From the Adventurtunity Family: How to Downsize Your Home for RV Living

Jul 07, 2021

How To Downsize Into Your RV

All RV owners have one thing in common…the challenge of moving in! Even if you aren’t living fulltime in your RV, the process can be a bit overwhelming. For starters, you’ll need to determine and pack the gear necessary for your rig. Of course, there are the everyday items like kitchenware, bathroom items, and linens to pack. Plus, the outdoor items for fun activities!

As we downsized from our 3,000 sq. foot home to a less than 300 sq. foot living space, we learned A LOT! It was a process… a very long process. But we did it and you can too! There are a few things we did really well, and there are a few things we absolutely could have done better. Now knowing what we know, we are sharing our downsizing tips and tricks with you!

If you are planning to live fulltime in your RV congratulations! If you are living in your RV for vacations and weekend getaways, these tips will still be helpful as you pack your rig.

START EARLY

Moving out of a home packed with your most prized possessions, memories, stuff you just had to have, and junk is no easy task. First, decide if you will be getting a storage unit, keeping some things with family, or packing everything in your RV. Then you’ll want to determine when to start paring down and then start three months earlier than that. Seriously!

We suggest starting in one area or room and label everything Save, Sell, Store, or Send. Send being to Goodwill or another donation center or to the dump. We had to do several rounds of this process in the same rooms/spaces to significantly pare down our things. We’ll admit we probably kept more than we should have, but we also purged so much more than our original first pass through each space.

IDENTIFY RV MUST HAVES

It’s helpful to identify your RV must haves by typing or writing out a list. We suggest breaking your list down into sections and associate a quantity next to each item. For example, a section would be BATHROOM and a line item would be bath towels. There are three people in our family, and we planned to bring two bath towels each, so our line item was (6) bath towels.

Once you have your RV must-haves, you can start to collect these items in a designated RV area in your home, or move them directly into your RV if that is an option.

To give you an idea of how we packed for our family of three, here is part of our list.

BATHROOMS // 1.5 BATH

(6) bath towels, (3) pool towels, (6) hand Towels,

(4) wash clothes, (1) hair dryer, (1) curling iron, and toiletries

BEDROOMS // KING and BUNK AREA

(2) king sheet sets, (1) all season king bedding, (6) blankets,

(10) pillows, (5) accent pillows, (2) twin sheet sets, (2) all season twin bedding

KITCHEN

(6) plastic plates, (6) plastic bowls, (20) count utensil set (4 settings), (1) frying pan,

(1) small sauce pan, (1) large pot, (3) plastic nesting mixing bowls… these double as serving bowls,

(1) collapsible colander, (2) cutting boards, cooking utensils, (4) kitchen towels

GET CREATIVE SAVING THE SENTIMENTALS

There is no easy way to go about parting with memories and meaningful items. But thanks to technology we have more options when it comes to storing our favorite pieces. You can now scan, take photos, or create small memory books of your favorite possessions.

We took pictures of artwork, crafts, and other items we wanted to remember but didn’t need to keep. And since we decided to have a storage unit, we gave each of us a tupperware bin to save anything we wanted that would fit in that one bin.

SELL, STORE, AND SELL SOME MORE!

There is no better time to get uncomfortable than now. It can be a tricky balance of wanting to keep furniture and other items while you are still living in your home. But also wanting to sell or store them prior to your full-time departure. Trust us and learn from our mistakes! It’s better to sell or store your big items as soon as possible. By selling items early you have a better chance of receiving your asking price, coordinating a seamless pickup/delivery and making more room for your save, store, sell, and send piles. If you are worried about where to sit while still living in your home, consider using your camp chairs and collapsible furniture that you’ll take in your RV.

If you are storing large pieces, we recommend putting them in your storage unit first, so you know what space, you have to work with for boxes and smaller items. Another tip: Don’t get hung up on price. Your items are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Better to let go of them for some cash rather than holding on to them, only to possibly donate them later.

DON’T STUFF THE BUS

The good news is that if you’re traveling in an A-Class RV, chances are you have a decent amount of space for storing all your items. But we recommend you don’t fill every inch of it! You will want to leave room for changing out seasonal gear and additional items you might acquire along the way.

For example, this is our first spring and summer traveling full-time. We decided we wanted to have some fun water toys and got 2 inflatable paddleboards. If all of our storage spaces were full, we wouldn’t have had room to add and store our boards.

NOTHING IS PERMANENT

To set yourself up for success allow plenty of time for downsizing, create a plan, be realistic and remember nothing is permanent. You’ll quickly realize the items you use frequently and those you don’t. If you packed too much you can always purge later and if you wish you had something, you can always add it along the way.

Eight months in, we are still shuffling items, utilizing our space differently and adding new items. We have even added a golden retriever puppy into the mix and found room for him and the things he needs too! The biggest thing to realize is this: the experiences, memories, and friends you will acquire along your RV journey will be far more valuable than any of the physical things you put in it. Bring what you need, a few things you want, and most importantly, an open heart and mind ready to be filled with all the amazing experiences you will find down the road!