So you are considering hitting the road, but how do you fit your entire life into a motorhome or 5th wheel? Here are some tips about downsizing!
When you are ready to start downsizing, set up a garage sale or put your items up for sale on eBay and Craigslist. Most people will begin using Craigslist to sell the bigger items like furniture and appliances. People inevitably want to negotiate, so we recommend starting a little high with your asking price.
Check out RV Wanderlust Blog for downsizing from an apartment!
Most major cities have a Freecycle.com, which is another good way to find your stuff a new home.
"We are downsizing from a nearly 3000 square feet home to prepare to move into a 400 square feet cToyhauler with our 6 yr old. We decided to downsize to save money so we can do the things we want to do. We are hoping to be out on the open road soon.
It is very liberating to get down to the minimal needs, but it is hard to part with things passed down in the family. Right now I am working on getting photo's out of frames and into albums, decluttering (knick knacks & brick a brack) and deciding what furnishings we really need and what will fit."
~Beth Smith (future FOTR)
Downsizing the Family Home | Foldable Cloth Storage bins
| Deck Storage Container Box for outdoor stuff
Rubbermaid easy storage | Sterilite Clear storage box
The RVer utilizes less and enjoys more freedom!!
How much room does a person take up when sleeping, eating, watching TV and working? Think about it as you go about your daily business in your stick house. Look around you - how many of your things do you actually use everyday? Every week? Go through things every couple months and justify its existence.
"We sold what we could, but due to time constraints we ended up just storing a bunch of stuff.
It was a horrible decision. We are paying an outrageous storage fee for stuff we like but will not likely use for years to come."
~Mandi Sanders (FOTR since 2006)
"I gave up on eBay only after three items that sold and brought next to nothing. I accidentally found craigslist.org and it was an absolute BLESSING! It's free to the individual seller and buyer and you can post in your closest city in your state and add up to four digital pictures of the item. It stays on for 45 days and you can edit the message as often as you need to. Best of all - no long distance buyers (scammers) can get you because all my stuff sold to people that came to my house and I asked them to bring CASH and come ready to pick the item up! Everybody wins on this one! I Love Craigslist."
~Stephanie Graus (FOTR since 2005)
"Box clothes by boys/girls size and listing the items on Craigslist 'i.e. box of boys clothes size 4 - 5 pr pants; 3 l/s shirts; 3 s/s shirts $15'
Type everything up in a Word document then doing cut and paste to Craigslist, that way if you decide to post it again on another list, or eBay, you don't have to retype it.
Of course if you donate to non-profits you can get a receipt for your donation and it is tax deductible (if you meet IRS requirements). See www.irs.gov"
~Carolyn "jester_mrs" (FOTR since 2007)
If you haven't used something in six months, then you don't need it (except personal photos, records, taxes, etc).
"Since I decided that I'd rather have my life on the road than have all that stuff, it hasn't been hard to pack it all off to the Goodwill."
"It is possible to keep a home, but the downfall to keeping it is maintaining it. I found for us that keeping a home was an added stress. We were rarely there, when we were we were forever undergoing renovations, and the biggest drawback for me was that when we were "tired" of being on the road, we'd always want to rush back home. After being home, we'd get bored and want to leave again. It was a constant struggle, be on the road, or be home? Road, home? It's much easier again knowing that all our money and time is again ours, not our house's."
~Vicki "FuhKaui" (FOTR since 1999)
"We were "getting rid of stuff" as part of a spiritual and emotional change, so storing it would have been counter-productive. We donated 5 moving trucks of stuff to the Salvation Army and Goodwill Donation Center. They both would pick up the loads with a couple of days of notice. We sold quite a bit on eBay and gave away or sold items to family and friends.
My parents were so uncomfortable with our giving away almost everything that we owned, that they built a storage building to keep all of the things that we gave to them. That was kind of funny. I think they spent more on the building than the stuff was worth. They just couldn't stand to see us part with the stuff. Oh well, it's theirs now!"
"We opted to purchase an enclosed trailer that we are lucky to be able to put on a sister's property, rather than spend $50+/mo for storage. If we settle we'll still have the trailer to use or sell and our stuff doesn't have to justify its existence quite so much. At $600/yr it better be awful good stuff????
What's in the trailer??? Lots of it is just that...stuff. Things that would be expensive to replace or sentimental value. The kids have each have a couple boxes of toys that they trade out or toss each time we visit the trailer. And I store winter clothes in summer and summer clothes in winter and other seasonal items - Xmas stuff, fishing/camping gear and so on.
Amazingly enough...after 3 years the stuff that was too "valuable" to give/sell/toss - now is just "taking up space". After a little while in an RV you lose a lot of your attachment to things and realize the importance of other "stuff". Its a good way to get off the consumer wagon that so many Americans are addicted to."
~Lydia (FOTR since 2003)
"We are not on the road yet but have downsized and are continuing to downsize. It's truly an awesome feeling. When you get rid of stuff that you thought you needed, it's freeing. It's also addictive. When I get rid of something, I start looking for other things to get rid of. We've learned to think hard before we buy anything. Why do we "need" that? Do we REALLY need that? It's amazing how little we need!"
~ Lisa "The Unwritten Family"
Tips for Selling Your Home
1) "Stage" your home. There are techniques to get your home to appeal to potential buyers. Watch the show "Sell This House" and see what they do. We watched this show all summer before we put our house up and I'm convinced the things we did really helped. Here are some examples: Clean and declutter. Take out extra furniture and put it in storage or a neighbors garage. Make it look rather bare inside.Take off window treatments to show more light. Cover an old sofa or chairs with a solid white sheet as a slipcover. Paint main living areas a warm neutral color (take out the guesswork of choosing colors by visiting a model home in your area and get the names of some colors). Get carpets cleaned. Put "clean" smelling (not fruity or spicy) air fresheners throughout the house. Replace any "dated" fixtures (again get some ideas from model homes). Fresh, white silicone caulk in the bathrooms make it look new and squeaky clean .Complete the spa-look in your bathroom with new (cheap!) white towels. Create curb appeal by keeping the grass manicured and place some pots of flowers around.
2) Do a thorough market analysis of your area. Don't under price your home (especially if you've done all this work to get it ready to sell!!).Don't be afraid to price it at or near the maximum price per square foot for your neighborhood.You can always negotiate.
3) Offer a selling "bonus". Build into your price an amount of cash for the buyer to receive at closing (for a full-price offer, of course). A $500- $2000 decorating allowance is a nice incentive for a buyer in a seller's market.
4) Hold an Open House on a weekend and be sure to advertise.
Newsweek article about Extreme Downsizing featuring a Family on the Road.