I just massacred my leg. It felt like I gouged that steel pipe to the bone and then ripped out the muscle and connective tissue. I froze, expecting to look down and see blood gushing everywhere.
There wasn’t any. I had a mild scrape, and a massive throb.
The source of my agony? A metal tubular frame over-the-toilet organizer. In pieces, and temporarily stored behind the bench seat at the dinette. It had canted to one side, and as I was going from the rear of the travel trailer to the mid-section, not much further than from my own rear to my mid-section, I had a close encounter of the painful but not maiming kind.
We can’t find anything, not even our own heads, as a result of over-stuffed clutter. What is the problem?
The problem is not wanting to do without “stuff.” As a result, even the stuff we didn’t get rid of or pack into the storage unit, we can’t find anything we need when we need it. I have been looking for a pair of crimping pliers that I KNOW I used in here in August, but haven’t seen since then. Where did they go? This place isn’t THAT big!
Books, tools, computer gear, a stereo still in the box we packed it in for the move, pots & pans, baking pans, clothes…this trailer was not meant for full time occupation, and there is nowhere to put anything that is easy to retrieve it from. To make it worse, both GM & I are pack rats by nature, and we keep too much stuff. I gripe at him about his clothes, tools, and receipts, he gripes at me about kitchen utensils, books, and bric-a-brac.
We can’t move the trailer because of it being overweight. We can’t hardly move in here because not only are WE overweight too, but there is so much stuff we can’t LIVE. And still, we cling to our stuff as though its going to save us from the Great Flood.
Winter is coming upon us faster than our gray hair, and we have got to figure this mess out. In the meantime, our tempers are short, and we find ourselves both blaming the other for everything, when in fact, it is our collective fault. I find myself wanting to escape the problem of where-do-we-put-it-all, and I’ll coax GM into taking me to fish for a bit and escape into the Great Outdoors a few miles away.
We have got to buckle down and get serious with this sorting the mess out, disposing of the items that we really and truly do not need, will not use, and cannot justify space for. Sooner or later, the money for the storage unit will become a load that we don’t want anymore, because how long can we afford to store that stuff before it has cost us more to keep used items than it would have cost us to buy new ones?
The camping gear is a serious sore point. It is bulky, and we DO live in a camper. However, when we indulge in “camping” with our friends, the travel trailer isn’t an option that will work there, as it is tent camping. So, over the years, I have accumulated 4 tents, 7 different camping stoves, 2 portable tables, a couple of portable chairs (which we also use for fishing or sitting around outside) a cooking box, two tool boxes that are used with the cooking gear, a cooler, and a food box that is restocked for each trip. The only solution I can think of in regards to that is to build a weatherproof storage box that perches on the back bumper of the trailer, somehow leaving room for a bicycle rack for our bicycles. The tool boxes, one of which is for beverages and the other for seasoning–work very well in campgrounds, and to be honest, with the storage problems inside the trailer, I’d love to move them indoors if I could figure out where to put them. It would put related items in a compact single location where I could find them again. They stack well, close securely, are largely rodent & insect proof, and have a handle for easy handling. Two of them together makes an efficient laptop desk or table for 2 too–I’ve done that often enough on camping trips!
Removing this horrible dinette that is uncomfortable and impossible for GM to get his feet around the leg would be a grand step towards livability. One bench hides the furnace, which we aren’t sure we want to eliminate yet, so that needs to stay. The other bench is an agony to sit on, and the table is bowed, wimpy, and inefficient for our lifestyle. I want a table that can be used as a desk, and maybe a flip-up table for our meals and meal prep. If we put in a sturdy table along the wall in the space that is currently used by the dinette, it would create a spacious desk space, and a desk or task chair would be incredibly comfortable after months of planting our behind at this dinette. Another similar desk could be put under the window on the opposite side of our tiny living area, where once-upon-a-time the sofa stood. We had taken it out because it was damaged, ugly, uncomfortable, and incredibly dirty. Part of the space is occupied by a shelving unit that is free-standing (and therefore has to have everything removed from it during travel.) The remaining space should offer about 4′ for a desk, and an additional desk chair…OR a laptop desk and a small recliner, which really might be more to GM’s preference, as he has issues with his back that create a lot of pain.
Either way, customizing our minimal space should give us a greater sense of individuality, the ability to work within our confined space, and less stress. It will enhance our relationship because we will both be happier with increased organization too. Our productivity will increase because we will both be able to work comfortably, which would enhance our financial situation, which will relieve stress and help to maintain a positive and optimistic outlook, which of course always helps in a relationship.
But I admit, there is something frightening about starting to disassemble a travel trailer from its stock state to a custom state, and probably further enhanced by fear that we won’t be able to finish the job or that we will regret the changes later. Doing it ourselves also means that we have to allot a full two days to achieve completion, and we’ll need clear weather for both of those consecutive days. That could be a problem, since we’ve procrastinated starting all through October, resulting in we’re now approaching the fall rainy season. Now…all I need to do is get the required wood from the local Lowe’s, figure out what we’re going to do with the bench seat that we can’t take out…and go on from there. I am thinking that building a shelving unit with cubbies might also solve the giant GM shoe issue (he wears size 14, and I about break my neck if I step on one). It would also encourage us both to remove our outdoor shoes and change into inside shoes, reducing the amount of dirt that is carried in.
This week is a dead issue–we have appointments and engagements for the next four days, and that’s all we’ll be able to accomplish over those four days. So that means on Monday we’ll start our big project. GULP!