The Five Words You Need to Know to Downsize for Full-Time RV Camping


Full-time RV camping is freeing, exciting and a great adventure. But before you rush out the door to the open road, take a good look around your house. All that stuff isn’t going to fit in your RV. Before you start hyperventilating, try not to make this into an episode of hoarders.

We live in a world obsessed with material possessions, so the idea of removing perfectly good odds and ends from your life seems absurd. In reality, it’s actually pretty freeing. Think of what you actually need to survive. It’s not much. So where do you start the process? Make list (we love lists, can’t you tell?).

Organize all of your things using the 6 categories below. Once you have a better idea of your inventory, you can start pairing it down. If possible, begin with the items you don’t use every day, like kitchen appliances, decorations, items in closets, etc.

1. Household Items
2. Furniture
3. Clothes & Shoes
4. Office & Files
5. Tools & Garage Items
6. Other

Be realistic about the fate of these items. Less is truly more when it comes to living in an RV. As you go through your things, pile them into the following categories: Keep, Sell, Toss, Store, Donate. 

A keeper item is something you’ll be bringing into the RV with you. It should serve a distinct purpose. Sell is an item that is valuable, but you no longer need it. You can consider selling it online, in a garage sale, to a friend or through a pawn shop.

Toss is an item like an old pillow or old socks, you can’t sell them, you aren’t going to keep them and you certainly don’t want to store them. Finally store, these are items like paperwork, family photos and keepsakes and other important things that won’t fit in your RV, but that you don’t want to get rid of.

You may find you have some things that are valuable that you neither want to keep, store or sell. Find a local thrift shop and make a donation! You can also go to a local church, find a charity or even give things to friends in need. However you decide to do it, you’ll be helping someone out and you’ll feel good about it too!

Once you begin taking action, you’ll start to feel a lot better about the process. For many people it can be an emotional journey, as these things make up the the story of your life as you’ve lived it. They are your possessions, your treasures and uniquely yours. Because emotions can play such a huge part in your decisions, it’s good to make piles and come back to them a few days later.

Probably your most important piles to assess are the Keep and Store piles. Make sure what you are keeping will serve a purpose as you transition to full-time RVing. In the store pile, you want to make sure what you are storing is definitely worth the cost of a monthly storage unit. These can get pretty expensive, so you don’t want to be storing a few photos of your kids and a lamp you just don’t want to get rid of. In the end, you might find that you don’t even need a storage unit.

Okay, so you’re probably overwhelmed by now. It’s okay. Start from the top and work your way down. Remember this doesn’t have to be done overnight and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Whatever is best for you and your family is what’s going to give you the most peace in the long run.

Good luck and happy full-time RVing!