A few weeks ago I drove the Alaska Highway with my husband. The purpose of the trip was to prepare our trailer for sale. More than a dozen years ago we purchased a 34-foot-long fifth wheel trailer, living in it for several months each winter and storing it in Idaho during the summer. We could find no other way to move the trailer without the use of our truck, so we drove the highway. We had several reasons for the decision to sell the fifth wheel with the main reason being that we were not using it as much as we should. Supporting reasons were our age, our health, and the sale of the storage yard.
As we packed our stuff in the trailer, we realized that we had collected way too much of it. It owned us! Of course, we have stuff at home that owns us too, but we felt a real burden from what was in the RV. We spent three days going through stuff, disposing of some of it, packing the rest, and then moving and storing it once again. We gave about half of the stuff away because we simply did not need it any more.
There were a few items we wished to keep, such as a set of dishes, silverware, sewing machine, two quilts, and some guns. The rest of the stuff was meaningless to us, just something that we needed to live – pans for cooking, pillows and blankets for sleeping, etc. Did you know that a medium U-Haul box holds only two regular size pillows, two sheets, and maybe two blankets? I used more than four of the boxes to pack the bedding from two beds! How many boxes would be needed for a family?
I understand better why people feel free when they sell their household goods and move to an RV in order to travel. I do not desire that lifestyle, but I understand why several of my friends have chosen it.
As I have been writing this essay, I thought of the hobos from long ago. They were usually men, and they carried everything they owned in a handkerchief tied to the end of a stick. They would hop a freight train and go wherever they wanted, getting off when they chose to do so. They were free because they did not own a lot of material goods. I do not desire that lifestyle either, but I desire freedom from excess stuff.
I moved toward more freedom by taking boxes of belongings to my children. I took about half a pickup load of stuff to them, wishing that I had room to take all of it. Getting rid of all this stuff makes me more determined than ever to clear the excess stuff from my home and life! I will be free!