Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lightening Up in Cholula Red

One of the things I love about living in the motor home is the lessons I learn.

All my life I have been a pack rat. I've never questioned it, I just accepted that I like having a lot of stuff. Then about ten years ago we discovered eBay. I've always had the ability to find wonderful things at great prices, so when eBay came along, I decided to try my hand at selling. With my ability to "pick" special items, I had no trouble finding an unending supply of merchandise and for years, we did quite well at this endeavor.

In fact, we did too well and before I knew it the house was overflowing with merchandise. As a lifelong pack rat, the clutter didn't bother me till it got REALLY out of hand.

When we decided to start traveling in the motor home, one of the things we discussed was, would I be able to live in such a small space? I'm happy to say that this has proven to be no problem at all.

In fact, I find living in a small space to be liberating, in a way I never expected.

As any Lazy Daze owner knows, the 30 foot model has the least CCC (cargo carrying capacity) of any model. We knew this going in and decided that one way or another we would learn to live within our approximately 1,200 pound limit. This number assumes that Terry and I are the only passengers, and that we travel with one third tank of water, empty black and gray tanks and a full gas tank (which changes constantly).

So this leaves us 1,200 pounds for food, clothing, tools, bedding and every other little thing we want to carry in the rig.

And how do we do? Actually we do pretty well. Our first eye opener was at the Lazy Daze Golden Caravan last summer, when we got weighed and discovered we were several hundred pounds overweight. Using this as a touchstone, we decided to tighten our belts and see if we could do better.

We started with a free table at the Caravan, getting rid of lots of extras that we carried totalling about seventy five pounds. Then we took a good hard look at our food. Even though we tow the Tracker, I find it hard to remember that we can go to the grocery store at any time. I call this the Costco mindset, the idea that we have to buy in bulk. This is something I have been working hard to learn. In addition to teaching myself not to buy more than we need for a week, we have started carrying some of our heavier foodstuffs in a plastic container in the Tracker, more weight gone from the rig.

We also have set up two small boxes for our books and one for our magazines. We also have one box for maps and travel guides. When these get full, it's time to cull, and we've become very good at this. I have learned that I don't have to keep these items, there are always more where they came from. I find I enjoy passing these items along instead of carting them all over the country in our rig.

For the last couple of days, I've been continuing this ongoing process. I've taken a bag of clothes we no longer wear to the Goodwill, taken excess books to the used bookstore, gone through my cupboards and discarded outdated food and several pieces of kitchen equipment we really aren't using.

So what does this have to do with lessons?

I have been learning that I like living in a small space. I'm learning that I like living with less, when for the first fifty five years of my life, I thought I wanted more. I'm learning that I like being in control of my immediate environment. And I've learned the pleasure of small things.

Today, I cleaned the refrigerator and defrosted the freezer, not a big deal. But when I was done, I was able to look at my kitchen and know that it was in order. And that made me happy.

And while this may not seem like a big deal, for a lifelong pack rat such as myself, it's a true epiphany. While I've always heard the phrase, simple pleasures are the best, now I understand in a way I never guessed.

Appreciating small things is good, and my life is good.

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