by Nadyne Huber
Originally posted on 3/6/21
When we were planning to go full-time, we knew we would need to sell the house. We also knew we would need to get rid of or store almost all our possessions. I would look online, listen to the experienced YouTubers, and study every suggestion I found on HOW and WHEN to start getting rid of all our stuff. There were few real helpful suggestions, so we sat down and came up with a plan, ground rules and timeline for doing this. Our "Go" date was May 1, 2018.
We decided to put the house on the market on March 1 and hope it would sell timely. It sold with the new owner wanting to move in April 13th. Okay, we thought, we can do that. We’ll just move into the 5th wheel April 12th and live in it for two weeks until Jack retires.
We decided to plan to start getting rid of our stuff May 1, 2017. This would give us a full year and we could take our time. We started with the closets in the guest room and office. Everything we thought we might want to keep was boxed, labeled and put into the office on one side of the room. What we knew we wouldn't keep was put on the other side of the room. Furniture was put on sale on CraigsList or donated.
How to decide what to permanently keep in storage or in the RV??? This will be the most difficult to execute. How did we do it?
The Ground Rules -
1. Family heirlooms were keepers, but how and where to put them was the issue. We each labeled a box with one of the children's name on each one. The heirlooms would be split amongst these boxes as we came to them. This proved to be very easy. We didn't have to agonize over what or where to keep these items.
2. Keepsakes were also keepers, but what to do with them if we weren’t going to give them to one of the children? These went in boxes marked with either “Nadyne’s Keepsakes” or “Jack’s Keepsakes.” We put our keepsakes in these boxes to go to storage. Not surprising was that Nadyne had many more than Jack!
3. Home Décor was a huge one as we had a great amount of wall art and other items that we both really loved. Jack opted to keep almost all of his framed wall art. Much of it had cost quite a bit and could not be re-purchased anywhere as they were one of a kinds by an artist. Some of these were framed prints of Jack’s photography and even printed to canvas and framed. Jack boxed most these up for storage.
I had a slew of tchotchkes I’d spent a lifetime collecting -- pig collection, Swarovski crystal collection, little items my children had made me in grade school, other little things I was gifted by someone special over the years. I put all of these in a box labeled “Nadyne’s Tchotchkes”. Much of these would go to storage also.
We each saved a few décor items to move out to the rig. Jack had put up shelves in the RV for décor. These shelves were all from our home so we didn’t need to re-buy these. Our rules for what was going out to the rig were; the item had to be unique and couldn’t just be re-bought, and the item had to be one of the many things that gave one or both of us a lot of happiness to see in our home. Some of the items that gave one of us real happiness may seem dumb to some people but if it truly makes you happy to keep it in your home, take it with you!
4. Household items must all be sorted out for taking to the rig, store or donate. I replaced all my pots and pans with a set that had removable handles so they could be nested in the rig. I donated all the rest of my pans.
I donated all our dishes – they were very heavy stoneware – and purchased a Corelle set for the rig. We actually put our flatware into storage because we both really love it! I have an enormous set of crystal water goblets, wine glasses and dessert goblets I inherited from my grandmother. I boxed those up and put them all in storage.
Small kitchen appliances are difficult. You certainly can’t take all of them with you in an RV, but you do get attached to certain appliances – or at least I do! If it is an easily replaceable item, we donated it to someone. If it could never be replaced, we stored it. If it was essential, like a crockpot, we found a place in the rig for it. I admit, I took things into the rig that I found I never used on the road! As we traveled around, I reorganized my storage and donated many of these items.
5. Furnishings are a very big deal. Almost none of your furniture will fit in to an RV. We kept, and re-purposed, some small storage pieces. We stored our bedroom furniture because it was one of Jack’s “it makes me really happy” things. We sold or gave away all furniture that was left. We had six flat panel TVs. Obviously we needed only two for the rig so we gave away four of them.
6. Personal items, clothing and shoes were tough calls. I never considered my shoes as just shoes, they were lovingly bought and cared for and they all made me very happy! Sadly I had shoes that I had not worn in decades! I had my office shoes with 3-inch heels that I had I stopped wearing and some I’d bought just because they made me happy but I never wore. Jack helped a lot with this process by brutally throwing away all of the shoes I hadn’t worn in a year or more. It was very painful for me. I had about 50 pairs of shoes and he cut me back to about 8 pair that could go in the RV. I have found that of those, I haven’t worn a few of them in the three years we’ve been on the road! Jack kept about the same amount of shoes for himself to have in the RV and the rest of our shoes were donated.
As for clothing, the same quandary ensued. Some of mine I am emotionally invested in, but I knew that they were not something that I’d ever wear again so they were donated. I ended up with a few cocktail dresses in storage, most of my clothes donated and the remaining few things went in to the RV. Jack did pretty much the same with his, a few suits went in to storage, one went into the rig with some of his other clothes, the rest were donated.
At this point, let’s talk about Jack’s baseball cap collection…sigh… He wanted ALL of them in the rig. I don’t think he managed to get all of them in, but there are sure a lot of them!
There are many more small things to think about but I’ve touched on the things that most challenged us. We are going in to our fourth year on the road and I believe we are finally done downsizing.
You have to be very selective about what you want to take with you on the road. Some things you don’t want to take but they are a necessary evil, such as my sewing machine. You can figure some of that out as you meander through your first year on the road. I think I’m finally done with getting rid of stuff, but then, it has been over three years.