If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know we are working toward full-time RV living in the next year. We made this decision in March 2019 after returning home from two months in Florida.
I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and tips about the downsizing process that could apply to anyone, whether going to a smaller home or an RV.
(Full disclosure: We will be putting some things in storage until we eventually purchase another home. However, we don’t want to have to get a large storage unit, so we’re keeping the amount we’re saving to a minimum.)
Tip 1: Don’t wait until you’re ready to sell your home to start this process! It’s much easier to move stuff along at a slower pace. This way you can make sure items go where you really want them to go. There are so many resources out there for donating or selling items if you have the time to look for them.
Tip 2: Use Facebook Marketplace! I found it much easier than Craig’s List, and some of my friends ended up buying items I had for sale. However, just as with any other online selling site, pick a neutral site for your transaction!
We used our local pool and made sure we were meeting when other people would be there. Buyers don’t mind not coming to your home because they want to be safe as well. Of course, if you know the buyer, you don’t need to do this.
Also, keep in mind when you’re pricing your item, your goal is to get rid of it, not to make a ton of money on it!
Tip 3: Use Google to find places for you stuff. My kids had a lot of swimming trophies they no longer wanted. I googled and found that the Crown Trophy near our home actually takes used trophies and recycles them into new ones.
I was also able to find a Catholic charity near me that takes bridal gowns and resells them in their own bridal shop! (I found out that my 1985 bridal dress is now vintage 😊)
Tip 4: Don’t hesitate to donate clothing items to your favorite local donation center. Unless they’re children’s clothes, they won’t sell at a yard sale. Since we are downsizing to an RV, we really had to downsize our clothes.
This is the time to give yourself a reality check, and come to terms with the fact that you don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. Move them along to someone who can use them.
Tip 5: Do you really need five different sizes of wooden spoons? This may seem like a silly question, but when it comes to downsizing your kitchen, this is the kind of question you’ll be asking yourself. Especially if you’re downsizing to an RV where space is at a premium. I must say that my kitchen downsizing is still a work in progress.
We are in a larger RV than we were last year, so I have more kitchen space. I know that soon I’ll have to face the reality that I don’t need five wooden spoons, but I’m getting there.
Tip 6: Hobbies. This was a tough one for me. I have many hobbies, and I know that I can’t take them all on the road. The other thing I had to think about was this — if I put something in storage, will it last for however long we’ll be on the road? I’m talking years, not months.
I was a Creative Memories scrapbooking junkie. I knew I couldn’t save all the paper and stickers I’d accumulated, so I gave them to a dear friend who was thrilled. I also had a large amount of yarn that I gave to my church knitting group. I know they’ll make lovely prayer shawls with my donation.
Tip 7: This tip is especially for those who are packing everything into a storage unit for years while they’re on the road. Think about all your electronics. If you think technology is going to pass your items by, sell them now. You can always buy new ones, with better technology, later.
I finally came to that conclusion with my long arm quilting machine. Not only was it twelve feet long and would take up too much space in a storage unit, but by the time we finally decide to move into a non-moving home, the machine’s technology may be too old. I sold it to a fellow quilter.
Tip 8: Sometimes you have to remove your emotions from the equation. Another tough one. I was that parent who saved everything my children ever brought home. Why? Who knows? But I know that my kids don’t want every piece of paper they ever brought home. Hopefully my kids will learn through watching me go through this process what not to do 😊.
Tip 9: Use technology to your advantage. We all have years of our kids’ school pictures that we hung on the wall, and then kept the rest of the fifty different sizes of pictures that came in the package. I scanned my kids’ photos and saved them to a file. Now I have them on my computer instead of in a box in storage. The possibilities are endless with this one!
Tip 10: My last tip is to not get discouraged. We’ve been taking this process room-by-room, and even shelf-by-shelf. We’re currently taking a hiatus until spring, but we know that we’re almost ready for the moving boxes. We’ll most likely have one garage sale to see what else we can move along, before making one (or two) more trips to the donation center.
Give yourself a year or more to do this. If you know you’re going to be moving in the next year or two, start now. It’s much less overwhelming. I could not imagine trying to do all we’ve done in just a couple of months or less.
Hope these tips help!
Jennifer Skinnell is the author of the Hope Springs Romance Series currently available on Amazon. Click here for more information.