Downsizing from a residential home to a smaller space or RV / Trailer / Camper is no easy task, especially when you are facing years of accumulation and collection to wade through. But don’t let the seemingly overwhelming chore of liquidation stop you from enjoying the liberation of RV living! Once you start to purge your household possessions, your separation anxiety will pass and you’ll begin to see your RVing lifestyle reality approaching on the horizon!
The sooner you start downsizing your belongings for RV living, the sooner you’ll be enjoying carefree days free from stress and clutter! Tiny Houses are popping up around the country as more and more people are looking to downsize their lives. While the structures often measure less than 300 feet, the tiny house movement isn’t necessarily about sacrifice. With thoughtful, innovative designs, some homeowners have discovered a small house or Class A RV actually leads to a simpler and fuller life, connecting them with family, friends and nature while freeing them from mortgages and an urge to keep up with the Joneses.
There are many reasons — beyond pure economics — to consider downsizing your RV. For one, as we age, medical conditions can become part of the equation. Stairs alone can become a problem. Many large luxury coaches and 5th wheel trailers require 3, 4, even 5 steps up in order to enter the unit or gain access to the bedroom and bathroom.
RV storage might be another reason to downsize. In the off-season, a small RV may fit right in your driveway, or even in the garage. But if you need to rent storage space, you lose the convenience of having your RV close by and easily accessible.
Full time RVing promises the kind of flexibility and independence that’s hard to find elsewhere. But making the jump from being a weekend warrior to spending more extending periods of time in your RV means changing your lifestyle, so it’s important to take your time and consider what’s right for you and your family. Here are some of the bigger considerations you’ll need to take into account.
Mentally prepare yourself for the task of RV living
While getting rid of most of the things you own is an undertaking I don’t think anyone can fully prepare for, I do believe you can get close. For many, it was fairly easy to flip the mental switch; but for some, letting go of things and personal possessions (especially sentimental things) can be a very tough job.
Step by step downsizing
For simplicity’s sake, I’ve listed four groups of things that you will need to examine:
- Clothes and Shoes
- Kitchen and Household Items
- Files, Papers and Office Items
- Tools and Garage Items
Each group of belongings contains subgroups: necessities to be packed into your RV, items that would be nice to have if there is room and items that you just will not need.
Downsizing to Smaller Living Quarters
Once you have made the decision to be a full time RVer, you are faced with the major project of downsizing from your “sticks and bricks” home to an RV. Even if you live in a modest, two bedroom, 1,000 square foot home, downsizing to an RV might be overwhelming.
The tips I’ve given here will be useful if you are downsizing from a house to an RV or from a house to much smaller living quarters. You will still need to make careful selections of what to keep, what to store and what to toss.
Organize messed up things
Organization is the key ingredient to keeping your sanity during this process. Break down the process into manageable chunks to make it less overwhelming. Here are some useful tips on how to start organizing for the move and how to downsize your belongings.
Rather than tackle your house as a whole, think of major groups of belongings that you will need to downsize. As you make your decisions, keep in mind the space you will have available in your RV storage compartments.
Be Realistic When Downsizing Clothes!
This can seem like an overwhelming task, but unless you will be working a job that requires dressy clothes, you can probably pare down your wardrobe drastically. I suggest that you make four piles of clothes starting with the stack that you will take with you.
Basic casual clothes will be the most useful, but in limited quantities. Don’t pack ten pairs of jeans or dozens of t-shirts when three or four will do!
- light weight slacks
- tee and knit shirts
- a few button up shirts
- one dressy outfit each with appropriate shoes.
- fleece jacket and windbreaker
- sweat shirt or sweater
- bathing suit and cover-up
- knit cap and gloves
- sweatpants and shirt
- night clothes
- hiking boots
- athletic shoes
- a pair of dress shoes
- Crocks or shower shoes
Ready to say goodbye
Now that you have a clear idea of what you will be keeping and all that you’re going to be saying goodbye to, there are a couple of ways that you can get the clutter out of your sight. The options that require the most effort are typically the options that will reap the biggest reward. What better way to begin your new full time RVing quest than with a pocket full of cash from all of your unwanted items? But whether you sell, donate, or throw away, the real reward is having the freedom to live without being restricted by what you own!
Have a Garage Sale
Having a garage sale requires a certain amount of effort, but it is a great way to get rid of your goods in a hurry! By placing your for-sale items in the yard with price stickers, you will draw in crowds who are eager to give your old possessions a brand new life! In addition to the benefits of letting your belongings be re-purposed and recycled, you also get the bonus benefit of racking up some cash before your RV adventure begins!
Online Ads to Sell your Items
The Internet is a great tool for connecting with potential buyers who are interested in what you have to offer. Online resources like Facebook groups or Craigslist will allow you to post an ad highlighting what you have for sale, and those interested in buying can easily message you for more details. With nothing more than a camera, computer, and keyboard, you can downsize your belongings without having to go through the hassle of hauling everything outside for a garage sale.
Donate your belongings to prep for RV Living
Let’s be real, after the laborious and long struggle of downsizing, the extra effort to get rid of your unwanted items can simply be too much. Donating your belongings is another great way to say goodbye without having to break a sweat. While you won’t get any money in exchange for your goods when you donate, you will get a quick and simple ending to a downsizing ordeal that may have just wiped you clean out of energy!