By Terri Nighswonger
My husband and I have been living full time in our RV for the last 20 months. We’ve been stationary, we’ve traveled, been stationary, and traveled again. Our lives always look chaotic on the outside but, really, we are pretty stable people even though some may say otherwise.
I was reflecting today on our journey thus far and was thinking to myself, what’s been the hardest part? I think I’d say the hardest part was downsizing to move into our travel trailer. My husband didn’t want to pay for storage. I think men have less of an attachment to “things” than women do to start. I possessed everything from antiques that were family heirlooms, to Mother’s Day cards my kids made when they were little.
What do I do with all of it, was my first question. Todd said, “Throw it away or sell it!” But how could I sell the cedar chest that was a gift for my high school graduation or the shelves that my mother had refinished for me? I had afghans that my grandmothers had crocheted. I certainly wouldn’t sell those. My heart skipped a beat every time I was met with the question, “What do you want to do with this?”
It really didn’t help that time was a factor. We purchased our RV in October of 2018 and were set to move that December. We put items up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and planned to submit the last big items to an auction house. Those were the big things like the bedroom set and a few antiques.
In the end, I just had to keep telling myself that it was “all just stuff.” If, God forbid, there was a fire, there would not have been time, nor would I have wanted to try and save anything but myself and my dog, and husband too.
I do feel that one needs to mourn the loss of some of those “things.” I was told to take a picture and keep those and, of course, I still have the memory.
For those who might be keeping things in storage or just starting this process, it might sound weird, but I had to come to terms with each piece. Once I said, “I’m okay with that being sold,” then I knew it wasn’t a problem. We sold several items through Facebook Marketplace, including the cedar chest, and I was able to meet the new owners and, in several cases, we helped to deliver the item and place it in their house. Seeing where my stuff was going was a big help.
I still have a few items stored at my mother’s house and a few boxes of pictures in my father-in-law’s garage. We hope to get those scanned at some point.
About that auction. Apparently we didn’t do our due diligence because the items only brought in a small amount of money – maybe $50. Someone got a steal on a bedroom set that we paid a lot of money for. For that, we just had to say, “Let’s move on.”
Now I can say that I don’t miss all that stuff. We try to go through the things in our RV every six months or so, or every time we move. If we haven’t even looked at it in that time, we make a Goodwill donation run.
What has been your experience with downsizing? Are you caught between room in the RV and the memories in that item? Tell me in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.