The Collectors: One More on Purging

She said…

As Shannon and I work daily to get rid of all the extra stuff in our lives so that we can 1) not leave a giant mess for somebody else to clean up and 2) launch our new full-time RV adventure without leaving full storage lockers behind, I find myself faced once again with the stress of letting go.

Shannon’s parents are both collectors.  Shannon’s aunt is visiting from Texas and she rounds out the most enthusiastic garage sale triumvirate in history.  I’ve told them to take what they want from our stuff but when they come over, Shannon’s mom talks about taking things and storing them for us so that we can have them back when we are done traveling.  I know that she is being kind and generous and thinking only of our future, and that it is useless (and even maybe cruel) to try to take her with us on this purging journey; that it is not important for everyone to learn that stuff is just that. . .stuff.  I have to allow them to place a different value on stuff than I do.  Now, I realize that old habits do truly die hard and when you have grown up with less, sometimes the acquisition of stuff is a comfort and a source of security.  But I have a recurring nightmare of having to get rid of all this stuff all over again when Shannon’s folks are gone.

20160606_092318And then the other day Shannon tried to give Aunt Helen one of my plants and I got this look of terror on my face. . .not ready to let go of that one yet, or for that space to be empty yet, or maybe not as good at this yet as I like to think I am!

The “perfect world” plan is this: to buy the RV before we list the house so that we can be done with that part. . .the fixing, the patching, the painting and the purging, so that we can be living in our new home (all be it in our own driveway) and practicing on short trips.  The “real world” truth of it is this: we probably can’t afford what amounts to a double mortgage payment while we are waiting for the next people to make this their dream home.  So, we are looking at the less desirable option of living in the house while it is on the market.

This means that my plan for moving into the RV and just selling everything else is no longer practical. I’ve been living under the illusion that if we moved into the RV with just what we needed that we’d be in our new life and the rest of this stuff wouldn’t matter so much.

Time for an attitude adjustment about the purging.  Time to start getting serious about going through the house room by room with an eye to actually throwing some things away.  Time to start building up that pile in the garage again so that we can start having our own yard sales.  Time to get serious about the estate sale option for art, pots and rugs.  Time to empty these walls and surfaces, to take our inventory down to what we will need to travel plus necessary furniture, to make this house look like it’s ready for someone else’s treasures.

I know how far we’ve come.  I know about the flatbed trailer full and three truckloads of stuff that were donated to the church yard sale.  I know how much emptier the inside of most of our cupboards are, and how relatively sparse the closet is looking.  I am quite happy and don’t miss any of it. Only rarely do I search for something only to remember that it is gone. But as I look around, I know that I have now gotten quite used to this new amount of stuff in my life.  I still have a long way to go.  And time is getting short!




6 thoughts on “The Collectors: One More on Purging

  1. We had our RV in the driveway when we renovated the house to sell it. It was a great resource, for sure. With that being said, we officially started sleeping in it on August 11, 2014 and we had our first (and only) showing the weekend before Labor Day. You really don’t need to have the RV until the last couple of months. Of course, we were in a red hot seller’s market, so we landed three offers on the first day.

    Remember, you’ll have to consider the weight of everything you bring on the road, so less is more. Bring only what you need…you will be glad you did.


    1. Market is flat here, so I have this horrible picture of us sitting on the front deck with cobwebs all over us waiting for the right buyer to show up! Possible plan B. . .more on that later.

  2. I keep thinkin how nice it would be to retire and then have the time to fix up the house and purge it all. We are having trouble getting motivated to do much because we still have three years until our day comes. Recently I sold off two items on Craigslist in less than 12 hours, one of which (a boat) had been sitting I the back yard for eight years. Felt motivated at the time and now I’m back to being lazy about it. Here’s hoping your guys get a quick sale on your home so living in a rig in your driveway is less of a need.

  3. Or you may find yourself homeless overnight, as happened to us in 2000. We sold the house to friends with no realtor involved in two days. We took it as a sign that it was meant to be and moved into the trailer parked in the driveway. Please send an email to me. You can find the address on my blog.

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