’s a place to recycle absolutely anything and everything. Just list what you got and if anyone wants it they’ll come by to pick it up. I got rid of a 50-lb plaster sculpture, some slide-sleeves, a broken cabinet and various other weird things. People will list food, plants, boxes and cables on here. Amazing what gets recycled.
A month later and several hundred pounds lighter we hired 2 strapping young lads, that would be Paul and his father, to move all our remaining stuff into a 10×15 ft room at Public Storage. Thanks to superb direction on my part, the entire move went smoothly. Or rather, shall we say, thanks to muscle from the boys and the packing genius of Paul’s father, touched up with just enough nagging from me, the move went superbly. There we were, end of March, all our worldly possessions in a 10×15, dog and cats in tow, ready to move into the rig. What we took with us comes next….