Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Losing My Stuff

I haven't really done any further work on the camper since the last post, I've mostly been trying to sell my house and prepare to move out.  Actually, I've already sold it twice!  I accepted, then lost two offers the first weekend the house went on sale.  The realtor says to just be patient so that's what's going on along the "Getting out of the homeowner business" front.

Twenty years ago when I moved into this house I had what was a pretty good-sized mound of possessions.  Furniture, fitness equipment, pictures and wall decorations, clothes, books, sporting equipment, all the then eight-year-old daughter's toys, clothes, holiday decorations, stereo and televisions, on and on!  After twenty more years of unabashed "Oooooo....I need that!" consumerism the amount of "stuff" I've managed to accumulate is kind of shocking, even if a good portion of it hasn't been used in years (decades).

                                   Wonder what the market is for 30-year-old Rossi's?

The problem (at least one of them) I face is how do you unload this stuff in an ethical, environmentally sound way?  Getting any return value would be nice but, seriously, someone is going to buy this place soon (I hope) and expect me and my "junk" to be elsewhere at some specific date.  Yikes!  I've been doing a lot of research into how to accomplish downsizing my inventory of marginally useful possessions and I've come up with the following list that hopefully can help others trying to accomplish something similar in their lives.


None of my family lives close to me except my sister in Austin and she gives ME stuff so while this didn't work for me it's quite possible you might have family members you could "gift" that old set of golf clubs to.  Worth a try.


One of my friends friend has offered to buy my dining room set after my friend let them know it was available.... Yay!  Storage square footage greatly reduced and green paper coming in....Win!


My great next door neighbors are buying my sectional sofa, a huge piece of furniture I know longer will need no matter where I end up! 

                                             They don't build 'em like this anymore!

 Goodwill Industries International logoMy daughter and I donated several pickup beds full of items to Goodwill and I encourage everyone who can afford it to do so also.  Goodwill employs many individuals who have disabilities and that is very cool!

The Freecycle Network Remember back in college at the end of term when people would create a "Freestore" where everyone offered up all the stuff they didn't want to take with them?  I recently discovered Freecycle.  It's an exchange where people who need things in your area post it on freecycle.org and if you have the item in need and are willing to give it away you email the poster and they drive over to your house and <poof> it's gone.  You can also post things that you WANT to give away and people will respond and come get the items.  I can't guarantee the item won't end up on EBay but, hey, you got rid of it, right?  No money ever is exchanged on Freecycle, everything is free.

City Electronic Recycling 

As a former IT guy there were five to six complete PC's in various condition along with monitors and sundry computer parts in my house.  You aren't supposed to throw that stuff in the garbage.  Fortunately I live near Houston and the city runs an electronic recycling center that takes equipment like I had for free!  Some cities charge up to $20 per PC so free is a great deal!  Big disposal problem goes away!

So that's what I've been doing.  It's hard to get rid of all the stuff that some wacko (me) worked so diligently for the last 30 years to amass but I'm chipping away at it.    Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Changes

I've come to discover that owning an RV is a continuous improvement process.  It seems every time I go camping something occurs to suggest improvements or additional desirable capabilities.  I have rediscovered the fun of mountain biking.  Even though my bike is a Wally World "Special" it's still fun and great exercise.  My first couple camping runs I put the bike INSIDE the camper to transport it.  I wised up and installed a ladder bike rack that can hold two bikes if needed. 

                                                And I can still open the camper door!

The camper has a compartment that is designed to hold a microwave over the stove top, there's a outlet inside for plugging it in and everything.  I decided to forgo a microwave and thus far haven't missed one.  Since cabinet space is at such a premium I put a shelf in the compartment that effectively doubles the "square footage" of it's capacity.

                         It comes out if I wimp out and decide in favor of the microwave.

The closet in the camper is all of six inches wide.  To increase the hanger capacity I put a dowel rod in the bathroom that increases hung clothes capacity by about 500%.

                                  A place to hang all my suits and dinner jackets!

On the truck side of things, the camper weighs 2200 lbs "dry".  The Silverado can carry 3600 pounds so there's a lot more load that potentially would be attempted to be controlled by the springs and shocks.  Going down the road the pickup would "porpoise" up and down after encountering dips when under full load so I had Roadmaster Active Suspension installed in the back of the truck.  It's a really strong coil spring that sits on top of the leaf springs that "pulls" them back quickly when they flex.

                                  Bye bye, Flipper....no more porpoising!

Finally, off subject but please meet my friend Becky.  Weeks ago Becky (an avid camper) committed to camping over Spring Break at Valley Creek SP north of Beaumont with me.  Then she had to undergo a operation on her foot and so you'd assume that, like a sensible person, she'd have canceled, right?

                                                     Becky the trooper!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


So I've been using the last week to make some improvements to the soon-to-be-home camper.  It's six years old and this decal on the front was faded and fried by the sun so....

                                                             No es muy bueno!

I spent about 5 hours removing it, first with a 3-M erasure disk that goes on an electric drill, then with solvents and a scraping knife (ouch!).  Then I painted over the "ghost" image with paint that I imagine the sun will quickly fade so that it matches the rest of the faded plastic.

                                                           A little better.

The camper came with a queen mattress which, while very comfortable, was also VERY large.

                                                            Comfy queen.

I figure by replacing it with a memory foam twin (firm) I can utilize the saved space for additional storage by putting in three or four of those large plastic bins you see in stores.  (Don't have the bins yet.)

                                                    Memory mattress!

My old solar charge controller was a very basic model that came "free" with my solar panel.  It was so basic I couldn't even tell how much of a charge my battery had.  So I went up the food chain a little and bought a MPPT-type controller (Google MPPT controller if you have an hour to kill)


It came with a display that I mounted near the rest of my controls that provides tons more info on how the battery is charging, charge level, lots of stuff!

                                                       Quiet!  We have the game on!

Wow this is getting really long!  I'll post some of the other improvements in the next entry.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jumping off the cliff

Well this is a fine mess I've gotten myself into......ha!  Yesterday I sawed the limb I'd ventured out on off and accepted an offer on my home of 20 years. 


 For the first time in over 35 years I'm not a home/townhouse owner!  When the sale closes in early April I won't have anywhere to live except my beloved camper.

                                              Hmmm....where does my dining room set go?