The Pain of Downsizing!

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So, we’ve decided to travel. Now what? What do we do first?

Well, it really depends on your style of traveling. Are you going to truly travel full time? Or are you going to travel for one season and then come back to a home base for the other? Or travel for 2-3 months and then return home to regroup? All of these are acceptable and depend solely on YOUR desires!

Traveling for 2-3 months and then returning home: Pro: You don’t have to get rid of all your stuff, or sell your house. Con: Deciding whether to rent your house out while you’re traveling for extra income and if so, who will manage it for you? A family member? Rental management company? What are the fees associated with that? Liabilities for you? Possible damage to your home? Are short term rentals allowed in your community? (Check with the city) It may be possible to list your home with AirBnB also. Where will you store your stuff while renters are in your home? Will a family member be living there to take care of the home? If so, how do you handle rent, payments, etc? All of these scenarios can turn out fine IF you have the good luck to find the right people to assist you. A lot of research and referrals from friends can help in this regard. Also, you’d have the decision about where to store your RV when you’re not on the road.

Traveling for one season (summer or winter) and returning for the other: This is very similar to the option of just traveling for 2-3 months. All the same decisions would apply. And the dilemma of storing the RV while you weren’t traveling.

Traveling full time in your RV: This is the one that we’ve decided on and it comes with a host of big decisions and lots of work! We’ve been working on this for several months and still have a lot to do because we are finding it very hard to make the decisions about what to do with some of our “stuff”.

We have adopted a method suggested by my son that seems to make it simpler. FIRST: separate things into 2 piles: TRASH and NOT TRASH. Get rid of the trash! Next, separate your NOT TRASH pile into things going to family members, donations (items going to libraries, museums, shelters, etc), things going to friends, and things to sell. We are using boxes and when they are full, we deliver them to the proper place. If there are things that you’ve put in the box that the person doesn’t want, it goes into the donate or sell box. It sounds simple, right? WRONG!! Most items can be disposed of fairly simply but what do you do with those items passed down to you from other family members that have passed away? Gifts from your kids? Gifts from friends? Sentimental items is where we are getting stuck! It’s a painful process, sentimental items make it almost impossible to decide what to do with them: trash? Donate? Is it worth money? Is it worth anything to other family members? When you have younger siblings, or children, you have to consider whether they will want to have, store or be bothered with these items. What’s valuable to YOU may not be valuable to anyone else. That’s tough! Talk to them, WAY ahead of time to determine if they have any interest in storing, or holding items (if you want them back later) for you, or if you are just giving the items to them. Some items you just can’t get rid of, and those will have to be stored either in a storage facility ($$$) or with a family member or friend. We suggest if they are truly valuable to have them insured, put them in a climate controlled environment (if small, a safe deposit box at the bank or if not, a storage facility) so that you have peace of mind. Take pictures of ALL your items for posterity, and for insurance purposes. You can put these onto a disc and keep a copy for yourself, and give one to the person in charge of them (family member or friend). You can also make a video to ensure that everyone is on the same page as far as payments, what to do in case of an emergency, or exactly what is in the storage unit or place where a family member is storing items. Some friends have also had all their family pictures, videos, etc put onto DVDs so that they can carry them more easily. They can also have copies made to give to relatives. So what do you do with the actual items? That is a personal choice; some people still keep them in a relative’s home or a storage area, some decide to get rid of them.

Of course, you also have the decisions about the large furniture pieces that will have to go. Family members can usually say if they are interested or not, and you can sell the rest. There are many places to put items for sale and have them sell fairly quickly. (Facebook, 5miles, Etsy, Ebay, and more) If you feel led to, you can also donate to shelters or organizations that help people get back on their feet after a rough time. (Washing machines, dryers, beds, clothes, etc are good items to help people out)

Ok!! So the house is cleared out….what now? You have to ensure that everything is in good repair, remodel spaces that need it, paint, put in new floors (as needed) and landscape (if needed). Whew!!

Now, you put the house on the market. And WAIT. Some homes sell within the first 30 days and that’s awesome! Some, however, take much longer. We had friends who waited almost 2 years for their house to sell! If things aren’t going well, some options are: changing realtors, lowering your asking price, or expanding the area in which your house is listed.

FINALLY! The house is sold….and you’re done!! (After signing the paperwork, and getting the check!) You are FREE to travel and enjoy your new lifestyle!

We’ve found that many people that have been traveling on weekends or short trips have decided to get a different type of RV to travel in after they sell their house. They’ve found that the original choice was not a good one for their type of living and want to change it up! We have decided that instead of a truck pulling a travel trailer, we would like a Super B that will fit into a regular parking space and there is little to no set up/tear down when you arrive at your camp site. There are many videos to help you decide what types of RV’s are out there and RV shows so you can actually get a feel for the space and convenience of each type.

Happy Traveling! Send us an email to let us know how you’re doing or if you have questions at: We’d love to hear how it’s going!