The Weight of Possessions

“I was transformed the day

My ego shattered,

And all the superficial, material

Things that mattered

To me before,

Suddenly ceased

To Matter”

— Suzy Kassem

My last update talked about the indecisiveness we had been feeling about what our next steps were in life and our eventual decision to lay down roots for a period of time in Minnesota. The goal was to give us a more solid feeling of purpose, and the benefit was being able to call this place home for a while.

When we first moved out of the motorhome and into our apartment, we didn’t know what our plan was or how long we would be here. So, we packed up our things, parked the RV in the woods, threw our things in closets, and set up temporary housing.

We took the time to go through our belongings that had been stored while we were on the road and determined what we would continue to keep and what could go. We wanted to free ourselves of unwanted possessions.

But what we worried would happen with a larger space eventually came to be true. We’d moved from 300 square feet to 900 square feet. And our new apartment had something the RV did not — large closets.

Try as we might to not overload ourselves with things, we filled up those large closets to almost-bursting capacity.

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Our most impressive tower of stuff. Yes, I am embarrassed to share this photo.

We knew it was bad, yet we had no motivation to face the mountain of things we had stored out of sight and mostly out of mind. We had no motivation because what was the point if we were going to move? That was future Andy and Angie’s problem (cue eye-roll here).

But we knew that was not an excuse, and when the decision was made to make this a home for longer, we knew we had to face what we had been avoiding. We’d filled those spaces with everything from the motorhome and more.

We’d acquired things. We’d acquired most of it only after asking the questions, “Where will this fit in the RV?” and “Is this necessary?” and “Will we take this on the road with us?”

I can’t imagine what we would have bought had we not been asking ourselves those questions.

But here we found ourselves, with stuff we needed to donate or organize. We’d already downsized on so much before we left Minnesota and after we got back, but we’d had time to live with our things and truly determine what we were still using. We had developed a different relationship with “things” after living in a small space. We were better at reevaluating decisions, or so we thought.

What we hadn’t mastered was the art of organization.

So, we got to it. We jumped on the cliche New Year bandwagon of purging and organizing. We ripped apart the closets and added to our donation pile (it seems we constantly have a donation pile going).

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We looked at things, truly looked at things. Everything had to have a place. But the conversation was no longer, “Where will this go in the RV,” it was “Where will this go here?”

We have mountains of office supplies living in two different closets and scores of pet supplies living in every corner of the apartment.

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Can anyone explain this random collection of pet stuff??

Then you top it off with our kayak gear, travel gear, backpacking and camping gear — jeesh, you’ve got yourself a mess.

We didn’t finish the project in one evening; there is still a ways to go. But we made such excellent progress that I wanted to share anyway!

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Pet supplies condensed to one area. Travel gear loaded into one suitcase.

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Shoes and jackets organized into a reasonable and accessible fashion. We originally bought the hanging rack for clothes since we struggle with clothing storage to accommodate all of Minnesota’s seasons. Instead, we used it for shoes and I opted for a seasonal clothing box, currently storing my summer clothes, which I can switch with my winter stuff whenever warm weather actually happens again (this clothing thing was not a problem in California, and I forgot how much room it takes to dress for the seasons).

We celebrated our success with wine chilled by the nice, snowy evening.

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Teddy and Piper were a little confused with our preoccupation with the things in our home, and I think we were all excited to have most of it put away again.

We still have our excessive amount of office supplies to tackle and condense, but I think that part will be fun (I can’t tell if I’m being sarcastic or honest).

Not letting possessions weigh us down is one of the main takeaways from living in our motorhome. We are excited to put that learning into practice in a space where things can (obviously) easily get out of control.

Here’s to making this place feel like home!

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