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Your guide to ‘upsizing’ after full-time RVing

I never thought I would need to upsize. Or that upsizing would be so very different from the years we accumulated lots and lots of stuff. Here’s what happened:

We got rid of virtually everything from a five-bedroom house and narrowed it down to two 5′ by 5′ storage units. Within a year, we got down to six Rubbermaid containers containing photo albums, my mother’s china and crystal, a box of knick-knacks, one box of memories and my photo portfolio. I kept one nostalgic rocking chair, a bedside table, and an antique bed.

I have only missed our green wicker porch furniture and my huge walnut and brass inlaid desk. None of which would fit in this house.

Rigorous purging in RV

I am rigorous in getting rid of stuff in the RV now. At least twice a year I pull everything out of every cabinet and storage bay and sort through it. Anything extra or not used is donated or tossed. Read about taking inventory and purging here.

A whole house to purge

We bought my dad’s house in Arizona after he passed away. We bought it along with his accumulation of stuff through his 98 years of life, 30 of which were spent in this house. I immediately put in the garage anything that I did not love, that was a duplicate or too worn.

We have become half-time RVers and are now back in the house after six months. I am suddenly wondering what I let go of so quickly in the garage sale!

The thrill is gone

While we were a growing family and changing homes, I dearly loved to go shopping and decorate. But now it has been so long living minimalistic with no space to add anything (after years of full-time RVing) that I have come to find shopping a chore. It is no longer a recreational activity.

Upsizing advice

While there is lots of advice for downsizing, I was surprised that there is advice for upsizing too. Most advice is for moving into larger homes. For us, anything bigger than a 40′ x 8′ RV is larger!

Look to the future

If you’re relocating from an RV to a house, townhouse, apartment or even park model, take the future into consideration.

  • How much work does it require?
  • A reminder: All those wonderful kitchen appliances and gadgets I now have room for do not alter the fact that I don’t like to cook. The air fryer I have been eyeing would inevitably go the way of the bread machine and dehydrator did at the old house.
  • Will the purchases be useful if downsizing again?
  • How easy are the items to sell, move, donate or dispose of?
    • Our niece wanted Dad’s couches so we needed to purchase new ones. I made a poor impulse buy on a beautiful leather power couch and loveseat that required taking off the patio doors to get them in. Each is over 300 lbs. and would need a professional mover to relocate.
    • As amazingly comfortable as they are, it would be far too expensive for either of our kids to move them to different states and expensive for us to move too.
  • Rugs are pretty but they are trip hazards and need cleaning and vacuuming.

Fill space for daily living, not company

  • Fill the space for daily living, not for company. My father entertained a lot. We don’t. There are now 37 places for us to sit. The two of us could alternate a different spot every day for more than a month!
  • Stay with the essentials.
  • Just because you have a house again does not mean the kids will be visiting often. Don’t plan for them either.  As my son explained, they have to work, have families, and it is expensive to travel. We are getting a queen Murphy cabinet bed that will hold our TV and suffice for the few nights they are visiting.

Use it

  • Live in the home before going buy-crazy.
  • Fill the space with things you really like and will use.
  • Does the item have multiple uses? As RVers we are experts in things doing double-duty.

Buy used

  • Buy used. Peruse thrift, consignment and used furniture stores. The old adage about someone’s trash is another’s treasure is so true. We are in a retirement community where used items are in unusually good shape.
  • Remember that discount stores have good prices.
  • Dollar stores provide a number of items without breaking the bank.

Space is good

  • Every surface doesn’t need something on it. The fact that the end table isn’t going to rock and roll down the highway doesn’t mean it has to have something on it. The same with the kitchen counter.
  • Extra space doesn’t mean a need for extra stuff.
  • Every wall doesn’t need to be covered either. Space is good. Space is tranquil.
  • More stuff means more maintenance, whether that is in dusting or fixing.

Keeping RV?

  • Consider duplicating some items so you don’t have to completely empty it out every time you return from a trip. My dishes, pots and pans, towels, sheets and blankets stay. My favorite pillow has to travel back and forth though.
  • Repack your RV with just items needed for the trip rather than loading up for full-timing.
  • Keep items together that will go back and forth. We have a go bag with all the important papers and passports to transport.
  • Items you don’t feel comfortable safely leaving in RV but won’t use in home, keep together. I have a shelf with our Garmin GPS, TireMinder, spotlights and other RV-specific equipment. The portable Dish and tire compressor are together in the garage too.

Delete some more

  • Just like in a motorhome, take time to sort, discard and donate.
  • If you haven’t used something it in a year or more get rid of it.

Functional and comfortable

Upsizing for us has been easier than for most because we started with a fully furnished townhouse. After I got done purging it wasn’t as fully furnished, so we continue to add as we need. The difference for me this time around is that I want functionality and comfort. I don’t need as much stuff or design elements. There is a difference between upsizing and upscaling.

##FT2.44

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Al LeFeusch
1 month ago

My worst nightmare!

Tami
1 month ago

Great article! We’ve been full timing for 5 years now. Although we don’t have an end date for our travels, I do wonder how I would upsize to something bigger than our 40 ft. DP. I plan on estate sales and such, but still….it will take a lot of work. Best wishes to you in your new mansion! 🙂

Rosy
1 month ago

Thanks for these helpful hints. After seven years we are beginning the process of “deciding where to plant ourselves” for the next chapter. I keep looking for directions! Seems like the choices should be easy but I get sidetracked by “when the kids were little” memories. We have adult grandchildren and like living light. Guess that should be the focus instead of trying to move back into the past!

Ival Secrest
1 month ago

We are full timing for the 2nd time in 26 years of RVing. We established a rule about 25 years ago that if something comes in then something must go out. It did help but we broke the rule occasionally. We were in the RV for 6-8 months when we were not full-timing. I must admit the 2nd time around is not as much fun but that may be due to the fact we are now significantly older.

Patricia Neuzil
1 month ago

We have been full-timing in a motorhome for almost 9 years and recently bought a small house in the RV park we love but will keep our motorhome. Your article does a great job of saying what I agree with about not filling the larger space with stuff just because you now have much more room. Our motorhome has never been cluttered and I’m determined to not have the house filled as well.

bill
1 month ago

Too bad we can’t bring ourselves to live as consciously in our sticks and bricks as we do when full timing. There might not be the ocean of plastic (pun intended) that assaults our brains when we step into a $ store or walmart. Thanks for your thoughtful articles .. keep them coming.

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