Moving from a 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment in preparation for full-time living in an RV has been a challenge and a learning opportunity. Here’s how it worked for us but remember that everyone has a specific set of circumstances to work with so, use what you can from this blog post and YouTube video, and leave what doesn’t apply to you.
My goal is to not have anything in storage so everything we own will eventually fit into our RV and will travel with us. This is a very personal decision and I know some people have access to free storage or are willing to pay for storage and that decision will depend on your life stage and situation among other things.
What do I do with all this Stuff?
Standing in the middle of your house, looking at all your precious – and not so precious – items that you’ve collected over the years can seem incredibly overwhelming! But, as Mary Poppins says, “Well begun is half done.”
Start with one room, one type of item, or one hour. I chose to begin this journey with our games and puzzles collection. I pulled out every game I could find… even combed through the house to find each game, deck of cards, pile of dice, etc.
Once they were ALL on the kitchen table I would grab one item and ask a few questions:
Is this in good / usable condition?
If yes, should I keep it, sell it or give it away?
If no, it goes to the garbage or recycle bin
If I decided to keep it….
Do I love it or use it regularly? If it’s been over a year and that game hasn’t been played, it’s probably time to let someone else enjoy it.
If I still want to keep it, am I willing to give up precious space in the RV to store it?
If I decided to sell it…
How should I market it? Honestly, I only sold a few of our things because I found that what I thought was monetarily available was, in fact, not. Your timeline requirement will have an impact on the decision about whether to sell something or not. We put our house on the market and it sold the same day with less than a month to move out so I didn’t have time to sit and wait for Kijiji items to hopefully sell. If you have the luxury of more time, by all means, try to get a couple bucks for your stuff. Here are some possible places to place ads for your items:
- Facebook marketplace or auctions
- Garage or Yard sales
Don’t get greedy. Sometimes it’s more beneficial to say good-bye to the clutter in life than to hope for a couple bucks here and there. I also found it frustrating when people would say they’re interested in buying items but then didn’t show up to purchase the item. Grrrr. Not worth it to me… I’d rather give it away.
If I decided to give it away…
For me, this is the BEST option when it comes to downsizing!!
Before you plan to give all your crystal glasses, silverware, and fine bone china to your kids be sure to ask them if they really want it. My three daughters like to live light as well, so burdening them with relics from the past that had no sentimental meaning to them wouldn’t be right.
I am part of a freecycle program with our church and this can be a brilliant way to bless others with things others might want or need.
Donating your items to the charity of your choice helps so many people along the way so you can feel good about giving away Great Aunt Eliza’s sterling silver teaspoon with no guilt! *We’ll cover the emotional side of downsizing in the next blog post.
That’s our downsizing process in a nutshell. I did this over and over again with each area of our house.
China cabinet –tried to sell stuff and ended up donating most of it to family members and charities
Clothing – donated
Kitchen utensils – kids wanted a few things and the rest was donated. I only kept what I really use on a daily basis. Funny story; I went to make butter tarts for Christmas this year and realized I had given away my beautiful marble rolling pin! So, I improvised by rolling a stainless steel travel mug over the pastry… worked perfectly.
Yard furniture – sold or donated
House furniture – sold or donated. We only kept what we need for living in this apartment for a year
Office supplies – the kids wanted some of these items as they are a consumable product.
So, all that household stuff is relatively easy to purge compared to memorabilia like photos, heirlooms, and paperwork. Check out Part 2 for how I’ve tackled the more emotional side of this process.
I’d love to hear about your downsizing journey. Has it been easier, or more difficult, than you thought? What system did you use to purge through your stuff? Have you started yet or are you stalled out? Stay tuned for more downsizing tips and motivation!