Dear RV Shrink:
For a number of years we have been planning on buying an RV for our retirement, but my wife is now dragging her feet. We plan to keep our home but live in the RV for most months of the year. Her problem seems to be space. She doesn’t want a big RV, but she wants lots of storage, cooking area, bath and bedroom. That is an impossible combination.
Please give me some reasoning firepower so we can get past this perception obstacle in our road to retirement. —Little Big Mansion on Wheels
Dear Little Big Man:
If you have never had an RV it will take some adjustments. I do not know how your wife defines “big.” Just about every manufacturer has slideouts in their models. This makes a huge difference in what is being hauled and what is stretched out at the destination. This could help in meeting her standards for size and space.
The other things to consider when shopping for a rig would be storage. Being organized in a small space is key to successful living. Having plenty of storage will be a significant help in staying organized. You will find the smaller the unit, the less space is dedicated to storage. Something with basement storage (storage space under the floor) will make a huge difference in what you end up stepping over (pun intended).
You need to look at as many floor plans as possible, with your list of needs, likes and dislikes. I can’t guarantee you are going to find a unit that will make your wife happy. She needs to be open-minded about the fact that this is not going to be a 1500-square-foot house on wheels.
Most people in the retirement stage of life begin to downsize, throw out ballast they have collected over the years, and start sharing family heirlooms with children and family members.
Another point that may help your cause is housekeeping. You will both find it much easier to clean and maintain an RV than a home. Once you actually get on the road you will find you have much more time on your hands to explore and do things you truly enjoy.
You can always start small and work your way up. Once your wife is comfortable with traveling in a smaller rig, she may find it more realistic to bump up a bit. Looking at units will give you an idea of how just three feet can gain you more elbow room in various living spaces. In most situations you will also spend more time outdoors than you normally would at home. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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