No matter how you slice it, rv living means letting go of many possessions and there are lifestyle changes involved if you decide on a fulltime, or even part-time, lifestyle. 

Storage space is at a premium in an RV, so lots of things you thought you couldn’t live without will have to be left behind.

I had a somewhat easier time preparing for fulltime rv living than Robert, as I had helped my parents sort through things a few years earlier, after they moved into an assisted living facility.

Prickly Pear in Bloom - Tonto Nat'l Forest, AZPrickly Pear in Bloom - Tonto National Forest, AZ

They had lived about forty years in a big old Colonial with a full walk-up attic and a barn, and they had saved literally everything, for at least 40 years: bank statements, cancelled checks, tax returns, odds & ends. They always meant to have a yard sale, but somehow never got around to it. I took endless large trash bags full of stuff to the incinerator, and decided then and there to start reducing my own pile of “treasures.”

One of the hardest things for me was parting with my books. I had lots of them. To be honest, I still do – books are an addiction for me and letting go of so many of them was difficult. As a matter of fact, I have recently discovered that I suffer from abibliophobia which is described as an unreasonable fear that you will run out of reading material. However there was no question that rv living would require the sacrifice.

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Petrified Geyser in Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

I had wonderful art books, but they are big and heavy and obviously would have to go. I sold some on Amazon, sold others at second-hand bookstores, donated many to the library, and finally gave away a lot to Goodwill. There were many books I had not even read – with a great library nearby, I had a tendency to put off reading my own books, saving them for that long off someday when I might be desperate and not near a library. (See, there is that fear again!)

Two boxes were packed up with family things, some of my artwork and small items, and sent to my two sons, who live on opposite sides of the country. If your children live nearby, see if they would like any of the items you need to offload.

I advertised things on Craigslist and sold much of what I listed. I took some antique items to a dealer to sell.

Getting Ready for RV Living

Preparing for rv living is a big challenge, but little by little, over the course of about 18 months, the pile of belongings was whittled down. The big push came when my house went on the market; the last two months of living there were frantic – I thought I would never get through it all.

Some of my paintings, quite a number of boxes, and a large cedar chest went into a friend’s attic in North Carolina, just waiting for a day when I might have a place to put them again.

On the Desert Trail in Tohono Chul Park - Tucson, AZAt Tohono Chul Park - Tucson, AZ

I had “succumbed to the desert” and was excited about my future rv life, but that didn’t make it easier to see the big pile of things that didn’t sell.

In the end, I had to call a local charity to come haul away all that was left. Part of me wanted to pull favorite items out and save them, but I knew I couldn’t do that. Finally, it was over.

It's a hard job - no question about it.

Marie Kondo's book, which is happily available in a Kindle version, may give you some help. I really enjoyed reading it and her method seems to make a great deal of sense.

Good luck!

Some RVers keep a lot of things in a storage facility or haul them around in a trailer for a year or two, realize they do not need any of it, and put an ad in the paper inviting folks to come and take whatever they want. Generally, everything is gone by the end of the day.

In spite of the emotional wrench of giving up so many of your personal belongings, and possibly your home as well, it is really quite liberating. It is also astounding to realize how few things you actually need. We can be buried by our “stuff” – it robs us of our time and energy, to say nothing of the money it takes to buy or rent space to hold it all. The less you have, the less work to take care of it, and the more comfortable your rv living will be.

I still have too many clothes, and too many books, but I am getting better! Many RV parks have libraries of a sort – you donate a book and take another. I try to offload the ones I have read whenever I have the opportunity.

Many full-time RVers still own a home somewhere – it may sit empty for much of the year (which could create problems with your home insurance company, so be sure to check with your agent), or they may rent it for a number of years, planning to return once their wanderlust has been satisfied. Selling was the only option for me, and I don’t regret taking that step.

I believe in life-long-learning, and for most of my adult life I’ve been an audio junkie. I listened to cassettes, then CDs, when driving; I listened to them when I walked, at home – pretty much anywhere. In 2006, I discovered Learning Strategies, Inc. The company has many wonderful programs, and I own several, but more than any of them, one called Abundance for Life was responsible for my buying an RV in 2007, retiring from real estate in 2008, and becoming a full-time RVer for five wonderful years.

Tohono Chul Gardens - Tucson, AZTohono Chul Gardens in Tucson, AZ

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