Living in an RV – Where Do You Put Your Indoor Stuff?
If you were a family of four (Mom, Dad, and two teenagers) living in a 3,800 square foot house on five acres, how could you possibly squeeze your life down into 208 square feet?
That was the challenge when we decided to sell our house and live on the road in a 26′ travel trailer. Besides the household stuff like furniture, everybody had their own stuff – my son had sports gear, my daughter had horse tack (and 50-million stuffed animals), my wife had crafting items, I had a ton of computer gear.
And it all had to fit in 208 square feet. Something had to give.
If you have actual heirloom pieces you’ll want to store them, either in a storage unit or with friends or relatives, but otherwise, get ready for the garage sale of your life – everything goes. In an RV you don’t need (and don’t have room for) beds, tables, dressers, and everything else because it’s all built in.
This was a hard one for us. For dishes and utensils it was easy – we went with one set of everything for each of us and that was it. We’ve now “accumulated” a few extra utensils and some extra glasses, but all of it will fit in a small box.
What was hard was the kitchen counter appliances – can opener, toaster, rice cooker, blenders (small and large), etc. Everything that’s used to make meal time prep faster and easier. In the end we kept the small blender and that was it. We bought a hand-operated can opener and everything else is now prepared manually. Yes, a rice cooker is nice, but cooking it in a pan on the stove really isn’t that big of a deal.
Pots and pans is another place where we went back and forth. We finally settled on one complete set and let everything else go. RV stoves and kitchens are small enough that you usually won’t be making several course meals so you don’t need as many pots and pans.
We have a 5x5x5 storage unit that’s used for items such as keepsakes and mementos, photo albums, etc. We were very hard-core in getting rid of as much as we could, but there comes a point where you can’t go any further without erasing any proof of your past. For some people that’s no big deal, but we had some things from when the kids were little that we wanted to pass on to them when they have kids, etc., so while we ditched more than we kept, we didn’t go down to zero.
We got rid of most of my son’s sports gear and my daughter’s horse tack was downsized until it fit into a single box for the storage unit (where the actual horse went is fodder for another time). My wife kept some of her craft gear so she could crochet while we were on the road and I got rid of my computers, printers, etc., and just went with a single laptop.
We’ve been on the road for more than a year and a half and the decisions on what we kept and what we got rid of have turned out pretty good. And when we think about all the “stuff” most people live with day in and day out, we’re glad we downsized.