Downsizing for RV Living: 2,500 to 400 Sq. Ft.

We started this post a month before our trip. We are finishing it, updating it, and posting it two days into our trip (Nov. 7th).



There was a lot to consider when figuring out if we could make living in an RV for a year a reality.

We owned a home, 2 cars, and lots of…stuff (the amount of pint glasses from various breweries and baseball hats Aaron has collected is staggering). Stuff that we couldn’t take with us….The biggest thing we had to figure out was what we would do with our sticks and bricks HOUSE while we live on the road! A lot of people sell their home when they decide to become full time RVers. MOST of these people don’t plan on coming back though.

Since we LOVE our house, our neighborhood, and city, we plan on coming back.

Our plan is to travel for a year, but we might extend that to a year and a half, maybe even two years - we just don’t know until we’re out on the road! There is so much we want to do and see in the next 12 months. Considering our extensive “must-see” list and the fact that we will both be working while traveling, we may find that one year just isn’t enough time to get through our list. However, we don’t want to give up our house, so we figured renting would be the best option.

Zillow to the rescue.

We still own our first house in Virginia, and rent it out as well, so we aren’t new to being landlords. To see if we would get any interest in renting out our house, I took pics of the house (I’m a professional photographer) and posted it on Zillow without telling any of our friends (at this point we still hadn’t announced our travel plans so we didn’t want to announce our house was for rent either). We listed the house for our “ideal” rental price, only listed it on Zillow, and posted it’s availability for THREE months out in the future.

We were blown away by the number of people who wanted to rent it (thank you amazing school district)! At that point, we became even more confident that this was going to actually happen! We ran the numbers, and if we stuck to the budgeted amount we were hoping to spend on RV and truck payments each month, the extra rental income would pay for 3/4 of our RV and truck payments! (Factoring in the SUV payment we got rid of, the monthly cost of the RV and truck is more than paid for)

 

 

Read up on the different types of RVs we considered and which one we chose!

 

 

Next up was selling our SUV and car.

Our perfect plan was to sell the SUV, then buy our truck, but selling our SUV proved to be much more difficult than renting out our house! We found the PERFECT truck at a great price that we just couldn’t pass up, so for a while, we had 3 vehicles in our driveway.

Our car (2011 Hyundai Elantra ) gets 40MPG and is a commuters dream, and since we live in a place where so many people commute into the city, we’ve already had several people show interest in buying or even renting our car while we’re away. We are using it a lot right now because it’s so good on gas, so we’ll probably wait until right before we take off to do something with that. (Update: We listed the car and sold in within 24 hours)

The Purge: What to do with all the THINGS??!!

I have done the first step of purging… I went through each person’s closet and pulled out clothing we wouldn’t take. I had three piles:

  1. A pile of things to take to local consignment shops that I might make a little money off of.

  2. A pile of hand-me-downs for family

  3. A Goodwill pile.

I also went through the kids toys and told them that they could keep the money from anything they sold. That was GREAT motivation for them to get rid A LOT of things. I listed things on Facebook marketplace, we donated a lot of things to Goodwill, and a lot of things just had to be trashed.

I also went through my kitchen and donated a lot of pots and pans and things I won’t be needing. We had a yard sale that ended up lasting all weekend (and it happened to be THAT weekend in October that was 90 degrees) and sold furniture, decor, books, and more of the kid’s things. We donated things that didn’t get sold.

Fun Fact: 95% of our furniture is second hand that we refurbished! There really isn’t a lot of value there. It would cost more to store it than it’s worth!

At least once a week I revisit a closet or area to go through and see what I can get rid of. It actually energizes me to get rid of things! I don’t like clutter. I don’t like too many THINGS around! It’s even worse now that the shelves and dressers are gone and and the few things that are left are just sitting on the ground!

I seriously CAN’T wait to live life with less things. I want our lives to be filled with more memories and more time together. Less things is more freeing to me. If we had to hold on to all our things, we wouldn’t be able to do this. It’s more than worth it to me!

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Update after two days on the road: We downsized from 2,500 sq/ft to 400 sq/ft…and need to downsize even more! We got rid of enough things to pack our cabinets and storage to the max, but it feels extremely cluttered while trying to live in the space. Looks like purge #2 is coming VERY soon!

What would be the hardest thing or things
for you to give up to live small??