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Less Stuff And More Experience

As Published In Airstream Live Riveted
Less Stuff And More Experience

‘Live Riveted’ is about adventure, travel, the freedom to see and experience the world as you wish — tiny living embraces the realization that memories stick far closer to our hearts than the material possessions we accumulate along the way. We talked to full-time Airstreamer and Professional Organizer/Simplicity Coach Ramona Creel to gain her insight on ‘stuff vs. experiences’ and why more and more people are shifting their value system to focus on the moments in their lives rather than the things filling their shelves.

Why do you prefer experiences over things?

Stuff is transient. It breaks, wears out, becomes obsolete and has to be replaced. Experiences are forever. If you could have an unlimited amount of both, things might be okay. But most of us have limited resources, and are forced to make a choice between the two. And it’s not just a matter of money. Stuff also eats up time and storage space. It can distract from other priorities, keeping you from focusing on career goals, personal projects and relationships. It drains mental energy. How many times have you wasted limited brain power worrying about your things breaking or getting damaged or being stolen?

These are all precious and limited resources. Once they’re gone, you can’t get them back. So would you rather spend them embracing the world, its experiences and its inhabitants? Or accumulating more junk to dust, insure and lock up when you’re not home?

Do you ever miss the stability or consistency of a typical lifestyle?

No, because whenever I need that stability, I create a routine that allows for it. There are certain things that can’t easily be done while on the road, things like joining clubs and participating in regular weekly activities. So who says you can’t park it long enough in one area to have that? Full-timing doesn’t mean turning into a shark that dies when it stops moving. It means crafting a free and fulfilling lifestyle. Sometimes, that might involve roaming the earth in search of adventure. Sometimes, it more closely resembles the traditional way most folks live (just in a smaller space with less stuff and wheels). I’ve found myself involved in all manner of stationary activities over my years of full-timing like community bands, professional networking groups, theatrical productions and volunteer associations. I’m not missing out on a thing, having given up the brick-and-mortar life. It’s all about the choices you make.

What’s the best way to breaking attachments to the material?

I don’t think it’s about breaking attachments, it’s more about becoming aware of which attachments are real and meaningful, and which are just habit. I teach people to repeat a mantra every time they pick an item up, to ask themselves if it’s beautiful, useful or loved. If it is, then that’s a meaningful attachment. If not, then why are they keeping it? Guilt isn’t a good enough reason. Why hang onto something that makes you feel bad every time you look at it? Expense isn’t a good enough reason. Keeping it isn’t getting your money back. Sell it and recoup some of that financial loss. The fact that it was part of your previous life isn’t a good enough reason, unless it holds dear memories for you. Sure, some folks need to be given permission to let go of stuff that really doesn’t matter, but first, they have to figure out what does actually matter and what doesn’t.

Do you feel like your life is richer in this mode?

Absolutely! If I were still tied to the typical American dream of a mortgage and a 9-to-5 job, and everything that goes with it, I never would have experienced half the things I have on the road. And it’s not just because of the time and money, it’s because getting out in the world requires risk. It’s scary to leave everything everyone else claims to value behind in search of new horizons. In the end, it’s so much more fulfilling. When you come back to visit your parked-in-one-place friends later on, you’ll see how much they envy your life, how much they wish they had the courage to do what you’re doing. Tell them they can have it too, they just have to decide where their true priorities lie.

What have you learned from living a life full of experiences?

There’s always more life to live. More places to visit. More people to meet. More things to try. Stuff is finite. Experiences are infinite.

Wonderful insight! If you need Ramona’s help simplifying your life and learning to let go of excess clutter to make room for more travel, contact her!

Life can be richer, fuller and sometimes just a little more beautiful when we ditch the stuff and embrace the things that make life, life. It is up to us to slow down to smell the flowers, give away the clothes we hardly wear and choose to make meals with friends and family a priority. Wherever you are on the road, always remember to value the experiences that make life beautiful, and keep living a riveted life!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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