Downsizing to an RV can be very stressful. If you’ve lived in a house for a while, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff. We’ve lived in our RV with our 5 kids for 8 years now and these are a few of our best tips for downsizing to an RV.
When we initially downsized to an RV, we were living in a 3,000 sq ft home and had so much stuff to deal with. This blog is here to give you tips on how to systematically go about making your belongings fit into an RV and to help you avoid mindlessly wandering around the housing, scratching your head at what to do.
Minimize The Furniture
Let’s start with the biggest thing in your house, your furniture. The simplest thing to do with all your heavy, cumbersome couches, cabinets, and tables is to sell them.
Selling on sites like Craigslist, Etsy, and Facebook is very easy to set up, and although the buyers themselves can range from friendly, to shady, to downright odd, you’ll still be left with quite a bit of extra money in your pocket.
If however, you can’t see yourself parting with the majority of your furniture, then your next step will be to find an affordable storage facility near your location. Plan ahead on this though, because you would be surprised just how short in availability some of these storage facilities can be.
Storing With Friends And Family
While it can be hard to ask these kinds of things from your friends and families when you’re downsizing into an RV, you’d be surprised just how willing some of them will be to let you store some of your stuff in their garages, attics, or basements. If you already have a good standing with a given friend or family member, and you know they live in a spacious house, then it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Focus On The Sentimental Value of Things
When dividing up your belongings between things you’re willing to part with, and things that you’re not willing to, one of the biggest things to consider is sentimental value. It’s important to accept if you have an emotional attachment to a given item, whether it be furniture, artwork, or appliances.
Weigh out which things have the most emotional value for you, because while it can be hard to part with some things, once it’s been tossed away, there’s no getting it back.
Examine How Much You Use Something
“I do use that, though,” is a popular line people who are downsizing will use when asked if something in their house can be tossed away.
While yes, you may have used your massage chair several times in the last year, you have to ask yourself, is it worth the cost of storing it?
Turn Downsizing Into an Act of Charity
One of the biggest mental hurdles for people is the idea that they have to throw away perfectly good belongings.
What I’ve found, is that one of the best ways to jump this hurdle is to shift your perspective away from ‘throwing away’ to ‘giving’. Instead of tossing away these things in the nearest dump, take them to your local thrift store.
It may hurt not to make money on some of these things, but the convenience combined with and the good feeling you’ll be left with, will more than make up for it. Find a Goodwill near you.
Minimize Clothes And Accessories
You see those dozen pairs of shoes in your closet? Well if you were to pick three to bring with you into your RV, which would they be? I suggest picking one pair for casual wear, one for sports, and one nice pair that you can wear out to dinner or for business.
Of course, no one is forcing you to only have three pairs of shoes, but realistically, it’ll be hard to keep much more than that in an RV. The rest are going to have to — you guessed it — be stored or given away.
The Decorations Got To Go
If you don’t plan on transitioning back into a house any time soon, then you should plan on downsizing the vast majority of your decorations.
Decor is a frivolous thing in an RV and will take up a lot of precious space. Fortunately, you can sell them on any number of sites, and make a few bucks in the process.
Cash In On Memorabilia
If you have any obscure collectibles or limited edition belongings, then you’ll definitely want to make sure you go to websites where those things are more likely to find higher bids. Sites like eBay will probably work better than those like Craigslist.
Have Kids Rotate Through Toys and Clothes
For the little ones in your family, downsizing will either be really easy or really hard, depending on whether they are the kind of kids that like to accumulate a lot of toys and trinkets. Either way, you’ll want them to have the mindset that they’re not losing their toys and clothes forever, but rather, they’ll be circulating through them.
Anytime they want something new, ask them to pick something to get rid of, that way your RV doesn’t get overstuffed.
Downsizing your entire life into such a small square footage is a challenge for even the most practical-minded minimalist, however, we hope we managed to make your endeavor just a little easier here today, by providing you with these tips that we discovered from our numerous years on the road.
After 8 years of full-time RV living with kids, I have to say, the less clutter I have in my RV, the more I enjoy this lifestyle. Plus, you can always repurchase things down the road.
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