My followers know that we recently sold The Beast and moved into our little piece of paradise in Florida. In my last blog, I spoke about sharing impartial and free advice for entering the Full Timer scene, meaning; hindsite 20/20. The first step of going FT is actually making the decision. (Please refer to my last blog: Hindsite 20/20, if you have not made a firm decision yet.) In this episode of Live & Tell, I will cover the next step of turning your dreams into reality; Downsizing. So, listen up my lady friends- this blogs for you! Put on your big girl panties, grab a big pour and cheers to you!
Forget about the step by step list you found on another blog for a moment. Clear your mind of all your worries or concerns, and ask yourself the question all women ask. How many shoes do you really need? If you are laughing out loud or spit out your drink, don’t say I didn’t warn you and continue on. Seriously, how many shoes do you actually think you have in your closet? My husband guessed 50 pairs for me. It was actually a tad more than that. In all honesty, I used to be an Account Executive for luxury brands and had to look the part for work. In comparison to many of my colleagues, 50 was rather conservative. But be realistic now for just a moment. Forget about your past and concentrate on the lifestyle you are about to enter. Think of your last camping trip. What shoes did you use on that trip? Do you hike often? Do you walk on the beach? Do you like to dress up and actually go out to dinner, or cook camp-side? Now, get up and go to your closet(s) and gather up all your shoes into one place and start 3 piles; 1) shoes you will definitely need, 2) shoes you definitely won’t need, and 3) the maybe pile (usually the mother load in comparison).
Now, get another large pour because sh!ts about to get real! Count how many shoes are in the 1st pile of definitely need. If you have more than a dozen pairs in that pile, you will suck at this! Just kidding!! But here is the truth ladies. You will need 10 or 12 pairs of shoes ever, and a couple of those will be stored in an undercarriage compartment (the basement) for a future family wedding, funeral, or different weather than you usually travel in, like perhaps a pair of boots when traveling in cold weather areas. My list was this: 2 pairs of tennis shoes (walking and one cute/basic pair), 2 pairs of flip flops (one for shower shoes, one for good), beach shoes, slippers, hiking boots, slip-on mud shoes (for frequent wet, muddy situations), dress shoe/sandal, casual shoe/sandal, winter boots, and a pair of kick-ass cowboy boots I could not part with. I never wore the dress shoes- ever, stored the hikers, cowboy boots, and winter boots because we were primarily in warm weather. So, I wore about 6 pair of shoes on a more daily basis. The pair I used the most was the slip-on mud shoes for when it rained at muddy camp areas. And there you have it! You will need only 6-10 pairs of shoes. If that scares the hell out of you, you might not become a Full Time RVer.
If you make it past this silly first exercise I’ve put before you by laughing instead of fretting over the loss of your 40+ pairs of shoes, than this is how you will attack everything else you own. Three piles will turn into one smaller pile, which will need to fit into your RV. The other two piles are reduced, first by family, friends and neighbors, second by selling what you can, and third, and most likely, given/donated to whoever needs it. Don’t be offended if nobody wants your stuff! It’s just the way it is in today’s throw away society. Everyone wants to buy new stuff these days. They were not raised with hand-me-downs, and not accustom to using someone else’s stuff. It is what it is. Post Covid will only make this more prevalent.
Now for the gentlemen in my group. Have a shot and a beer, because you may have thought the shoe exercise was pretty funny, or laughed at your lady pillaging thru her piles. But, when it comes to your life’s accumulation of tools in the shed/garage, you might not be laughing for very long!
Fact one; tools and yard equipment are the best-sellers at garage sales. If you have them, they will come. However, fact two; nobody wants to pay you for what they’re worth. Remember, I am your hindsite 20/20. (an example of a regret, is that you should have taken that first offer on your house, and you ended up making less because you thought your house was worth so much more than your realtor said, so you held out longer. Just sayin…) So getting back on track; divide your shed into three areas, similar to our shoe discussion; 1) tools you will definitely need 2) tools you definitely won’t need, and 3) the maybe tools (you want them, might not ever need them- but don’t want to get rid of.) My husband ended up with 2 small tool boxes and two plastic tote containers (for additional supplies) all of which need to be stored in the basement. This end result was after going thru a life-time accumulation of everything you need to take care of a house and 2.5 acres of land for 30 years. If the thought of downsizing all of your tools and supplies to 3 or 4 containers scares the hell out of you? Perhaps now is the time to have another beer and build a bonfire…or perhaps have another discussion before it’s too late.
Everyone’s situation is different, but these exercises are pretty much the same for every FT RVer. You can’t take it all with you. Your discussion at this point should look something like this: What is your long-term goal? Where do you want to be for retirement years? Do you have the means to purchase a sticks & bricks or would you rent, should the need or desire arise? Will you want/need any of the piles that you can’t take with you at a later date? Can you afford to replace all of your furniture and other necessities if you decide to sell the RV down the road? Can someone store family heirlooms you can never replace without it being a burden? Once you have made decisions about these very important questions, you can relax and do what is necessary to downsize. Purging all the things you will actually never need again certainly does feel extremely good! I loved shredding and burning 20 years worth of files from having a home office! All of our important papers now fit into one portable file box (hard plastic one that doubles as a side table) and a brief case for original documents that you can escape with fast in case of emergency. A fire-safe is also highly recommended if you have a closet in the back of a diesel pusher. We’ve all seen it time and again, what engine fires can do, and no one is immune to the possibility.
To sum it up, our house sold so quickly that we really didn’t take the time to discuss all of these options, and it created anxiety down the road when we made the decision to own a sticks & bricks house again. Once you start looking at a bigger, better and beautiful upgraded RV, all of these decisions fade away like an early morning fog lifting to blue sky and bountiful sunshine. You can’t wait to hit the road! So if you passed this test with flying colors, have fun downsizing and enjoy planning for your FT RV life! I promise you will not miss all of those shoes or tools! (Well… except a hammer. If you accidently get rid of all 6, you’ll probably miss the hammer! We did!) If your stomach is in knots just thinking about all of this? Perhaps you should remain a part time RVer. No one will judge you. It’s your life and you can enjoy your RV, just the same. Travel, explore, and come back home, if you must. Either way, make the best of the journey we call life! There is no rerun, so make it great the first time…