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Full-time RV living: What do you do with 30+ years of accumulated “stuff”?

By Lisa Adcox
We purchased our first RV in 2016. It was new and we just loved camping. Many years before we had talked about living full-time in our RV, but life got in the way.

We were camping one weekend and met the camp host at Paris Landing State Park in TN. He began telling us about what he does as a camp host. He told us how it made full-time living in his RV more affordable, plus he got to see areas he would have never had the opportunity to see.

That was the push we needed, and we decided it was time to full-time RV. We set a deadline and stuck to it. We said, let’s go camping at least once a month for three or four days and that will help us know what we really need and don’t need. Plus, doing that will let us know how to use everything.

What to do with all the “stuff”

Well, that was the easy part. Now, what to do with 30 years’ worth of accumulated home furnishings and, yes, the house? We also had to figure out what to do with our extra vehicles.

The first thing we did was decide on where to sell things. I used Facebook Yard Sale groups that were in the county I lived in and surrounding counties. I broke up items into types: wood shelves, ironworks, collections, etc. Then, I took pictures and added prices right on the pictures. I also priced it cheaper if the buyer picked it up, but the price went up if I delivered.

Before I sold items, I gave friends and family the opportunity to come and get what they wanted. It was a good way for me to sell items. People who came after an item usually purchased more if they came, once they saw items I had in the house. I sold about everything that way and donated a bit towards the end.

Photos, the best memories of all

One thing I did that turned out to really be appreciated was that I went through all my photos and sorted them to give to family members. I had double and sometimes triple copies. Photos were sorted for the kids, grandkids, and my brothers and sisters. I even sent some to my ex, since he lost all his photos in a flood. Many told me how much the photos meant to them. We advertised our extra truck online and it sold to the first person who came. Gave the car to my daughter, so now that was taken care of.

Once I started selling it was liberating. I started thinking about why I had so much. I never wanted to have so much sitting around again! It took about six months of purging. The plan was about 6 to 8 months. We sold our home to our daughter and took off on May 1, 2018. Everything I owned was in my 32-foot Heartland Pioneer travel trailer. I was excited and, surprisingly, not nervous.

The first place we went was Gunnison, CO. What fun we had!

We now live in our upgraded travel trailer, a 38-foot Forest River Hemisphere. I love it. The first one was totaled due to an accident that was the other person’s fault. It did not deter us.

Go with the flow

If or when you decide to go full-time, plan and enjoy going with the flow. Everything is just stuff. Some people store items to only realize they did not use the items. Some, like me, sold it all. If it did not fit into full-time RVing, it was sold.

One interesting thing: My children had such different thoughts on what they wanted from the house. My youngest wanted items that had belonged to her grandmother; other daughters wanted things they remembered growing up. The boys just wanted pictures, especially the oldest. So, some special items are still in the family. The kids get to have them now, not after we pass. The only thing we kept was one wood chest with special items inside, which my daughter has stored.

We did bring along a few decorative items that now are displayed in our RV. We have Lovebirds carved from a Coconut that we got on a cruise, praying hands that were my mom’s that now have faded and paint worn off but they are special to me. Also, a very special Needle Point that was done by a dear friend as a wedding present, and a simple picture that was special to Rick and me.

Now, have fun purging. I hope my ideas help. Give yourself time. You can do it!

##FT20

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Claudio
8 months ago

I have a semi commercial building and am building a loft style apartment that will be our new address and storage and FREE.
i sold a property and live off the money and i also get rent money from this building .
Next step will be to sell the house with 30 years of car parts and projects , extra cars and suv and a second rv , way too many playthings but it all has been fun !
Eliminating the clutter is time consuming but liberating
It will be a long process but its doable ,our biggest hurdle is the PLANDEMIC as it has prevented us from leaving canada as we live like chinese under our crimeminister’s rule !
We both will not get the chemical jab and the high death rate of the vaxxed is a good reason to resist , insurance companies are posting that there are up to 40% death rate from the jab within a year …
So we are waiting it out and slowly cleaning /lightening the load , market price is staying high so money will not be an issue for us , i would rather live poor that to die rich !

Steve Zoller
8 months ago

We took photos of all the important mementos and things with memories associated with them and turned it into a photo book. It isn’t the “thing” that’s important, it’s the memory and large volumes of “memories” can be condensed into a couple of photo books.

David Asay
8 months ago

We have been full-timing for 2.5 years. We have a large storage unit with the stuff we thought we needed to keep for post full time life. We have a hard time remembering what is in there. I guess we don’t need it. But maybe we will be glad we kept it when we do go back to a sticks and bricks.. The penalty for our indecision is $209.00 a month for the storage unit. I hope what we kept is worth what we are paying.

Judy G
8 months ago

I did pretty much the same: offered anything wanted to family and friends, then had a garage sale, and finally donated what was left. ‘Just in case’ I did keep the house for a couple of years since it was paid for. When all went well, the house went, too, and my big dog and I continued full-timing for 12 years. Approaching 80, I bought a house and settled in one of the beautiful locations we enjoyed while on the road.

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