After spending the last year downsizing in our preparation for full time RV life I’ve learned 5 tips that can make the process easier. These tips will work whether you are downsizing your entire life, as we are, or decluttering an overstuffed room
There are also many helpful blog articles and YouTube videos out there if you want to dig deeper into downsizing and purging belongings.
Number One: Start Small
When we first started talking about getting rid of most of our stuff and hitting the road in an RV I looked around the living room and panicked. Overwhelm doesn’t even start to cover the emotion. But what’s that saying? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
That’s how you start downsizing as well. Start with one drawer. Just one. Don’t look beyond that drawer. Once you complete that drawer stop for the day. Celebrate that success. Then choose the next drawer. After a couple of drawers then tackle a whole cabinet. Move from there to a closet, then a room. Maybe tackle a season. For example, can you go through all your fall décor? Do you really need three fall wreaths? Four Christmas trees?
Number Two: Start With Non-Sentimental Items
When you start downsizing don’t start with your grandmother’s china. Just don’t. Start with something very benign. When we started with our first drawer it was the kitchen junk drawer. Easy-peasy. It took me over a month to tackle anything remotely sentimental. Understand that purging those sentimental things will exhaust you. Not just emotionally. A couple of hours of going through sentimental things is enough to wring you out physically as well. Be gentle with yourself. You’ll be grateful if you don’t start with those things. And don’t save them all for last either. Intersperse those tough decisions in between some pretty easy ones.
Number Three: No Maybes
When you start downsizing you’ll want three piles or bins. Only three. Sell. Donate. Trash. Notice there is no Maybe or Later pile. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Maybe becomes Keep. Then everything goes into Maybe. Don’t fall into that trap. In downsizing there is no maybe.
Number Four: You Aren’t Going to get Rich
You might sell some of your stuff. Understand you are not going to recoup your money. You are not going to finance your lifestyle. You are not going to get rich. You just aren’t. That necklace you paid $50 for might bring you a dollar. Maybe. And don’t think you’re going to have a garage sale and get rid of everything. You won’t recover your time. After selling a few things we decided to either donate or trash stuff. Honestly, the quickest way we found to get rid of stuff is to set it out on the curb with a sign saying “Free.” Goodwill is your friend. Just donate stuff. You’ll provide a job for someone and feel a lot better about yourself. If you are really determined to sell your stuff, try resale apps or Facebook Marketplace.
Number Five: Get It Out of the House ASAP
Once you have stuff boxed up get it out of the house ASAP. Those boxes sitting around start talking to you, whispering that they really aren’t junk, you really want to keep them. You don’t. Just let it all go. Get those boxes out of the house. Rip it like a Band Aid.
Bonus tip: set a due date for the downsizing/declutter to be completed. Schedule the tasks.
What tips would you add to this list? Have you ever downsized your entire home or life? How did it go? How long did it take you?
Our dogs love these cookies. Seriously. They will dance for them. Even Jade the Diva who is (I swear) a cat in a dog suit.
And y’all, they smell so freaking good! I promise they smell like human cookies. My mouth waters when I open the bag. I may or may not have tasted one. Okay, I did. But I had to! They SMELL SO GOOD. But they must have some taste only dogs love. Although they smell like people cookies they absolutely do not taste like people cookies. Definitely dog cookies.
I’m not a patient person.
Seriously, I’m not.
But that NOBO 19.6 spoke to us. Well to me. Daniel liked it a lot. But as soon as we walked through, opened all the doors, looked at the storage, the decor, the floor plan, we both knew. We found THE ONE. Or at least the one we want to start our full time RV life with.
Trying to do the right thing, we took the salesman’s card, asked him to email us a deal sheet, and drove home.
We watched YouTube videos.
We decided we want the NOBO 19.6.
Wednesday afternoon I called the dealership, but our salesman was with another customer. I emailed him that we like the camper, but will need three to four weeks to get our finances settled. I asked him if he would take a deposit and hold the rig for us.
No response Wednesday evening.
No response Thursday morning.
No response Thursday afternoon.
Friday morning I called again.
The NOBO sold to someone else on Wednesday. I almost cried until I heard him say “But we’ve got more on order.”
So not only had they already ordered more of the same RV, one of the new units they ordered is already equipped with solar, which is something we want anyway.
