You never really comprehend how much stuff you own until you cut the ties of home ownership and live inside a rolling shoebox. This major life change requires a careful assessment of everything you hold dear – from your treasured Franklin Mint Elvis Presley collector’s plate to your sixteen pairs of shoes, preparing to downsize can be one of the hardest and emotionally draining processes of becoming a full-time RVer.
Before Jim and I moved into our 24′ fifth wheel, we were living inside a 3,700 square foot Victorian home with a two-car garage. Once we decided to travel we had a huge yard sale and thought we had gotten rid of everything that wasn’t extremely sentimental, rare or practical to use as furnishings for our next home. These critical possessions got boxed up and shipped by movers, who took it to a storage unit that we never even saw until two years later when we found a piece of property in the Rockies and decided to store our stuff there.
The day we re-claimed our stuff was a revelation in the fine art of downsizing. As the storage manager led us to a dozen crates filled with the parts of our former life, we were flabbergasted. After a bare bones life in a 24′ rig for two years, we couldn’t believe the amount of unnecessary things that we kept. My heart sank when I compared the size of our moving truck to what was standing before us. I cried, and wanted someone to tell me why we paid to store things like multiple sets of dinnerware, enough clothing for everyone in Africa and a dozen boxers of old books. Many of these things ended up at the local thrift store and the rest went back to our property.
Since that day I’ve learned that no matter what size of RV you have, you’ll find that you can live on much less than you ever imagined. As you start to downsize your life, be sure to get rid of more stuff than you think you need to. Chances are, you can cheaply replace most of those items if you ever want to come off the road.
If you plan to have a storage unit, rethink that plan carefully. We know lots of full-timers like us who regret paying for storage fees through the years. One way to decide if it’s worth it to keep those items is to ask yourself if your precious possessions will be worth what you paid in storage fees each year. Chances are they won’t be. For the collectors out there, if you have expensive collectibles, why not give them away to friends and family who will treasure them as much as you did? Better yet, sell those collectibles off and load up some extra cash to kick off your road trip!
From the biggest Prevost to the smallest Casita, nearly every full-timer has far less space than they used to. That might seem like a burden to some, but for happy full-timers like me, it means the ability to pick up and move whenever “hitch-itch” strikes. If you ask me, life doesn’t get any better than that!
Rene Agredano is a freelance writer, jewelry designer and location-independent entrepreneur. The ins and outs of the full-timing life she leads with her husband Jim Nelson and three-legged dog Wyatt Ray is documented in their lifestyle travel blog, LiveWorkDream.com.
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.