Friday, November 5, 2010


Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife has a terrible weight problem. I am trying to change her lifestyle in an effort to reduce her weight. It has started to affect our motorhome mileage. We travel several months of the year and she feels she has to bring half of our worldly possessions along on every trip. I have debated with her endlessly about the seemingly needless paraphernalia she totes along and never uses. It all falls on deaf ears. When I start in on a discussion of reduction she takes her hearing aid out and refuses to participate. We haul bikes we never ride, a sewing machine never plugged in, extra pots, pans and iron skillets that never boil or fry anything. The list goes on. I am at my wits end. How can I persuade her to leave some of this anchor accumulation in port when we sail off down the road? It takes me several miles to get up to speed and I avoid mountain passes like the plague.
 --Lead Bottom in Leavenworth

Dear Lead Bottom:
With a heavy heart I read of your dilemma. Some individuals are born pack rats. I think you may have married one. It is my guess that you realized this trait in your wife long before you had a motorhome. Carrying too much weight can be not only an expensive mistake, but a safety issue. I would do a few things immediately. First approach the subject from a safety viewpoint and not from that of a minimalist. Then slip her a copy of Walden by Thoreau. if that helps, follow up with The Zen of Decluttered Packrattery. Watch the old “I Love Lucy” trailer episode with Lucy sneaking her rock collection into the trailer when Desi isn’t looking. All of these subtle tactics should have a cumulative impact. You may see your wife begin to streamline her packing to a more frugal level of organization. In the meantime you might want to make sure your holding tanks are as empty as you can keep them. Liquid is heavy and emptying your tanks will help you balance out your wife’s perceived necessities and save on gas. Also, be sure your brakes are up to snuff. 
After exhausting all good faith efforts you will eventually have to say, “Enough is enough” and start throwing out ballast if you expect to rise from this dilemma. Motorhome obesity is the number one killer on steep, curvy, mountain roads. Your wife needs to understand the gravity of this situation. You may have to put your wife on a Weight Watcher program. Stop at every truck weigh station you come across and point out to her your above average scale ticket. It really comes down to health and safety issues. You need to balance this issue out before your next departure. 
 --Keep Smilin’ Dr. R. V. Shrink



Anonymous said...

Extra weight can take quite a toll on your tires, too. A blowout could damage your motorhome, endanger your safety, lead to costly repairs, and interfere with your travel plans.

Anonymous said...

It is not just us ladies that have the packrat syndrome. My dear hubs has two bays full of tools, bottles of various cleaners, an inflatable raft that has never held air, fishing poles that never fish, and other assorted stuff rescued from the garage we left behing when we went fulltiming. I also deal with his instance that all his t-shits be hung on hangers rather than folded which limits MY closet space considerably. This road goes both ways and I have tried the safety plea to little avail. *Sigh*.

Knows the feeling
Fulltimer snowbirding in Texas

Anonymous said...

Lucy and Ricky fought over the rock collection in a full-length movie "The Long, Long Trailer", not in an episode of "I Love Lucy". The movie is a great comedy suitable for any RVer's DVD collection.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I take at least one lengthy trip a year and I will admit that I bring along a lot more than is necessary.

I have some emotional need to make my motorhome my HOME. It provides me comfort. It is frightening to me to realize that something important to me will not be here IF (not when) I need it and it's pretty impossible to decide what my needs will be over the next several months. Will I be into cooking, crafting, music or sewing? I don't know! Better bring it all!

I don't know if this is a legit packrack situation or an emotional need to have her things with her comfort but, whatever the reason, "reasoning" with books and movies likely won't help. didn't with me. And I felt beaten up and overly criticized.

Here is my suggestion: Pick a couple (not all) of the heavier items that she doesn't use and, instead of an ultimatum, offer her a solution. Tell her that if she absolutely needs a sewing maching during your trip, you will buy her one. If she absolutely must cook with 40 lbs of cast iron, then you'll find her a couple pieces on the road so she can make her favorite recipes.

Start slow. After that trip proves successful, then do another item.

And, husband, you do the same! Let her see that you are compromising too because we are all guilty of over packing from time to time.

Your wife has a psychological need to bring things from home that give her comfort. You're not going to change that. But, if you think of a to COMPROMISE and not just WIN, you both could come out of this with a less weighty rig and less frazzled nerves.

And, surprise her with flowers on your next trip. They weigh nothing and it will make her feel homey and loved she will know that you care.

She isn't being stubborn or insensitive. This is something deeper and you need to a different approach.

Good luck.