Downsizing is the next big thing in real estate. One of the best ways to make the most of a small space is to take your life on the road by moving from a house to an RV. But how do you pare down your possessions? Which things will you want with you, which are worth putting in storage, and which should you let go of? These tips will take the sting out of transitioning from a traditional home to the RV life.
Give Yourself Time
When thinking about how long it will take to transition from house to RV, remember two things; you have more stuff than you realize, and that stuff isn’t just physical.
Think back to the last time you moved. How long did it take you to pack and unpack? Now consider how much you’ve accumulated since then. Sure, you’ve gotten rid of things too, but on balance, you probably have as much or more now than you did then. Sorting through it all will take time.
It’s also important to recognize that downsizing means letting go of things, and that can be emotional. Getting rid of long-held possessions can feel like grieving. Be kind to yourself, and take time to experience the emotions associated with each item as you decide what to do with it.
Make Three Piles
In practical terms, you need to decide what to bring in the RV, what to put into storage, and what to sell, donate, or throw away.
The less you try to cram into an RV, the better off you’ll be. Your “bring” pile should include:
- A small, versatile selection of clothes that can be layered or combined
- A pared-down supply of kitchen tools and toiletries
- Space-saving electronics, like an e-reader, MP3 player, camera, and tablet or laptop (don’t forget charging cables!)
- Important documents, including passports and extra checkbooks
- Prescriptions, medication, and medical records for people and pets
Deciding what to store is all about balancing space and cost. Most people choose to store:
- Large items with sentimental value, like furniture, wedding gowns, etc.
- Records that must be kept, but not regularly accessed, like prior years’ tax documents
- Vehicles you’re not planning to bring, but are not ready to sell
The rest can be donated or sold. Be sure to protect your identity by shredding documents that contain personally identifiable information.
Keep a Photo Record
It’s hard to imagine forgetting about the things you look at every day. But once you’ve been on the road a while, you’ll find it harder and harder to remember what you left behind. Take digital photos of everything you put in storage, with notes to help you find things easily. You can also take photos of things you give away, so you can hold on to the memories even after the items are gone.
The process of transitioning to RV life isn’t always easy. But once the hard work is done, many people find that letting go of their possessions leads to a profound sense of freedom, which makes for a perfect start to this exciting next chapter of life.