One of the questions I am frequently asked is how was it possible to downsize from a big house into a little 400-square-foot RV?
Firstly, get rid of the things you really don’t need. Then get rid of things you’re holding on to “just in case.” No, it is not that easy! But that is the mindset.
It took us nine months until we could fit pretty much everything in our RV. A few bins and things went to our parents. We didn’t want to get a storage garage, so we had to get rid of it, fit it in the RV, or give it away.
The initial purge was the first stepping stone. We hadn’t done a garage sale before, so we really didn’t know what we were doing. This first round was getting rid of things you don’t really care about any more. It was a good first step. And we made some good money!
The next step meant going a little bit deeper. We did this room by room. Pick a room and dive in full force. Empty every cupboard and drawer and don’t just put things back. Separate all those things into several piles: rummage sale, Facebook/Craigslist sales, garbage and donations. Hopefully, you only do this once for each room. It actually took us two or three times in each room before we had got it down to what we truly needed.
Caution — it’s hard not to fall back into the same old thoughts of, “Oh, maybe, I will just hold on to this one thing.” You have to be strict with yourself and part with a lot of things. I promise, rarely does it get easier over time.
The kids’ toys were tough. I had such a sentimental attachment to them. But once I got past that and realized they didn’t even play with most of them anymore, it made it easier. I chose the items they were still into and just downsized them. For example, instead of needing a whole train table with a ton of tracks and trains, I just kept a small bin full of train tracks and trains. Guess what – it works great and they seem to enjoy it just as much.
It was also difficult figuring out how many clothes everyone needed. My kids had a LOT of clothes. In fact, they all had walk-in closets at our house! But, again, once I got the idea in my head that they only needed a few pairs of pants, shorts, shoes and shirts, it got easier. I also had to make sure not to go out and buy any new things while we were doing this.
When it came to that last day, we truly thought we were ready and only had a few more things left to pack up before we handed the keys over to the new owners. Were we wrong! A whole car load later we were able to leave. Needless to say, once we got settled in the RV, we had another round of downsizing. And we are learning that is a continuous process keeping things at a minimum so they fit.
But, the best thing is that we really don’t miss 95 percent of it. Yes, there are a few things that we wish we still had, but the longer we are on the road, the less we miss even those items!
Living with less is much easier to deal with. Mentally, there is less to think about. Physically, there is less to organize and clean. Emotionally, there is less to stress about. Overall, less IS more!
You just have to get started and be strict. Don’t fall back into the same mindset of keeping things just in case you need them. Remember less is more, less is more, less is more. If worst comes to worst, you can always buy something again if you really, truly miss it.