Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shifting Gears

No, this is not about mechanical things. It is about how things tend to reach a critical mass which results in a sudden dramatic change.  It seems to be a necessary part of the steps of life to occasionally “shift gears” in order to move along at a better pace or in another direction.

In this case, the critical mass is the contents of Dakotr. What is in here and where it is placed in this 400 square feet of domicile is a combination of what was in hand and where I was when I put it down.  I have already talked about the PIBWIB days (Put It Back Where It Belongs) that must come around occasionally, to restore “in use” items to their proper resting areas. But when loading a place with things for a new lifestyle there are a lot of questions of where “the best place” is for any particular item to be kept.

Obviously, Kitchen stuff should go in the kitchen, bath stuff, in the bathroom, etc. but the combination of limited storage spaces in those areas along with no real experience in this lifestyle there is little sense of how often an item might be used and how “handy” it should be. Early on in our preparations it was clear that there needed to be offline storage areas for things that were not used often enough to keep them close at hand all the time.  For instance, some kitchen items might be for use only at Christmas time so why keep then in the way the rest of the whole year?

We have lived in DakotR for two years so we have gained some experience with our patterns of use of various objects. Some were moved from the house about the time we moved but many were acquired after we discovered a need or an oversight of a future need for them. When brought into Dakotr they were usually put in a seemingly obvious “handy” place but time has shown that they did not need to be that handy and those spaces would be a better spot for things that really did need to be more readily available when needed.

If the use of the whole of the storage spaces in DakotR is looked at as a progression of convenience then each item has a place of specific priority based on its real value in being “handy”.  Each item that is not in its best location for its use is both in the way as well as preventing something else from being “handier” if placed in that spot. Each of these inconveniences adds a tiny bit more energy to the growing mass of disconvenience. At some point, the disconvenience will quietly convert to inconvenience which initiates a wave of functional frustration that carries a conscious element of discomfort. 

it is important to note that until the disconvenience of not quite having items in the perfect spot becomes pure conscious inconvenience, they will still subtly affect the attitudes and comfort factors of life in the RV.

Imagine that one day, for simple and perhaps short sighted reasons, one chooses to “fix” a small inconvenience. This could be as small a thing as cleaning out the proverbial (and ever present) kitchen junk drawer because it is so full things occasionally stick up and prevent the drawer from opening or closing smoothly.  A choice is made to just take out whatever keeps jamming things up and put it somewhere better. Once removed from the drawer there are only two things that can be done with it. It can be thrown away and life will move on as usual or it can be put somewhere else.

If the disconvenience factor has grown sufficiently, the latter choice may initiate a chain reaction of placements and relocations of other items to make space for them. If enough disconvenience has already converted to inconvenience in enough different storage areas, their contents may be removed enmasse to also be relocated to better spaces.

At this point, critical mass has been reached and a “big bang” will quickly take place. The result may look something like this:



I know this was the long way around to point out that things change because we don’t have perfect foresight and it takes us awhile to catch-on that not all is alright. It is easy to quickly find oneself in the middle of reorganizing many items and whole spaces all at one time just to make the kitchen junk drawer close smoothly.

If I had any sense I would just have thrown the offending item away…. but I didn’t.



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