Learning to Declutter without Panicking

Downsizing from a 1200 square foot sticks and bricks home to a Class B RV that is only 22 feet long overwhelms me, if I’m honest. We’ve lived in this house since the first weekend of January 2004. Lots of stuff accumulates in that amount of time. Not to mention the stuff from the six years of marriage before we bought our house.

When we decided to downsize and move into an RV full time we knew we had to purge our belongings. We knew we had to be brutal. We knew we couldn’t look at anything through the lens of nostalgia or sentimentality. We knew it would be a lot of work. And, y’all, I mean A LOT OF WORK.

Thinking about downsizing our whole house sends me into a panic. Seriously. I’m not a panic-y kind of person usually. But I did some hardcore hyperventilating the first time we sorted through our kitchen junk drawer. I couldn’t stay focused on the drawer. In my mind that one drawer morphed into an entire house of kitchen junk drawers dancing around me and mocking me. My heart raced. I broke out into a sweat. After Daniel and I went through that drawer I had to stop. It completely drained me.

But other people have done this. People do this every day. Lots of people go through their stuff and declutter at least once a year. How do they start? How do they survive the anxiety and panic? I’m learning how, and I’m going to share it with you.

Remember the old cliché: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s that simple and that difficult.

How do you downsize a lifetime from a sticks and bricks house to a camper van? One bite at a time.

Pick one spot, one drawer, one shelf. Daniel and I had the right idea starting with one drawer. I just had to learn to narrow my focus. Instead of thinking about what comes after that drawer and the next one and the next one and the next one, think only about that one drawer. Set that one drawer as the goal. Not the whole house or even the whole room.

Another technique that works for me, especially for spaces larger than a drawer, is to set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes. Purge stuff like mad for 30 minutes. When the timer buzzes, stop. Take a break. Go for a walk. Drink some water. Do 15 minutes of yoga. If you have time after your break, purge for another 30 minutes. So on and so forth.

That’s how I faced cleaning out the closet in our spare room this morning.

In 30 minutes, the closet went from this (which I’m truly embarrassed to share publicly):

To this:

From that closet, I took two trash bags full of paper and plastic to the recycle bin. I took a handful of garbage out. Daniel took a box of stuff to Goodwill. I did keep my mother’s old sewing machine which I’ll store at Dad’s house for now. I also have a quilting frame that I will sell. But all of that took 30 minutes. Yes, that room is still a disaster. But that closet, that one space, is clear. It’s done. I don’t have to think about it again.

The 30 minute rule works really well for me. Some people suggest 15 minutes. Others suggest an hour. Find the time limit that works for you. Break it down to small chunks. Focus only on that chunk, no more. Then take a break before facing another chunk.

Do you have any special ways to deal with decluttering? What works well for you? Do you declutter on a schedule? Or are you like Daniel and me, facing years of clutter with only a few months to go through it all?

Winnebago Adventurer 30T-Have We Found Our RV?

We are 90% sure we have found our RV! We know we want a Winnebago. This is after a lot of research. We thought we liked the Jayco Alante, but the difference in the look and feel between Jayco and Winnebago is night and day.

Our final decision is months away. Of course we could change our minds before we buy. But we both really love the Adventurer 30T. We love the floorplan. We love the storage. We love the colors inside and outside.

Finding our rig is a big step toward our goal of full time RV life. Huge step.

Big Step Toward Freedom

Tuesday morning Daniel and I met with our financial advisor, Debbie Murphy. We want to put our retirement money in one place and with someone who has a more vested interest in us and our goals instead of a huge company’s goals.

Daniel met Mrs. Murphy when she worked for a huge financial company that administered retirement accounts for the company we work for. Five years ago she left and began to work for herself, following her passion and gift by helping those of us without any financial know how reach our dreams.

After meeting with her today, I’m confident God led us to her. I have complete peace that she will get our retirement account where it needs to be to fund our dreams.

Do yourself a favor and give her a call. Click here to go to her website. You won’t regret it.

Freedom Update

Y’all, I’m silly. In preparation for our full time RV life we’re buying one item each payday for our new life. This time we bought…wait for it…

Camp chairs!!!!

Seriously!

Here’s mine.

I’m super excited about this purchase. Silly, I know.

Not Exactly a Coffee Fail, But Close

Our mission? Finding an easy, tasty, practical solution to making coffee in an RV once we hit the road. Yes, of course, our RV will have electricity. But we do plan to be off grid a lot. And, I don’t want to run down our batteries just running an electric coffee maker.

I immediately thought French Press. Easy peasy, right? Just put in the grounds, heat the water, wait four minutes, drink coffee. Yes, it’s that easy, but there are a couple of drawbacks that take French Press out of the number one spot.

  • Can only make 2 mugs of coffee at a time
  • Doesn’t stay hot longer than about 15-20 minutes
  • Uses a lot of coffee grounds

So, we’ll keep using it for now, but this will not be our go to once we’re on the road.

We’re also considering cold brew, which we’ve used in the past and enjoyed. We’re going to try pour over, too.

What’s your favorite way to brew coffee?

What’s in a Name

Daniel and I want to start a blog/vlog/Instagram/Facebook for our RV life. But coming up with a catchy name is a challenge. At least for me. I’ve NEVER been good at titles. Never.

So that’s where you come in, my friends. Over on my personal Facebook page I asked for ideas for a name. I’m getting some great ideas. But I want to broaden the participant pool.

Help me come up with a name for our YouTube channel, Instagram, Facebook, and blog. I’d love to see your ideas in the comments.

Why

One point most of the full time RV folks we follow on YouTube make is to say the place to start when planning a full time RV life is to know your why. Probably good advice for any major life change.

Daniel and I talked about this months ago, but we revisited the conversation today. I think it’s good to make sure we’re still in agreement and still want the same general things from this change.

So here are our biggest whys:

  • Freedom
  • See the country
  • Travel at our own pace
  • Time with family
  • Simplify
  • Spend quality time together

Are you planning any major changes to your life soon? Have you identified your why?