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Downsizing from a Home to Full-Time RV Living; Tips and Tricks

Are you ready to embrace the #riglife? Here are 7 helpful tips and tricks to help you downsize from a home to full-time RV living.

motorhome with slides

Choosing the #riglife might've been a tough decision for you and your family but what follows is even more daunting; downsizing from a home to an RV. Even if you live in a small apartment, the task of emptying it out and sorting through everything can be a big challenge. This is where a little organization and planning can help you out in a big way. Here are some tips and tricks for downsizing from a home to full-time RV living that really helped us out.

1. Start with a Plan

Our no.1 advice to anyone who asks us how to start the process of downsizing their home is to plan everything out way ahead of time. Taking stock of all the items you have accumulated over time, deciding what to keep, purging everything else, and maybe getting a storage space, will not happen overnight. Put pen to paper and write down a game plan; when do you plan on buying the RV? or if you've already bought it, how and when do you plan to move in? How long do you have to pack up your home? Do you have items you want to sell or donate? Will you be getting a separate storage space for keeping some of your belongings?

Plan everything out and give each task a specific timeline so you know how long the process will take you realistically. Don't forget to add some cushion time to certain tasks, for example, selling items can be both tricky and time-consuming. Having a plan will give you clarity and help make the downsizing process all the more efficient.

2. Purge with Lists

Purging is the most challenging part of downsizing. After all, it is difficult to part from the things we have accumulated over the years. While we can't say that the process is easy, it does go faster if you divide all the items by list. Here is the list of items we used when we downsized to a motorhome:

  • Keep

  • Sell

  • Donate

  • Might Use Later

  • Trash

  • Documents/Photos

  • Sentimental

Once we have our list ready we used a systematic process to sort all items in our house into these seven piles. We did that by going from room to room and sorting everything out. We used cardboard boxes for smaller items like clothes, documents, kitchen items, and more. While all bigger items were organized by adding colored stickers to them. Once all rooms were done we first started by getting rid of everything on the 'trash' list and giving away everything on the 'donate' list. This cleared away a lot of space in the house to sort out the items on the rest of the lists.

3. Re-evaluate the 'Keep' Pile

Purging is not a one-and-done process, especially when it comes to the 'keep' pile. The first time you put together the keep pile, you did so by removing the things you can easily get rid of. Now it is time to lessen that pile by only keeping things that you absolutely need. Go through everything in the pile the Marie Kondo way and get rid of all the stuff that isn't needed. You may need to go through this process a couple of times to really narrow down the most essential stuff that you will need for your new life on the road.

4. Sell Big Items Separately

A garage sale is the best way to sell smaller items you won't be taking with you to your rig. However, you will get a better price for bigger items like furniture and larger electronics if they are sold separately. You can reach out to local auction houses to list the furniture, artwork, china, and jewelry you want to sell. Or you can use local apps like the Facebook Marketplace to list these items and sell them directly to an interested party.

5. Store Documents Digitally

Documents, papers, and photographs are one of the hardest items to purge because you can't exactly sell or donate them. A good way to keep all your documents handy yet out of the way is to store them digitally. You can do this by scanning all the important documents you need and getting rid of all the rest. Photographs are trickier, especially the ones that have sentimental value. However, those too can be scanned and saved in the cloud. We decided we were going to keep one binder of documents and one small box worth of photographs in storage while all the rest were stored digitally.

6. Get a Storage Space

If you have a lot of items in your 'might use later' and 'sentimental' list, you will need to find a storage space to keep everything you won't be lugging around in your RV. Doing this is a good idea for full-time RV families with kids as well because you are going to need extra space for your keepsakes and larger seasonal items like snowboarding gear for example. We know a couple of RV families who store all their seasonal stuff including clothes, linens, and electronics like space heaters in storage garages so they don't have to travel with all that stuff. You can easily rent a storage space anywhere in the US or if you only have a small box of items to store, ask a friend if you can use their garage or basement space to store it.

7. Ease into the Transition

Moving out from a home into an RV is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Give yourself time to process the move, don't rush through the process, and carefully evaluate all the things you need and don't need. If you have a house with a driveway, park your RV there and start moving in the stuff you need. This will be a great way to not just see if everything you wish to take with you fits in the new motorhome, but will also give you time to get used to a different kind of lifestyle.

Embrace the New You!

The RV lifestyle isn't just about living on the road, it is about changing your mindset about how you live your life. The limited storage space will teach you how to focus less on the items you buy and more on the memories you make on the way. Check out our blog for more inspiration on how to embrace the new you.

7 Tips for Downsizing from a Home to an RV


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