Years ago, in an article on simply living, I read that most people only use 20% of the stuff in their homes, 80% of the time. Or maybe it was even less, like 15% of the stuff. In contemplating our next step, I'm wondering how much (how little) stuff I can honestly live with. How much will it take to function easily, to live happily? I've been thinking about the things I will miss about living in a house...at first I thought of all of the storage cupboards in a house. Then I thought about all of the things in those cupboards that really don't get used, like the food processor I've used twice because it doesn't seem to take any longer to chop things by hand when you consider the time it takes to set the thing up, use it and clean it. A well-stocked pantry, but I really only use 20% of the stuff in there. It would be a good challenge for me to plan our meals so much better that we only buy what we will actually use. What else will I miss? The space in the house where the kids can run up and down the hall? No,- compared to the space of the great outdoors that's not a consideration, except maybe in rainy weather when we could find a museum or library to go to anyway. Hot running water? - yes, that would be nice but it won't take long to boil water for doing the dishes. A bathtub? - yeah, but not really necessary if we're swimming in the ocean or river most days.
I could not find any "thing" that I would actually miss about living in a house. (And I certainly won't miss the cleaning or the bills!) So I looked a bit deeper. What feeling does a house give me? .. A sense of security. This is the one niggling little point that has been in the back of my mind, making me just a tad uncomfortable. This adventure is challenging that notion, but it's good. The fact that this house is made of bricks and I can lock it up makes me feel that we are safe and so is our stuff. Are we really? Anyone could easily break in through a window. That kind of thing is very rare in this area though. But when we're travelling, would the threat of crime be different?
After hours of research and phone calls, we decided to buy a little pop-up camper. We drove an hour away to look at one that sounded good, liked it, decided to buy it and negotiated a price. The owner agreed and, as it was Sunday about 3pm, we said we would meet on Monday morning after going to the bank. He called us about 8am on Monday morning to say that he'd already sold it for more money. We were PO'd! He'd given us his word. He should have had the decency of at least letting us match the offer. Anyway, it wasn't meant to be and perhaps he did us a favour. We started reconsidering the whole camper idea and thought maybe we should just do a tent for a while. We'll still keep our eyes open for a camper, and if it's meant to be, there will be one. Otherwise, we'll do a big tent until Cary can have a very nice camper sent over from the USA.
Would I feel more secure in a camper because we can lock it up? Am I kidding myself? Would I be concerned about someone stealing our stuff out of a tent that can't be locked up? Am I showing a complete lack of Trust in God and my fellow man? ...Oh, maybe that's my lesson for today - Trust.
Most of our personal stuff will be in storage until we are ready to go back to living in a house where we can again have our photo albums in a closet where they rarely get looked at, and the boxes of sentimental things sitting in the garage collecting dust, but can also have some of our pretty, special things decorating the home, reminding us of friends we've known and places we've been. In the meantime, things with a high personal value, should be 'safe' in storage.
So I come around again to wondering just how much or how little we can live with, especially if it's in a tent. Considering the needs of two adults and 3 children - clothing, cooking, toys etc. I need to keep it simple and I won't take anything that can't be easily replaced. I need to release the attachment to the things we do take, or it could attract the very situation I am currently concerned about.
I trust that I can do it!