Tuesday, November 15, 2016

11/15/16-Behind the Scenes of “How to Declutter Your Van”

I have started a new YT series, My Life asA Vandweller. It’s meant to give you a glimpse of my life out here as a fulltime boondocker. The videos will air each Friday and will be 2-3 minutes long, short and sweet. I know it is shameless on my part, but please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you have not done so already.

My first in the series was “How to Declutter Your Van.”

Here’s the behind the scene stuff....

While in Pahrump, NV for a few weeks, I had pulled a lot of stuff out of my van so my good friend Bob Wells could make a video of my new and improved interior - complete with insulation. I’ll let you know when that airs on his channel, but in the meantime I encourage you to sub to his YT channel (here) and follow his blog (here), if you have not done so already. After you’ve signed up for my YT channel and blog of course. ;))

But I digress....

So, a lot of “stuff” is out on the ground for the shoot. I checked the weather and we had clear skies predicted for the next 3 days. Perfect! (I said to myself.) I’ll just pull everything out and do the much needed culling I’ve been putting off.

And I’ll make it a part of my video series too! Double Perfect!


Clouds rolled in.

Lots of them. Unpredicted. It rained for 3 straight days.

All I could do was cover up everything I owned with tarps. Literally everything I owned was outside in that mess except for electronics and food – which was still inside – thankfully! I got little to no sleep for those 2 nights. With every gust of wind or every heavy downpour, all I could do was shine a flashlight and wonder how much of my stuff was I going to lose.

That was not the way I had planned on culling at all!

Fortunately, I didn’t lose very much, but it was enough that I cried – 3 lawn and leaf bags worth. Some things I lost due to the rain I never wanted to let go of. None of that was discussed in the video. The show must go on, right?

After going to the laundromat and washing anything fabric that had been outside (and was sopping wet) - all my clothes, linens, coats, dog beds, etc., I spent the next 2 days doing the Yes|No|Maybe piles as shown in the video. In the middle of all that, fellow vandweller Al, thought he would surprise me with a funny. The sign he gave me really did crack me up, and gave me a much needed smile. I just had to include it in the video.

Al of Rolling Steel Tent

I don’t have very good pics yet of the inside of my van, my home. I think you’ll get to see more of that when I do a series video on the insulation. In the meantime, the photo below is the closing clip in the video. I want to take this opportunity to thank my good friend Robert for doing such a wonderful job on the videos, and for taking this pic of my van and my beautiful ridgy, Nonni.

It’s a good life out here. See you down the road!


It took me 7 full days to cull, clean and get my van back in order. As mentioned, I spent 3 of those days inside looking out at my things getting pelted under tarps. I think that would be stressful and arduous for anyone. For me, with my brain injury, it was catastrophic.

Every time I do any upgrade or remodel to my van, it gets harder and harder to get it all back in. The task of tying up the loose ends is daunting and growing increasingly more difficult. I think it is safe to say that I almost didn't make it this time.

It's not just a matter of getting overwhelmed. I literally can't do it. My brain freezes when it sees all of my stuff out of place. I never used to be like this, but I think it must be a lot like what those with OCD experience. My things have to be in a specific place or I can't function.

An example: My friend Bettie has lost the majority if not all of her eyesight. I stayed with her a few days quite some time ago. I would absentmindedly move something and it was very stressful for her when it wasn't where it was supposed to be. It could be something as simple as putting the napkins on the wrong side of the counter, but I felt like a jerk every time!

So now, here I am, moving things on my own accord, and messing my own systems up. That kinda makes me an OCD blind jerk, of sorts (humor intended). Not only did seeing my things out of place mess me up, it was also painful trying to function during those 7 days with everything out of place. I get that when anyone remodels and their house is messed up that it can be stressful, but for me it was literally painful. My head felt like it was going to explode and I had many nose bleeds. Maybe one day a neuro can explain this to me. So far, all I get from the docs about symptoms like this is something along the lines of - the brain is complex and we may never fully understand it.

I'm grateful to my doctors for what they have done for me. I would be remiss if I did not say that. And I'm grateful they were able to finally give me a correct diagnosis that led to my surgery and yadda yadda yadda, AND I look forward to the day when they can tell me what's going on up there.

I got past all of that and then had to deal with putting everything back in. I won't be able to do that again. I often mention my "seizures" and I've tried to be real clear that they're not really "seizures" as most people identify seizures as behaving. My official diagnosis is Impact-induced Hippocampal Sclerosis (HS) that produces Mesial Temporal Sclerosis with complex partial focal seizures that include staring and/or blackout spells with or without reduced or full consciousness. Say that 3x fast.

Basically it means that my seizures include blackouts which equates to loss of time. I may or may not function during those times but I most certainly will not remember. It is SO frustrating. Stress brings it on more than anything. And please know that it doesn't just happen without warning. It's kind of like your laptop that is running low on battery power. You have plenty of pop-up windows warning you that the battery is getting low, then the lights dim and finally no one's home. It doesn't just happen. So, what does that have to do with putting my van back together?

Everything has a place. And, everything in it's place. Only it wasn't. It was total chaos and mayhem. I had to pick up each piece, clean it and bring it back in and put it somewhere. I lost time, many times, and it took forever. I'm sure those in camp were wondering why the heck doesn't she get her stuff back inside? I couldn't. Days turned in to nights and I can't tell you what I did in between, but the whole time I was working on getting my van back in order. It will probably be the last remodel or upgrade or cull that I do. All the King's horses and all the King's men probably won't be able to help me next time.


I did it. And if I can do it, you can too. Let it go. Don't hold on to things. It's just stuff.

I've been on the road a little over a year now (since 10/08/15), and I started off with an air mattress and a sleeping bag on the floor, a whole bunch of totes and a few drawers. I have a wonderful home now and have very few needs, if any. I want a tiny refrigerator which will mean one day getting solar panels on my roof, but if my things have to be moved to accomplish that, it probably won't happen. And that's okay.

It's a good life out here. I'm grateful for the added time it has given me to live and love and laugh. I'll see you down the road!


  1. Its amazing how much we find out we don't really need with us on the road to be truly happy!! I have twice the amount of room you have, and I am still getting rid of "stuff"!! I admire anyone living in a van full time, cause I know I just could not do it!! But I admire you more cause you are doing it with 2 dogs, AND doing it well with the TBI!! Someday, you will get the solar you need, then you will get the fridge you need.....I think you should start a GoFundMe and get those things now!!

    1. It is funny how much "stuff" we accumulate even in tiny homes isn't it? Thank you for your kind words John. No Go Find Me for me. I'll get mine when it's my time to have it and until then we're good. Blessed. :)) Congrats on your solar buddy! That is awesome!

  2. OK.. just letting you know, I read it. Good job.

  3. Looking forward to meet you at he RTR. Am leaving Boise ID on the 28th of Nov.

    1. Thanks and good for you Art! Safe travels!


I love to hear from my wonderful readers.
Please subscribe! Thank you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.