For those of us who spend significant time in our RVs, we know how important every last square inch of space is. If you aren’t careful, before you know if, your walls will be creeping in on you and you will begin to suffocate.
OK, that might be a little extreme, but I know, for me, about every three months it is time to evaluate what is actually being used regularly and what needs to find a new home. Follow these five steps and make sure you’ll keep having plenty of open space to take a deep breath.
1. Evaluate every three months
Sure, there are going to be some things you don’t use every day but still want to keep. You may be in a part of the country where you don’t need your bathing suit and snorkel set, but that doesn’t mean you need to pitch it.
Once you start your quarterly purges you’ll start to see a pattern of things you hang on to and have not used. Chances are if it made the cut the last purge and you still haven’t used it, you don’t need it.
2. Pick a day to purge and actually schedule it in
Put in on your calendar or in your phone just like you would that pesky doctor or dentist appointment. Once it’s planned, you don’t have to think about it until it’s actually time to declutter. Once it’s not looming over your head you will be free to use your mind power for something more enjoyable.
3. Start the purge
Take one area at a time. Ideally, I can finish this project in a day, but life gets in the way sometimes so if I purge in sections, I can easily jump back in where I left off. I basically divide my house (fifth wheel) in five sections: Master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room and bunkhouse. I then start at one end and go through every drawer, closet and hiding spot and evaluate.
Questions like this will help you decide what to keep and what needs to move on:
- “Does it still fit?”
- “When is the last time I used/wore that?”
- “Will anyone even notice if this item is missing?”
If the answers are “no,” or “I can’t remember” and “no,” then it is time for someone to find your treasure at a thrift store.
4. Is it expensive or sentimental?
Ask yourself, “Is it expensive to replace?” If you are on the fence about whether to keep something or not, consider its value. If you are humming and hawing over a $10 bowl you use once a season but it’s taking up too much valuable space, let it go. Chances are you you can borrow one or find another one for $2 at the thrift store if you are really in a bind for that one specific dish.
Also ask, “Is it sentimental?” If you carrying around and holding on to that hideous plastic bracelet your daughter made or the 102nd dinosaur picture your son drew, you need a better solution. Extra weight is not only bulky but it can be a real safety concern if you are overloaded in your rig.
Try taking pictures of special items which you can view online anytime you are wanting to reminisce and then discarding the item. You can also consider storing elsewhere, if truly valuable.
By the time I am done, things fit back in their drawers and cupboards, everything is neater and I feel more relaxed knowing all is put away in their perfect little homes.
5. Decision time — keep or toss?
Now that you have a pile of “stuff” you are ready to part with you need to decide what to do with it. Somethings have just had their day and are ready to be tossed out or recycled, but many things will still have plenty of life left, just in someone else’s home.
We like to take advantage of “free tables” at campgrounds and try to leave more than we take. Please only leave things that you think might be useful in a camper and don’t take your 6 bags of giveaways and plop it on the table. The rest will best be used if given to a local charity or thrift store.
Just because you might not live in your RV, don’t think these tips don’t pertain to you. More space only means you have more areas to stash all that “stuff” you don’t really need (and someone else just might).