A Fulltime RVer’s Tips For Downsizing Your Life In Preparation For Living In An RV

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When it comes to closing up your house and downsizing your life to fit inside an RV, sometimes drastic measures must be taken.

Twenty-some years ago, my wife and I chose to adopt the RV lifestyle — with plans to hit the road and adopt a permanent mobile lifestyle.

After several attempts at downsizing and living fulltime in an RV over the years, here’s what I’ve learned…



The First Time I Tried Living In An RV

Our initial plan was plainly ludicrous.  We thought we would live in our 25-foot Winnebago motorhome and pull a 16-foot cargo trailer containing all of our prized possessions that we just couldn’t let go of.

Lucky for us, we immediately realized the fallacy of our ways and started to sell things in order to get rid of the trailer load of “stuff”.

We left town and headed south, but only made it about 10 miles to where we planned to stay for a couple months. That’s when we realized this just wasn’t going to work.

Another rummage sale pared down our stuff even further, and we traded the small motorhome for a 36-foot travel trailer with plans to try fulltime RVing again later.


The Second Time I Tried Living In An RV

The next time we set out to enjoy fulltime living in an RV, it was with a more reasonable living situation.


We had a 36-foot travel trailer.  It was large enough that the two of us could stand to be together in the same RV without killing each other.  And we pulled the trailer with a pickup truck.

Still, every square inch of storage space — including the camper top on the back of the pickup truck — was crammed tight with the remainder of the “stuff” we just couldn’t let go. We thought those were items that we simply could not live without. We were wrong.

Being a mechanic and home repair handyman, my tools were the most important thing I owned. I had stashed a table saw, drill press, and various other power tools that I wasn’t about to give up anywhere I could find space to store them.

I went to extreme lengths to hang onto $1,000 worth of power tools that I seldom used. How many people do you know carry a 5-speed drill press worth $50 in the storage compartment of their RV? I did — thinking, “You never know when I’ll need to drill a hole!” I just couldn’t give up having the freedom to drill whenever I wanted.

Funny thing is… after 3 years on the road and 10 more being stationary, most of those tools never saw daylight again. Now they are just one more headache to deal with as, once again, I attempt to pare down my life to go full time in my RV.

As time progressed and we upgraded our RV more than once, all that dreaded “stuff” followed along. I found myself unloading basement storage compartments from one RV into another RV. Most of this stuff never even saw the light of day — except during those moments of relocating them from one RV into another.

Now, years later, where is all that “stuff” that we dutifully dragged back and forth across the country?  It’s stored in the shed out in the backyard. It is still seldom being used and for the most part, it’s been forgotten.

The old saying “if it hasn’t been used in the past year, you don’t need it” is absolutely true! People move on, change hobbies, and develop different interests.

It takes a good dose of reality to understand that you can’t take it with you when you’re a fulltime RVer… and it’s only stuff.


I’m Back To Fulltime RV Living Again

This time around, I’m being almost cutthroat in terms of reducing and eliminating stuff.


I’m taking one modest toolbox with the bare minimum of items that will help me keep things running if something simple breaks. Beyond that, I’ll call AAA.

It’s a hard pill to swallow when you find out your possessions that you paid dearly for really aren’t worth squat when you have to get rid of them.

I will be using a local online auction company to unload tools, an inflatable boat and motor, (a good idea at the time that was more work than it was worth to inflate each time), and of course extra cars and furniture.


My New ‘Less Is More’ Philosophy

There is nothing worse than living in a small space that is buried in clutter and over-stuffed with possessions.

If you plan to last on the road more than a couple weeks, then you need to keep your space simple and organized.

Personally, I don’t buy into the idea of putting possessions in storage. That’s adds monthly bill. And if you forget to pay it once, then your stuff gets sold. Instead, give your things to relatives, donate them to those in need, or set them out on the street corner for someone else to enjoy.

If you try to spend the time getting top dollar for every item, you will never get out on the road and enjoy the freedom that comes with a simple mobile lifestyle — one that is geared more to enjoying new sights and experiences. There’s no need to bring a lot of baggage with you.


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