Living Small – What to do With all the Stuff

I subscribe to quite a few facebook groups and follow different blogs about living small in an RV. One question that pops up fairly often is, “what do you do with all the stuff?” Everyone has their advice and personal situations, so I can only write from my own experience. The situation that I found myself in was that I had a storage unit full of stuff I most likely would never use again.

How did I end up with a storage space full of stuff? I donated, sold, gave away, and threw out everything in my house that I thought I could live without. So if you have a lot of stuff like we did, it may take you several tries to really part with all of those dearly held items. I always say that the only thing I ever let go of had claw marks on it. The point is that it is hard for us to let go of the things we love. The following are tips for how to declutter your life and part with things that you may have thought you could never part, along with everything else that no longer has a place in the tiny life you have decided to live. 

Be Ruthless

This piece of advice dates all the way back to when I had small children in the house. Living in a house with five people taught me that I had to be in the right mood to declutter, otherwise my sentimental self would take over and I would hold onto things because of how they made me feel, rather than necessity. I’m not saying to toss out family heirloom, or your child’s first lock of hair. Do you really need 20 drinking glasses, or 4 pans that are all the same size, or enough flatware for ten people? Chances are the answer is no. It took me three times to get this one right. I now know that we need a setting for four at most and a handful of cups and glasses for drinking. Remember people in campers tend to clean dishes and put them away as soon as they are finished with them. 

Start Gifting and Leaving Things to Family Before you Die

In my case I had three grown children when I started paring down. I also gave items to dear friends who gave the my lovelies a good home. I not only had my own treasured belongings, but I also inherited stuff from family. This was the perfect opportunity to pass the family along to my children while I was still alive and well. My kids now have those memories to pass along to their own kids. Bonus, I still get to enjoy them when I visit! A dear friend of mine got my Mom’s beloved china cabinet for her wedding dishes that had been in boxes for years.

Go Through Your Clothes and Cut them in Half and Then Half Again

In all of the years that I have been living small, I have never needed as many clothes as I think that I need. First of all there is no place to store dirty clothes usually. Secondly, high quality clothes will hold up longer so you need to shop for new clothes less often. This too may take some mental adjustment. I am still struggling with my husband to part with more clothes. I can tell you that three pairs of jeans of plenty for anyone to own. If you don’t wear jeans every day, like me, then you could live with one or two. All you really need are a weeks worth of clothes and some seasonal items for warmth, depending on where you plan to travel/live. 

Keep Decluttering Until You Get it Right

It may take you more than one time, as it did in my case. I have reduced the amount of items that I have many times over. That stuff piled up in a storage unit that I would never use again? I started clearing that out too. There are many places happy to accept your gently used items and you can write the donations off at tax time. 

Sit Back and Breathe a Sigh of Relief

The feeling you get once you let go of all that needless stuff is one of the best feeling in the world. You will breath a sigh of relief and start treasuring the things around you more than the things that didn’t matter. Keep in mind, stuff is just stuff. Meaning, it can all be replaced if needed. We’ll never get back the experiences that we are missing out on because we refused to part with stuff!

Carpe Diem!