There were many steps we took, but we purged it all!
We had a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house, along with two living rooms, a kitchen, dining room and a two car garage. Moving into the RV would have been our 13th move in 13 years. After about 5 moves, we started thinking like minimalists. “Have we touched ANYTHING In this box since the last move?” Yep, you guessed it, if the box was full of stuff but nothing was determined sentimental, we donated what we could and tossed the rest. By the time we moved down to Orlando (our last move before moving into the RV) we had purged a LOT of stuff.
Big Empty House
When we moved down to Orlando, FL, we didn’t have any furniture except for the kids’ bunk beds. We had an empty dining room, two bedrooms and two living rooms. The bunk beds were able to be separated, literally being two beds that sat on top of each other, so we turned the two little bedrooms into a room for the girls and one for Chase. After a few weeks, we decided to hit a furniture store and buy a beautiful king bed, a very large sectional couch for one living room, a futon for the other, and a heavy wood dining table and chairs.
Big Full House
Almost a year and a half after we have filled the house, we decide to become a full time RV family! Time to purge! Where to start? There are so many rooms and so much stuff! Below is my suggested list on how to get started.
Start in a closet you rarely go through. We had 5 closets, so I started in a deep closet that had our shoes by the garage, but because it was so deep, we also had a lot of boxes to go through, including some that hadn’t been touched since we moved there! COMPLETELY go through EVERYTHING! Make piles for keep (this pile should be SUPER small), one for donate and one for trash. Our trash only picked up once a week so our recycling bin and trash bin were always full, sometimes a little overflowing.
Don’t worry if you feel your keep pile is too big. There are several stages to purging! Taking into the consideration your timeline for become an RV family, you can REALLY purge things quickly or choose to go through all your things a few times before the final move. Now repeat this process for all closets! If you have a few closets all in the same area, you can consolidate the keep pile to one closet. I remember telling my kids “We are DONE with this closet! Do NOT touch it or put anything in there!”
We had two bedrooms for the kids. I started with Chase because he’s the less emotional one over stuff. We went through all his things pretty quickly. It was mainly tossing out the broken stuff and asking him what he definitely didn’t want anymore. I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of all their things, but this process for all three of the kiddos took a few days.
I went to Walmart and bought one of those typical sized plastic storage totes for each of them. They could take JUST what could fit in there. This was not counting their Lego’s or game system or any other community toy.
Don’t forget to separate everything into the keep (which should only be in their totes), donate and trash piles!
I took as many pics of all our big furniture and listed them all on the local FaceBook Yard Sales type groups. We weren’t asking to get rich, we just wanted to pay off the store credit card that we used to purchase them. Knowing people like to haggle, we did start high, but in the end, we made just over what we needed to pay off the credit card.
The kitchen can be interesting to purge. Starting with dishes would be a good starting place. Consider the space in an RV. The lack of a dishwasher. Dishwashers can be purchased and I have seen a few come with them already installed. We chose to do one set of dishes and cups for each person. Yes, you read that right. ONE! Everyone is responsible for cleaning their own things. If it’s time to eat and your dishes are dirty, you don’t eat until you wash them. When we started to full time, our youngest had just turned 6. I would check her dishes afterward to make sure she didn’t miss anything. I know some people who use all disposable. Do what you think is best for your family.
As for appliances, you have to keep space in mind. We have an InstantPot, a hand mixer, and a vegetable spiralizer. I am currently in the market for a waffle maker as well.
Again, do the same three piles, keep (this should be a minimal pile), donate and trash pile.
When thinking about how much to take, this task can become a bit overwhelming. Starting with an easy task would be removing all clothing that’s too small, too worn out and clothes that are out of your taste, or children’s taste. With three kiddos, we’ve always been a minimalist family. More clothes just means more laundry and who wants to do more laundry! Keep in mind if you will have a washer as well on board. If you only plan on going to the laundromat once a week, you’ll more clothes than someone who would have a washer/dryer in their RV. We do have a washer/dryer and if we were to wear everything once before washing, we would probably only be able to go a week and a half at most!
There really isn’t an actual pile for keep, because in theory, this should all be sure you are actively using. If you have items just sitting in a pile for Keep, you should think to yourself if you really need it or not.
In theory, you have been packing your trash bin full before pickup each week, and possibly your neighbors as well! This worked for us for a while and then as we neared Launch Day we had more and more trash! We picked up a Bagster from Lowes. Home Depot should have them as well. I believe they were around $30. You fill up this bag with your trash and then go online and arrange for the Bagster to be picked up. It was around $100 or so. We did this twice. This saved us lots of time and energy. Towards the end we were throwing usable things into the Bagster and neighbors and local junk hunters would swing by and dig around.
This one is a no brainer, as you fill up a bag, throw it in the back of your vehicle and drop it off at a donation center of your choice! Unless you know a family that could use it, that works as well!
Why not have a yard sale?
I have had one yard sale in my whole adult life. I made a great amount of money, but it took up all my time for weeks and was thoroughly exhausting. Personally, I just didn’t want to add on another source of stress during this already stressful time in my life.
If you choose to have a yard sale, I say go for it!!!
Saying Goodbyes are never easy!
The last few weeks before our Launch Day, I invited everyone I knew to come over and hang out for a little bit, bring their kids to play with my kids, and just chat! This served several purposes.
- Having the chance to talk to people other than my children (all moms needs this, right?)
- Having great conversation instead of a quick goodbye
- Walking my friend through the house and looking at all my donate or trash piles, she might spy something she’d like
- Giving my childcare to have a one good last playdate with their friends.
This conversation happened a LOT –
Me to children: Ok, guys, time for “so and so” to leave. Say bye!
Me to friend: Ok, take this “whatever” with you!
Usually it was a toy but sometimes more. We just needed it gone! We were going to have no use for it if it was not in our keep pile!