It is quite a daunting task to consolidate a whole house to fit into an RV and not an easy one at that. The process really started for us last winter. We worked on the office first. We had 2 desks, 2 book shelves full of stuff and more in there. We got rid of one whole book case – donated the books, etc. We also changed Paul’s desk to a standing desk which gave us a lot more floor space. So much decluttering in one room which made us feel pretty good.
We also worked on the bedroom and were able to clean out quite a bit of clothing. Stuff we hadn’t worn in a year, things that didn’t fit, shoes that just sat on the shelves. We took a whole load of just clothes to the thrift store for donations. That felt great too and now our closet feels quite light. We have empty shelves and a hole empty hanging rod.
The basement was where the task became more tedious. We have a crawl space for storage along with lots of other stuff that has been accumulating over the years. Things that should have gone away earlier, but it was too much effort. It’s so much easier to put them on a shelf and forget about them. Well, that all started being moved upstairs into the garage. We no longer had space for our car in the garage. It became a staging spot for our moving sale which we planned for August. Eventually you couldn’t walk through the garage because there was so much stuff in there! Wow. It was amazing.
Next up the morning of the moving sale. Heather had made signs to put on the main streets in the neighborhood. We got out there by 6:15am to put up the signs. Then we moved everything onto the driveway. We hadn’t even finished with the driveway layout when people started showing up! I was amazed that my signs actually worked. It stayed busy all morning and into the early afternoon. We were blown away actually by the numbers. But it also felt so great to see the stuff sell. There were a few negotiators, but for the most part things were selling at the prices we wanted. So good to see our stuff go to new homes. This includes everything from tools to camping gear to kitchenware to books and a few items of clothing. We were so busy that morning I didn’t have time to snap a photo of it all strewn about on the driveway!
After the sale, our garage looked like this! You could walk through it again! We had a few items that we put up on Craigslist for free and those went pretty quickly. Yay! The rest went to charity and will be a tax write off for us this year. My only advice in that regard is to keep good records. Take pics of things, keep a spreadsheet documenting what you donated and make sure to get a paper from the charity noting the date and items donated.
After the moving sale, we took our earnings and turned them into items we had our eyes set on for the RV. This is included a tire pressure monitoring system, a water saving shower head, sewer hose and portable RV compressor. We took our first trip to Camping World where we took our time to look around and buy these new items. We had done quite a bit of research, so we’re pretty sure we’ll be happy with our choices.
Our Downsizing Process:
As for the process of choosing what to keep vs what to toss/sell/donate:
- Make piles. One keep, one maybe, and one toss/donate/sell.
- Go through the maybe pile again after some time has passed and move stuff to the donate/sell pile. I promise you’ll be able to do this.
- Go through the keep pile again and be sure they are things you really need or love. Yes, there can be some sentimental things in here. That’s ok. We definitely have some of them.
- Once we had started our sell/donate pile, we put a moving sale on our calendar. That really helped motivate us to empty the stuff from the house because it gave us a deadline. With Heather doing art shows many weekends in the summer, we knew we had few weekend opportunities to host a sale. It worked out perfectly.
- Host a sale! We called ours a moving sale. Lots of folks asked us where we are moving and were so excited to hear our answer!
- We kept the larger items that didn’t sell at our moving sale and sold them off Craigslist, Next Door and our local buy/sell group on Facebook.
- Bring the smaller stuff to a local charity as a donation. Remember keep good records here, if you plan on taking the tax donation.
We know we still have more work to do in the house, but it’s starting to feel a little sparse in areas. Honestly, it feels great!
What was your method to downsizing?