Deciding to live as RV nomads is relatively easy. But winnowing your stuff down and knowing what not to pack for full-time RVing is the hardest step of the journey. Here’s how to get started:
Downsizing for full-time RVing is a shocking process. I never thought I was a consumer until I started taking dusty boxes off garage shelves and emptying my closet to begin downsizing.
When everything was laid out on the floor and I had no room to walk in my home, I couldn’t believe the items I was hanging onto. Here are some lessons I learned while ditching these boat anchors.
Things you haven’t used for six months or more
There’s an old rule that says if you haven’t used a piece of clothing in a year, get rid of it. That’s well and good for conventional living but for tiny house living you need to speed up that timeline. If you haven’t worn something in your closet at least once every six months, donate it.
The same goes for cooking utensils, books, and even non-perishable food. All of those things can be bought somewhere along the way if you need them.
The only place this rule doesn’t apply is your toolbox. You hope you’ll never need to use that roadside emergency kit or jumper cables but you’ll be glad to have them if you do.
The kitchen utensils you carry seem like such a small thing but each one takes up space and weight. Although new culinary gadgets are fun to have on hand, most only serve one purpose.
That Smore maker, kiwi peeler, and pineapple corer should all go in your Goodwill pile. If your Grandma lived without it, so can you. Only carry items that can be used for two or more purposes.
Round storage containers
Squeezing conventionally round dinner plates, cookware, and food storage containers into an RV galley cabinet is like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole. But if you stick to square shaped containers, your cabinets will be much cleaner and objects will be easier to locate.
Duplicate items you can get anywhere
It’s good to be prepared, but if you can get a common item at every other hardware store or auto supply, why carry the extra load? It takes up room for other more important things and puts you in danger of having an overweight RV.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a Ziploc bag full of Christmas décor. But one bag is all I will allow myself to carry. It fits a couple of precious ornaments, our stocking and not much else. If you feel like getting festive for a holiday, you can always go buy more cheap plastic Chinese made crap at the dollar store, then donate it when the big day is behind you.
RV living is great but the lifestyle can sometimes put your possessions in harm’s way. Hurricanes blow over RVs and RV kitchen fires aren’t unusual. Scan important documents that prove your identity and put them on a password protected USB drive in your emergency evacuation bag. Then transfer the originals like your birth certificate, social security card, marriage license, etc., inside a secure storage unit or safe deposit box, not in the RV.
You never know how little you can live with until you actually try. Decluttering to full-time RV is tough but if you give yourself enough time to go through the process you’ll learn how to talk yourself down each time you want to take an unnecessary item on the road. Once you know what not to pack for full-time RVing you’ve overcome the biggest hurdle and are now ready to roll.
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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.