By Nanci Dixon
I read an article by Greg Illes about RV weight last week and decided it was time for our RV to lose some weight too. Along with us, our motorhome seemed to have gained some COVID weight — the result of too much time for too much online shopping.
Evidently, during quarantine, a lot of people have been sorting through things they no longer need or want. There are reports of hour-long waits to drop off items at Goodwill. Donation centers are overflowing. If you don’t want to wait in a donation center line, try selling items on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Craigslist, Mercari – or have a garage sale, if you’re able to.
Here are a few tips to help ease the load:
1. Dedicate time
Pick a time when you have the desire and stamina to go through your stuff. Dedicate at least a few hours a day, or one full day to sorting.
2. Create piles
Create a couple of piles: A toss, a donate, and a “maybe” pile. The toss pile is for that stuff you know nobody would want and you can’t believe you have held onto for so long. For example, my wood salad hands with three missing “fingers” went into the toss pile immediately! Donate is for the usable stuff, and the “maybe” pile is your “can-go-back-and-change-my-mind” pile.
3. Go in order
Start at one end of the RV and work your way through, drawer by drawer, cabinet by cabinet. If a drawer or cabinet is emptied as you sort through it, use that opportunity to wipe it out. They get dirty and dusty!
4. Be rigorous
It might be easy to sort through the stuff you don’t want but it might not make a very big dent. I had a pretty meager assortment gathered when I did the first go-through so had to go through again, more rigorously. Be diligent. Every part of your RV will thank you. Go through it again and pull out items that haven’t been used or needed in a year.
5. Have I used it in three years?
Ask yourself, “Have I used or needed this in the last three years?” Use whatever time you have been adding items to your RV – I had to look at the last five years of accumulating in our current RV.
6. Can I replace it?
If you are on the fence about something, ask yourself if you can replace it and buy it again if needed. I get so little chance (or room) to shop, so this was a particularly motivating question.
7. Take photos
If you have been hanging on to something for sentimental value, take a photo of it before letting it go. For me, it was my absolute favorite dress – black, 1950s style, and with a crinoline! Five years it has been bouncing around the closet, being pulled out once a year to try on and consider giving away. The photo is a better fit than the dress would ever be again.
8. Go outside
When you’re done inside, go outside and tackle every bin, bay and place that has a nook where items are tucked. Use the same pile method you did inside. This is a good time to not only reduce, but it is a great time to organize too. Put like things you are saving together and see if they can be stored that way. Measure spaces and find containers that stack and fit. I just pulled everything out and reorganized it all. It felt good!
9. Decide what you are getting rid of before you buy a new item
It’s easy to say, “When something comes in, something has to go out,” but it’s hard to do. It’s a good technique to practice though. I have finally learned to stand in the clothing store aisle, hands on a new T-shirt, and picture the RV drawer stuffed with my T-shirts and decide which one is going out. Same with kitchen utensils – where is it going to be stored and what is it replacing?
10. Buy yourself a present! (Preferably a small, lightweight one…)
If you just got rid of a ton of stuff, treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for a while. A new kitchen gadget? A new item of clothing? New shoes? A piece of seasonal decor? You deserve something after letting go of so much, and I think your RV will let this one purchase slide.
Now take a break and give yourself a pat on the back!
Here is another helpful article on RV weight and storage.
We just moved from a 3 BR sticks and vinyl to a Park model in a FL resort, we did a lot of downsizing. Many years of accumulation, some good, a lot bad. The new owner of the previous home inherited many good things to start their lives on. A young couple just getting started.
We recently traded in our beloved but tired old Suncruiser, and over half of what we unloaded still sits in the shed un-needed. Much of it seemed a huge need at the time of purchase, some of which was never used.
We’re in our 5th year of fulltiming in a 33′ 5th wheel. Once each year, we go through every cabinet, closet, and compartment to find items no longer serving us and dispose of them, often giving to other RVers, Goodwill, ReStore, etc. This year’s purge allowed us to eliminate nearly 200 pounds! 150+ pounds of kitchenware, small appliances, clothes, shoes, electronics, books, papers, jewelry, etc., plus a 40 pound shelving unit. We’re happier with less stuff to haul, move aside, clean, or maintain. Very liberating! If we miss something so much, America is filled with stores!
Early on, into our recent camping trip as I was putting the (heavy) sink covers under the sink, I wondered why I put them away and back on each time. I never used them at the campground. I promptly bagged them up and put them in the truck. They are in a box in the basement with a few other things that I’ll put back in when we sell the camper! No more hassle with those and I trimmed some weight from the RV! Win, win!!
I put fold down brackets on the side of my cabinet and when I need more counterspace in my tiny kitchen I pop them up and put the sink cover on it. I tried using it (one piece) on the sink when I cooked but if I needed to use the sink I couldn’t so this allows me to use the sink and have work space.
We got tired of the hassle of selling stuff (Craig’s List, local pages,garage sales etc). Now we put stuff out on the driveway with a “Free” sign on it. It’s almost “gone in 60 seconds” (from the two movies of the same name). And if it’s NOT gone in two days, we take it to the dump (unless maybe a thrift store could sell it).
Free is magic!
……put $10 on an item and they’ll take it (steal) anyway. Thief thinks he(she) got a deal. You. You no longer have the worthless item. Two happy campers.
I had a small refrigerator in the garage. Not used much so I put it out front with a big sign saying “it works FREE”. No takers for 2 weeks. Changed the sign to say “Works $25”. and it was “borrowed” the first night.
My experience was different .
I actually had someone come to the house and ask if the mower was ‘really’ free. He thought it was worth at least $10 .. but I talked him into taking it away as ‘free’…
When I cleaned out my house to full time we took lots of stuff to thrift stores. Other stuff we put out on the curb and it would be gone in no time. One guy stopped by to pick up and said he would haul off anything and everything we put out so everyday when we finished and had a pile I’d call him and away it would go.