Monday, June 11, 2012

RV Family Problems

Dear R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I have been traveling for a couple years and have now decided we like this RV lifestyle enough to pull the pin and sell our home. The problem is we have many family heirlooms that we just can't sell. We have been cultivating our detachments for several months, but there are many family items we just can't part with. Is this a common problem? How should we handle the family jewels? --Family Problems in Florida

Dear Family:
These items are called heirlooms for a reason. You give them to your heirs. Now sounds like a great time to do that. Another way to handle it is to pretend you're dead. Now that you're dead, what is going to become of the family heirlooms? That should give you some direction as to where they will end up.

Another more expensive option is storage. For those on the fence in deciding whether full-timing is for them or not, storage seems to be the better choice. You may decide to drop anchor again, buy a house and furnish it. At that time you may miss the family heirlooms. A combination of these ideas would be to let your heirs store them for you for a couple years. You may have a family member that has extra storage room or may want to use some of the items in their home. If you don't have any heirs, turn these items into oral history. Sell them at an auction and tell stories about them for the rest of your life. I know how you feel. It is hard to give up things that have good memories attached to them.

My dad had stuff. My mother always said he would go to the dump with one load and come back with two. When he died he had three generations of stuff. I had a yard sale just so older people would stop by and tell me what some of the items were. Even though we live full time in a motorhome, we still have a small place for stuff. You might consider down-sizing. We have a beautiful natural piece of property, low taxes and one of the best campsites in Michigan. We come back a couple months every year to regroup. I enjoy being able to work on the rig and have all my tools handy. It is surprising how each year things become less valuable to you. It's like throwing out ballast to keep the balloon airborne. Think of this as an opportunity to be creative with your lifestyle. Don't do anything rash. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. Take your time and consider all your options before deciding what is most important to you.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink



Linda Johnson said...

Take photos of your stuff and keep the photos with you so you can look at them whenever you want to, and dispose of the stuff itself.

Anonymous said...

We let the kids choose what things they wanted, but a few pieces we were not ready to let go of. Did the storage thing. After 9 years on the road purchased a park model for winter use and now we have these things around us again and are glad we kept them. Our kids are not really great at taking care of things....

Girldawg1 said...

There are some psycological issues; not only do we have a personal attachment to the "stuff", but it becomes an extension of ourselves. Some stuff is painful to part with. You could bring some "stuff" with you and sell at the flea markets while you travel. We're not in this situation (yet!) of having to downsize to living just in the RV, but I agree with "passing things down." If you give while you live you know where it goes. I see great potential of more folks living in RVs as the housing situation isn't improving. A house isn't a good investment anymore. But whenever I have to consider the possibity of this I remember George Carlin saying "if we didn't have all this "stuff", we'd just be out walking around!"

Anonymous said...

Do you own the heirlooms, or do the heirlooms own you? Make a decision on that point.

Marilyn said...

We kept things in storage for several years until we wondered why are we paying all this $ for this stuff? We emptied the storage locker and only kept about 1/8 of it that is now being stored at our daughters house. We found as time goes on that some of the things we thought we so important ended up not to be. We gave a lot of things to our friends and we see them when we visit them.
If you feel unconformable loosing
your things then store them until you feel better about it.

Anonymous said...

Another option would be to donate them to a museum, where they would be labeled and enjoyed by many more people. Then you could "visit" your things once in a while. In the interim you could look at your photos, just as Linda Johnson suggested.

Jerry X Shea said...

There is great joy in "downsizing" while you are alive. When we went full timing we took everything out of our house (and rented it)and gave them to our kids. When we go to visit, there is our big flat screen TV, chairs and couch, beds, our painting are now on their walls, etc. As someone stated above - if your dead what happens. Give them away now and enjoy seeing them when you visit. We also gave back "gifts" that other had given us over the years. Folks understood and so greatful that we did not just sell them at a garage sale. P.S. If you have any "extra" money that you can do with out (will not cut into your retirement) give it to you kids now so you can see them enjoy paying of CC, or get new tires for their car, or even a new car. Why wait till your dead - see them enjoy your gift now.