Downsizing Challenge (AKA, Get Rid of Some Stuff)

July 16, 2015 (by Angela)

The last few days, the idea of going through things in our RV and giving away or throwing away items that we’ve not been using the last 6 or so months has been on my mind. In fact, I was thinking about discussing this with Jim over the upcoming weekend because I’d like to use the remaining days in July to systematically attack each of the storage areas we have in our camper, ridding ourselves of items we aren’t using and don’t expect to need. (Please understand that we aren’t using, nor do we expect to need to use, such things as our fire extinguishers, etc. but “preparedness items” will stay.)

A little while ago, I read the article “5 Life-Changing Things That Happen When You Downsize” that was posted in the RV 5th Wheels Group on Facebook. It re-affirmed my thought process that we should re-evaluate everything in our RV. If each item is not serving a purpose (or is with us in case it needs to serve a purpose should an emergency arise), then perhaps we don’t need to have it after all.

By the beginning of 2013, Jim and I had filled to the brim our almost 2,700 sq. ft. home, with a two-car garage also filled. As part of the process of preparing the house for sale, we managed to eliminate quite a bit of unnecessary items. The house sold to the second family to look at it, so there was another intense effort to rid ourselves of “things,” so we could fit into an 1,150 sq. ft. apartment. We had to hurry and find a place to move because we didn’t expect our home to go so quickly. This second “reduction” was a fail; we still had to rent a 10 x 10 storage unit after cramming every inch of space full at the apartment.

Rhett Butler House

Our home in Clarksville, TN

Over the course of the six months from May to November 2013, Jim and I were finally able to dispose of enough items that we could squeeze what remained into the two-bedroom apartment where we’d decided to stay until we figured out what the “next thing” would be. It was not until around the end of August and the first of September of last year that the curtains parted and the “next thing” became clear to us. The next thing was to downsize more, so we could fit what we would need into a 321 sq. ft. 5th Wheel camper, with “basement” storage, and the family heirlooms and other items with which we were not yet ready to part went into a 10 x 10 climate controlled storage unit. In addition, Jim sold his 1970 Roadrunner that he was restoring and his 2008 Mustang; we kept the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid since it gets about 40 mpg, which gave us two vehicles, the tow truck and the Fusion.

1970 Plymouth Jim was restoring

1970 Plymouth Jim was restoring

His Mustang (the apartment building in which we lived is in the background)

His Mustang (the apartment building in which we lived is in the background)

Within a few weeks of being in the RV, we were already “chucking” items as we realized we did not need all that we had loaded into the camper. By the time we arrived at Green Acres RV Resort park, Jim and I felt more or less settled in terms of items on board. Of course, when stowing items in a camper, the storage areas in which the items fit may not necessarily be the logical place, but we had a place to put everything.

What? Doesn't everyone store the serving and storage bowls in the living area?

What? Doesn’t everyone store the serving and storage bowls in the living area?

After moving here the beginning of April, our focus became directed toward decorating the 5th Wheel to more adequately meet our needs and reflect our joint personalities. This task now almost complete, once again my mind turns to items in the RV that we may not really need; they are literally just extra weight.

It is time to purge the camper of “things” once again. Jim and I are talking about even going beyond reducing items in the camper. He and I would like to reduce the things in our storage unit. When we began putting items in storage last fall, we did not yet know if the full-time RV lifestyle would work for us as well as we thought it would.  Now we know that we love full-time RVing, and the money spent keeping a 10 x 10 unit over years will go a long way in purchasing whatever we may need if/when we return to a small “sticks and bricks” home. He has vacation time in October, so we may try to address the storage unit issue then, but for now, I designate Monday, July 20, 2015, as the first day of an 11-day purge of our camper. I pledge that, with Jim’s help in some cases, every nook and cranny will be explored; items that have not been used and cannot be justified to keep on board must go.

I think the cabinets below and above the entertainment center is where we'll start the purge.

I think the cabinets below and above the entertainment center is where we’ll start the purge.

My challenge to you, dear reader, is to read the article linked above and then set your own timeline to purge what is not needed from your home, whether it be a 5,000 sq. ft mini mansion or a camper van or anything in between. Who accepts this challenge?

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