Beginning the Downsizing Process

Beginning the Downsizing Process

Face it – we all accumulate a lot of stuff. And that can be a problem when you are planning to begin life as a full-time RVer. It’s a daunting task to go through your things and determine what you need, what you want, and what you cannot live without.

With some planning and organization, it is possible to get through the downsizing process without feeling as if you’ve given up all your treasures. Plus, you do have to make room for all the mementos you will be accumulating throughout your travels. There will be more stuff to collect on your journey in your RV.

Being practical is the first step. Wrap your mind around the reality that there just is not enough room in an RV to pack all your possessions. The goal is to have what you need and love so it still feels like home but gives you room to move around and relax in a clutter-free environment. While practicality and usefulness are two important criteria, don’t forget to make sure you mix in some objects that you love, such as a favorite piece of art, family photos, or a few family heirlooms.

You want to maintain that home sweet home vibe, but rein in the abundance a bit. There are several categories you can use to organize the downsizing process. What do you want to take with you? What can you donate? What can you sell? What needs to be thrown away? What is of sentimental value to you? And what important photos, documents, and papers should you take?

Decide ahead of time what you will do with the things you do not need or do not have room for in the RV. That favorite sectional sofa – no room; that fine china from Aunt Matilda – too precious to risk for a life on the road. What about that gazing ball in the garden or the collection of shoes and purses you are proud to have acquired? Beautiful and fun to have, yes; practical for living in an RV, maybe not. And that sports memorabilia from your favorite hometown team – maybe take along a few of your favorites and decide what to do with the rest. That way you can still root for your team wherever the road takes you.

Deciding what you need and what you want to bring does require some careful consideration. Think of the items you use everyday for the necessities. Plan on taking along smaller quantities of those things and consider how much space these items take up and how they will travel. Dishes, tableware, cups and glasses are used everyday and are a necessity. One tip is to choose items that stack well, take up less space and are breakage resistant.

Take the number you need to accommodate your family; you are most likely not throwing any elaborate dinner parties that need place settings for 16 when you are living fulltime in your RV. This includes the cutlery you need. Forks, spoons, table knives and other utensils for eating and cooking should also be limited to two settings per person. Take what you need for cooking, baking, grilling, etc. but remember, who needs a half dozen spatulas when two take up less room?

Once you have established what your priorities are for the things you want to bring along, you then must come up with a plan for the things you are not taking with you. It may be easier to simply discard these, but there are other options and many of these will make sure that the items you enjoyed will continue to be used.

First, consider gifting family members or friends with some of your things. Do you have a friend who admired that vase in your china cabinet? Perhaps that friend would appreciate having it to remind them of you when you are traveling. Those woodworking tools you bought for that new hobby - how about that buddy who also enjoys crafting things out of wood? Those tools could be used, and your generosity remembered.

How about donating the excess stuff to a charity? Working appliances and electronics can help organizations carry on their missions through the sale of these things in their thrift shops. Even furniture that is still in good condition can find a new owner and help a worthwhile organization.

Finally, you can opt to sell some of your things. A yard sale is one way to raise cash for the things you no longer need if you have a quantity of items to sell. Individual items can be listed on online auction sites or on social media pages. Sell any antiques to an antique shop or resale store. Electronics, jewelry, cameras, etc. are good items to sell to a pawn shop. Selling allows you to put some cash aside for future expenditures or for fun excursions on the road.

Whatever you do, make sure you look at what you need and what will make your RV lifestyle more enjoyable. Don’t lose your personality. Take with you the things that mean the most and the things that add beauty and comfort to you.

After all, it is still your home sweet home, just on wheels.

Oct 26th 2021 Lois Tomaszewski

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