2 Old Hippies

Rules for Rummagers


When 2oldhippies were growing up, the term our parents used for searching for, digging around for, otherwise searching high and low for something, was called”rummaging.” Rummaging is sometimes unavoidable, sometimes pointless, sometimes a total waste of time.

We learned on our honeymoon camping trip to the Gaspe Peninsula nearly 30 years ago that to make rummaging as productive as possible, certain rules had to be set down and agreed to by all parties. On such an extended camping trip, absent said rules, we’d be spending a lot of time rummaging and not enough time enjoying it all. We bought a small blank booklet and developed “Rules for Rummagers.” (Actually, because we were in Quebec, we included the alternative title “Les Regles des Rummageurs.”)

We’ve added to the Rules over time as we’ve continued to live out of small places for extended periods: camping out of a car or canoe, navigating a French river in a small power boat, and now in the Westy. And frankly, the Rules apply pretty well when any two people live under the same roof in a small house and need to find/use the same household equipment.The rules do seem obvious, common-sensical even. The imporance is the agreement – this can reduce annoyance and aggravation, as well as the use of language that would make a sailor blush (as in: Where the @#%^   did you put the   *()@%(#&ing  !%*#*^ ??????

(Of course, as 2oldhippies get older, we do forget the rules, just as we often forget what we were looking for in the first place. The Rules cannot help you with that problem … Be patient with each other, is our only advice there.)

So, herewith, a few Rules for Rummagers:

1. Once there is agreement on where something is going to be stored, don’t move it. If you use something, put it back where you found it.

2. Rule #1 applies even if you later believe you have “found” a better place to put it.

3. When something new is acquired along the way that will be used frequently, decide and agree right away where it will be stored, and following #1.

4. Looking for something just to confirm that it’s still there is not legitimate rummaging; it’s either the aging process, or a touch of OCD or paranoia (take your pick). So cut it out; you are making ME nervous.

5. Do not rummage in other people’s stuff, no matter how interesting it looks. A corollary to this rule is keep your eyes on the road when you are behind a full pickup truck, because you’ll never get to rummage in that stuff anyway, even if you follow them home.

2oldhippies came up with some hacks to help enforce the rules and minimize some kinds of rummaging — such as, crocheting a lot of little bags to gather together stuff that belongs together, to keep it together and make retrieving it easier. One of our little bags contains everything necessary to make the coffee in the morning: filters, a miraculous collapsible silicon filter holder (the red thing to the left of the carafe in picture below), ground coffee, sugar, spoon, and coffee cups. No rummaging required early in the morning – everything needed is already in one place.

20140915_083247Another kit is my “going to the shower house” bag: small bottles of shampoo, body wash, face wash, razor and a poof in a net bag that can hang in the campground’s shower and then hang back in the Westy to dry out.

While we technically have room for suitcases or backpacks, getting in and out of them is a drag, and after a couple of days, there’s a lot of rummaging involved within those containers. I pack instead in small zipper packs (sometimes called packing cubes), and then stack them in the closet – one for underwear and socks, one for shirts, one for pants. Roll items up to make them easy to pick out. A separate one serves as a “dop kit” for toiletries. (Limiting yourself to a small amount of space for your stuff is a very good way to limit rummaging anyway….)


What are your Rules?


6 thoughts on “Rules for Rummagers

  1. when we went to Alaska in camper when kids were little, each person got a small cardboard box, like soda comes in after they cut the top off. that was for underwear and socks. (not enough drawers in camper). otherwise, we just shove shit wherever it fits. haha. didn’t expect that, did you?

  2. You and your mother used to rummage just to pass the time……

  3. I’m going to implement some of these here on the Homestead, especially #2. Drives me CRAZY when all are in agreement as to the resting place for the latest kit, only to find that SOMEONE has decided on a better place. Even more infuriating is when their idea is so much better than the original one 🙂

  4. 1. Know where the fire extinguishers are
    2. Take it seriously when someone says “Something smells hot!”

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