Fitting everything you have in your house into your RV is actually impossible.The average house size in America is about 2,687 square feet. RV’s range in size, however a 30 foot RV will have about 270 square feet. Considering that fact, it is understandable that going from a house to an RV can seem like an insurmountable task. In order to make the switch from your “bricks and sticks” house to full-time RV living, you will need to downsize. It is easier said than done, however in just six steps you will be able to downsize for full-time RV living before you know it.
1) Identify what items you need to take with you.
As a general rule, focus on making ninety percent of what you load onto the RV necessary items and ten percent (or less) sentimental items. Only taking items you absolutely need will help you slim down your possessions, however there are ways to further minimize the storage space needed.
2) Digitize paperwork
RV Share recommends scanning your important documents so the documents that once had to be stored in a filing cabinet can be stored on a thumbdrive or the cloud.
When switching your documents from hard copy to digital, Full Time Families recommend storing the digital copies in multiple places, for example a couple thumb drives kept in different places, an external harddrive or a cloud-based service like Google Drive or Dropbox.
3) Address your clothing needs
The rule here is to go for function over style and to not bring more of the same type of item than absolutely necessary. For example, you may only need a couple pairs of shorts, not five in each color. Or you may only need a couple of very good sweaters you can layer together for extra warmth if one sweater is not enough for the weather. If matching matters to you, choose which
pieces you bring based on how well they match with everything else you are bringing. This way, you can mix and match any piece with another.
Go Downsize provides an excellent list of 43 Essential Items You Will Need to will help you with this process.
4) Switch existing furniture for portable furniture
Time to get excited about sitting lakeside by your RV, content in the full-time RV life you built. It is important to have portable and comfortable items to make that picture a reality. Choose foldable or packable items like these comfortable camping chairs or this inflatable couch!
You may want to consider selling or giving away large items to minimize storage costs. Selling your items is easier than ever. You could have yard sales, post items on Craigslist or even use Facebook Marketplace to rehome your items and earn a little cash, as well.
Cannot bear to sell or give away some sentimental items but do not want to store them indefinitely? Two Happy Campers recommend gifting items to friends and family that you cannot bear to donate or throw away.
5) Reduce your dishware
You can reduce the amount of kitchenware on your rig by not keeping more sets than there are people in your RV. The first items to get thrown out when downsizing should be any broken, cracked or chipped dishes, anything worn out or not suitable for sale or donation. Any items that still have some good years ahead can go in the sale or donate piles. For more tips, Axle Addict has a great list of kitchen items you should keep when downsizing for full-time RV living.
6) Put what is left in Storage
Sometimes, we cannot bring items and yet cannot part with them. Long-term storage is the best option for these items. You can pay for a storage unit (even as small as the size of a closet) for the priceless family photo albums or other sentimental items.
Full Time Families suggests protecting your stuff from insects and rodents while the items are in storage by using mothballs, Damprid, furniture bags and vacuum bags. Keep paperwork in storage in a fireproof safe.
When you do take the leap to full-time RV living, consider living in your RV close to home for the first couple weeks if you have a storage unit. Two Happy Campers recommend this step after they unintentionally did not leave immediately after moving out of their house. By sticking around for just a little longer, you will have a couple weeks to figure out which items you packed on the RV it turns out you do not need and want to put into storage, and which items are in storage that it turns out you need in the RV.
Downsizing may be intimidating and a lot of work, however it is a necessary step in order to live the full-time RV life. If you are patient, think logically and start sooner than you think you should (very important), you will be able to curate the most necessary items for your full-time RV adventure.