The jump into RVing can feel exceptionally overwhelming if you own a large home. Even if you decided to keep your home and rent it out or have people watch it for you, you are still looking at the idea of drastically reducing the amount of things you are going to be bringing with you.
For some that may be photo albums, pieces of furniture with a story, clothing you feel like you can’t live without. Many women I know keep their wedding dresses, or some other item from their wedding day. Humans like to hold onto happy memories, which sometimes means holding onto things we associate those memories with. When we are faced with the prospect of getting rid of or loosing these things, that have a special place in our heart, we might feel like we just can’t. We keep holding onto them or making room for them where we don’t really have room. For example I had kept a few pieces of baby clothes from when my boys where first born. I really have no where to put them, or display them in an RV, but I wasn’t ready to part with them when we first started our adventure. After being in our trailer for nearly a year I have realized I have quite a few things that I can and should part with.
When it comes to simplifying or de-cluttering there are so many methods to use to help you decide. A very popular one is by Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t spark joy, then it’s time to let it go. That is an excellent starting point for going through clothing, shoes or decor items in your home. Unfortunately you may understand this to mean that you should get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy. If I only kept items that sparked joy I would have many useless items and I guarantee we wouldn’t have any kitchen supplies. (I do not particularly enjoy working in the kitchen). There is a sense of practicality that needs to lead here and you can use her method of decluttering when going through the essentials in your home as well, She has some excellent tips beyond the simple “spark joy” bit she is known for.
While it does matter what we bring with us on our adventures, we probably need to focus more on our attitude about our things to really get the most out of the full time RV lifestyle. Additionally you can ask yourself questions about your things? Will you be doing a lot of hiking, and casual date nights. You probably can do without the black tie attire and stick to hiking boots, jeans and a couple of your favorite dresses if your so inclined. I personally where dresses 2 or more times a week as part of my lifestyle. Therefore my closet has quite a few skirts, blouses and dresses. I personally don’t follow the fashion trends closely and I try to have layers of clothing that will work with all seasons as opposed to the traditional packing away seasonal clothing. This is true for everyone in my home. We keep a few pairs of pants and shorts, t-shirts and long sleeves for all the seasons.
How do we cultivate a practical spirit within ourselves, or a simple eye. Can you RV when you are stuck in a cycle of loving things, and enjoy being surrounded by stuff. Honestly having the desire to simplify is enough to start. I firmly believe that the best way to cultivate a minimalist attitude is to just try it! If you can’t part with your things or don’t know where to start when you are deciding what will be useful living in an RV, you can always get a storage unit in the town you plan on having your “Home Base” (Where your mailing address and drivers license will be). You might not be %100 sure you will RV full-time indefinitely, having some of your favorite things for when you move back into a home can be a comforting security blanket so to speak. You can fill your storage shed with all those things you aren’t ready to part with or you think you might use later.
After a year on the road you can revisit your storage unit. When going through your items ask questions like: How many times in the past year did I wear this? Do I have definite plans to wear it again? How many times in the past year did I use or even think about this item? Is a life on the road enjoyable, am I planning to continue? If you don’t plan on moving back into a home you can sell, gift or donate pieces of furniture, decor, clothing, shoes, small kitchen appliances, or anything else you have been holding onto that you now know for sure you won’t need. There is no rule that says you can’t continue to hold on to a storage unit for seldom used but definitely useful things. However, after a year on the road you should have a pretty good idea of what you are going to need on a regular basis. I’ve heard suggestions of if you haven’t used it in 6 months you can go ahead and get rid of it as well. I say use whatever length of time feels right for you. If you feel like 6 months isn’t enough time to test the waters then you can wait. After seeing the benefits of living on less and realizing you really didn’t need all the extras you will naturally have a simpler mindset.
In general I think you will find that the RV lifestyle is minimalist in nature, with a few exceptions based on your particular desire for extras. We can say that for the most part everything we are bringing with us in our RV is something that needs to be there.
So minimalism, simple living. If we aren’t getting enjoyment from our things where are we finding our joy. That’s the best part about RVing. We find joy in the things that we do each day. Spending more time outside and in nature. Going for walks, eating good food, visiting new places, meeting new people. When you let go of things being your main source of joy you move on to finding joy from living your life. That is a beautiful and worthwhile trade off.
“maintaining a simple life, provides you with the freedom to enjoy living.”-agirloutnumbered
The freedom that comes from not being tied to societies expectations, or traditions can be so rewarding. We are under no obligation to work a 9-5, to drive the nicest and newest cars. You can become resistant to the influence of capitalism, and reject commercialism. We don’t need to compete with our neighbors to have the nicest or best, we aren’t part of a home owners association that’s dictating how manicured our yards need to look. Speaking of yards, when you are full time RVing you wont have to squeeze in time to mow, groom or water the lawn.
There is maintenance that needs to be performed. We do need to take care of our RVs seals and our roof. There is the issue of dumping our black tank and in our case learning how to handle humidity in our trailer. The maintenance that needs to be done on your RV will be necessary not superficial in nature which may make your life feel like it has more meaning.