How much is too much stuff?
It is insidious, appears to breed and multiply on its own, gets hidden in nooks and crannies, hits you on the head on bumpy roads, and falls to the floor – tripping you on your way to the bunk. It causes you to misuse money, call home and yell at your spouse, and can get you an overweight ticket. Can you guess what it is?

Give up? It is too much stuff.

By Sandy Long, OOIDA life member, Marceline, MO

I am a somewhat disorganized person. Cannot remember whether I have an extra deodorant or shampoo, or what canned goods I have on the truck when I go to the store. So I end up with two extra cans of deodorant, three extra bottles of shampoo and too many groceries. I am always in a hurry when I get back to the truck from the store and just stick the stuff I have bought into whatever space I can find.

This was really brought home to me when I changed jobs several years ago.

I had been in the same truck for more than three years and brought it home to clean it out and up.

Starting with the nook above the driver’s seat closest to the roof, I pulled out partial bags of the sugarless candy I like, a partial bag of dog treats, six packs of loose-leaf logs, an old logbook from ’01, various items like hand cream, seals, and half a carton of stale cigarettes.

This was in addition to all the stuff that I use all the time like my atlas, permit book, DOT manual, pen bag and extra box of tissues.

The sleeper was like a found treasure trove of forgotten unread books, missing socks, old crossword puzzle books, lost screwdrivers and little wrenches from that time my tool case fell over – and, thank God, the mate to a lonely single silver and turquoise earring of a set that I have had for more than 20 years.

You might think I bought out a grocery store with all the canned goods I had in the truck. You know those little pull carts you see little old ladies use to take home their groceries?

Yeppers, mine was full up.

Then there were the clothes. I always tried to carry enough for three weeks. Hate doing laundry at the truck stops, don’t you? Then of course, we have to carry clothes for different weather conditions, don’t we? No wonder my drawers were empty at home.

The miscellaneous stuff was just as bad. Baby wipes and of course the refills. You just cannot truck these days without baby wipes. Plenty of cleaning supplies – would you believe six rolls of paper towels? Extra windshield washer liquid, a bottle of dish soap for those pesky buggy windshields and greasy hands, tool box, bedding (two blankets and a comforter along with my three pillows), several bungee cords, a piece of rope and of course a 4-foot-long crowbar that I inherited from some receiver that left it (unbeknownst to me until I was 150 miles away) in my trailer.

It took me almost three hours to get all the stuff packed up and carried into the house. Then came the hard part, sorting it all out to see what I wanted to take with me to the new job and truck.

When I went to the new job, got through orientation and was assigned my new ride, I was a little embarrassed when the safety director asked me if I was ever going to finish loading my stuff.

I made a vow I’ve kept to this day: Every time I’m home I take out the books that were read, audio books listened to, and any other miscellaneous stuff I accumulated while on the road.

And I put them away in the house, too.

Furthermore, I vowed to keep a running inventory on usable stuff like shampoo and paper towels so I wouldn’t buy so many extras that I didn’t need yet, saving not only money but space.

While I was pondering my plan, I watched a driver clean his stuff out of his truck to move into a new one. He was loading his stuff into the back of a pickup truck,  and it was piled up to the roof of the cab. Now that was waaay too much stuff. LL