Trying not to sound all trembly and whiny, I asked him if they would possibly take a deposit and hold the solar equipped unit for us.
Yes, it turns out, that is something he is willing to do. And the deposit was about 10% of what I anticipated.
So, while I was fretting for a day and a half, God had a better plan going. You can call it serendipity if you want to, that’s all good. I call it a God Thing.
And I’m grateful, so grateful we’ve found our RV. We should be full time RVers in six to eight weeks.
RV life…it’s so close. SO CLOSE! We’re trying to stay calm and only buy necessities for now. I’ll be honest, though. Sometimes it’s a challenge to differentiate between a want and a need. You get me, right?
But I think we’re doing pretty well over all.
We did buy a mat for the bed of our truck. We also bought a cover and will install it tomorrow.
We also bought a few necessary items like a sewer hose, stabilizer pads, curved levelers, water filters, water hose. You know, exciting things. LOL
But this is exciting to us. And if you’ve read this far, you’re excited for us, so thank you!
Yep, we sure did. A big truck. One step closer to full time RV life.
We bought a 2012 Ford F-250 Lariat Turbo Diesel 4WD. We both love it. It is super fun to drive. But y’all it’s A LOT of truck!!
Now to get a bed liner, bed cover, buy the camper we decided on.
But we’re on our way!! Woo hoo!!
So, anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with coffee. Truly. Daniel says I’m a coffee snob. Probably true.
But, I’m a sipper, not a chugger. That means my coffee invariably gets cold before I’ve consumed half a cup. And, rewarming coffee in the microwave? Well, I have no words for how vile that is. (See the third sentence of the first paragraph.) Which all means that I’m also a coffee waster. When my coffee gets cold, I dump it and make new cup.
Y’all, I seriously might make four cups of coffee to drink one. Yes, I admit it.
Enter this amazing gift Daniel bought for me *drumroll* A CUP WARMER!!
It’s amazing! It keeps my cup at exactly 131 degrees FOREVER. No more wasting coffee. YAY!
Isn’t this fabulous!! I love it.
What’s a new fave you’ve discovered this week?
I don’t know about you, but for me the past week has been exhausting. So much emotion. Tough and necessary conversations. I’m grateful for progress made, in my own heart, and in society. I pray momentum carries us forward toward positive change.
I’m taking a couple of days to re-center my mind. I have to recharge. In order to continue to pursue the things I need to pursue, I need a day or two of emotional and spiritual rest.
Praying you all have a great week.
We only recommend products we use.
Until we started researching full-time RV life, I had never heard of Berkey water filters. It seemed like almost every RVer we followed used or wished for a Berkey system. So, I started researching Berkey a little bit.
The first thing I noticed was the price. Holy cow! Not cheap! I put the Berkey out of my mind.
Except I couldn’t.
Everywhere in RV research land-Berkey, Berkey, Berkey!
I realized that in our RV travels we will likely go places that have less than clean water. Which is more cost-effective? Lay out the cash for a small Berkey system? Or miss out on life while laid up with dysentery?
That kind of put things in perspective for me.
Late last fall Berkey ran a sale, which they often do. For somewhere upwards of $350, but less than $400, I could get a Travel Berkey system with the filters and six Boroux water bottles. I saved for a bit and bought the system.
Best. Water. Ever.
Daniel even drinks water now!
Worth. Every. Penny.
The Travel Berkey holds about 1.5 gallons of water. We typically fill it twice per day. Sometimes more, sometimes only once. We keep the Boroux bottles in the fridge with cold, pure, filtered water.
We use this water to cook with, to make our coffee and tea with. Oh, and we drink it.
Once we are RVing we will use it to fill our dogs’ water bowl.
Do you have a water filtration system you love? Have you ever tried Berkey?
Life, it’s changing so fast! Daniel and I have both exited our jobs at VUMC. We’re preparing for our transition to full time RV life. That will happen later this summer.
I decided in April to stop making excuses and get my, ahem, stuff together. So I’m getting fit and healthy. I’m getting rid of clutter, physical and mental clutter. I’m dedicated to personal development.
In short, I choose to be unstoppable!
Goal setting. Working out. Healthy food choices. Learning new ways to think about life. Deeper relationship with GOD.