People who are planners often try hard to prepare for what’s around the bend. For example, many RVers with dreams of hitting the road for good often ask: What’s the biggest challenge for new full-time RVers?
In the iRV2 Lifestyles Discussion Forum about Full-timing, long-time supporter MSHappyCampers posed this popular question to members:
After you started full-timing, what was your biggest challenge? By that I mean the one thing that you had the most trouble adjusting to, such as:
1. Living in a “tiny house”
2. Leaving family and friends
3. Giving up the sticks and bricks
Fact-finding missions in places like this forum is an ideal place to begin the transition to this fun, new lifestyle. Member feedback from those who have “been there/done that” is often enlightening and helpful when it comes to planning and execution. This wisdom can even save you money.
The Biggest Challenge for New Full-time RVers May Surprise You
The biggest challenge that full-time RVers reported may surprise you. Can you guess what it is?
I missed my shop and my tools. – MaverickBBD
It was also really hard to pare down decades worth of stuff to a few cubic feet. I’m still not done . . . – cwsqbm
Our biggest challenge was downsizing. Everyone can say the words but doing it is another story. What to keep, what to toss . . . – Finally
The answers were telling. The biggest challenge for new full-time RVers wasn’t breaking ties with community, or living in a small space, it was letting go of possessions.
My husband and I were the exact same way. When we hit the road we thought we downsized and got rid of excess clutter. We had a moving and storage company haul the rest into storage. Two years later when we returned to the warehouse to assess our stuff, we couldn’t believe what we kept! So much was just clutter that could easily be replaced. After paying nearly $1,000 for our security blanket of stuff, we downsized even more. It was a major lesson and one we’ll never repeat.
Tips for Downsizing “Stuff”
It’s human nature to spend our entire working lives buying things that prop up our egos and help us feel more secure in a scary world. Letting go of those possessions isn’t easy and some of us take longer to do it than others.
If you’re trying to make the transition to full-timing, see how others downsized their stuff before moving into the RV. You’ll find lessons like:
I took two years to downsize and 4 months to sell the place. I would suggest people take their time and do it right. – narampa
Start small, do a little bit each day and you will be done in no time. – Finally
My best advice when it comes to downsizing is:
Avoid a Moving or Storage Company to Store Your Belongings
We tried to save time and hassle by allowing movers to come into our house and haul into storage what we thought was bare bones stuff. By skipping the painful process of fitting everything into a rented storage locker, we had no concept of the sheer size those “bare bones” possessions took up. If we had jammed everything into a locker ourselves, we would have ditched so much more and saved money in the process.
(photo by snookwheel)
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Jane Willis says
I just started full-timing. I love it. I downsized and got rid of stuff for several years, then more when I drove off in the RV the first time. Paring down takes getting rid of much more than anyone can imagine. One layer goes, another bubbles to the surface. I have figured out how to have only the camper, van, and what I really need stored in them.
Flexible Fulltimers. It is just “stuff”… Sorta.
To enable ability to “flex” our fulltiming in event of health or family needs, we are joining a “community” of similar joyful insanity. This provides a fixed, meager, yet workable shelter for us and our TT.. This requires downsizing…which we began by sorting thru our “memory touchstones”. Personal items, my Brides to DIL’s and Granddaughters, my tools to our sons and Grandson. That way we can have use of items which of course THEY store! Some tools will be loaned to the Community Workshop…. Those who use tools have responsibility for proper maintenance of of same under their use. It is compromise. Giving up my workshop and place I can perform all of the TT maintenance will be my largest adjustment. Other smaller hobbies will be allowed where my Bride has informed me will be her sewing room.. So, no more sanding, drilling, etc inside dwelling. One Granddaughter, wise for her youth said “What about the memories?” To which we replied, “Memories are within your soul.. They cannot be sold! We take them with us…and you are all our memories!” Travel well,
So many of the comments above came true with me when I decided to go full time in July 2016. Got rid of most stuff and put the rest into a storage unit in Montana. Loaded up the Airstream and over the past few months have found more and more things not needed. Clothes and cooking things were the first to be taken to Goodwill. Next was shoes……after that it was assorted electronic equipment.
Figured I would give myself at least a full year before deciding what to do with the stuff in Montana. Other than a few family furniture pieces, desk, bed frame, I think the rest will eventually be sold or donated to the local Habitat for Humanity in Great Falls. Some things like tax records, books, and smaller items may be moved into another storage unit on the east coast for access if needed but learing to live with less has been liberating.
Its still an adventure I am enjoying and hope it does not end anytime soon.
James and Carmen Beaubeaux says
We started full-timing in our 2001 30′ Airstream in July 2016. It took us 2 years to sell, donate or throw away 98% of our stuff. We have no storage shed or rented storage locker. All is gone….and we are happy for that. We decided to blog our adventure of getting rid of stuff and then going on the road full time. The site is http://www.LivingInBeauty.net.
After 15 years of living in our large home and with the family all moving on, my husband and I decided on a bold move–sell the house and most of our things, buy a big truck and an Airstream and don’t look back. Within 2 months we had done it all–gotten rid of the “stuff,” bought our truck, sold our house, and bought our Airstream. We haven’t looked back for one minute. Any challenges we faced were nothing in the face of living without all the things that tie people down and keep them from realizing all kinds of dreams and enjoying their lives. We both would do it again in a heartbeat. The relief of dropping the weight of things and living simply has been uplifting and inspiring. The simplicity of our lifestyle is liberating and invigorating. It may not be right for everybody, but it’s been great for us. We’d have to admit that there wasn’t a “hardest” thing we did, just good all around. Really. 🙂
We are Full Timer’s, don’t miss the ” Sticks and Bricks “, enjoying every minute off it. Only regret, taking on a storage unit. Waste of money saving things we are not using, and at $175.00 a month, that can go along way towards RV life style.
James and Carmen Beaubeaux says
We starting full-timing in our Airstream in April 2016. We LOVE it!!!!!
We got rid of everything and wrote a blog post about how we did it: https://livinginbeauty.net/2016/12/09/the-clearing/