I thought that purging was going to be one of the more difficult parts of this process of living tiny but actually, it has been really refreshing and liberating! There are MANY more reasons to purge than because you’re moving into an RV. It’s a process that can help you keep your stress levels down, stay organized, and keep your space clean. Obviously, the less possessions you have, the easier it is to move from place to place. Keep in mind that there are SO many different phases you may go through and your thought process may be completely different than mine. However, the end game is still the same. Have less to make more room for what matters most.
Phase 1: Decluttering
When I started going through all of the stuff we had shoved away in drawers, boxes, and cabinets I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I didn’t even know we had. Old electronics, useless paper documents, books, and more of those little things that caused clutter. These things where very easy to part with.
The best thing to do is to start in the smallest space you have and work your way to the largest. Do what you are comfortable with. I went through one room per day and it only took me an hour or so to declutter each space.
Phase 2: Make Lists & Piles
Just like in phase 1, I started in the smallest room in the house. For me, that was the bathroom. I had stashed away an old curling iron that didn’t even work anymore, duplicates of lotions, sunscreen, expired medicine, and more! I made piles to keep, sell, pitch, and donate in each room of the house. Before I moved on to a new room, I went through my piles again to make sure I was making the right choices. Sometimes you have to make a bigger mess to achieve the results you are looking for. But it is much easier to spread everything out in front of you to ensure you are making the right choices.
Then, I put the piles where they belonged: either in the trash, in my donation pile, or back in their cabinets or drawers. Finally, I actually made a list of the items I decided to keep. Taking an inventory of all of these items helped put in perspective the things I actually need as opposed to the things that are just collecting dust. Again, this took me a few days. Everyone will go at their own pace, the important thing is not to get overwhelmed. After all, this is supposed to be fun!
Phase 3: Get Selective
After that, it got a little harder. I went through each room again, but this time gathering the things we hadn’t used during the whole year we had been living in our rental house and the things we didn’t even bother to unpack from the apartment. I even went through what we already had declared as storage in our basement and was able to purge some of those things to make room for others.
Going through our clothes was the first major challenge. We tried everything on that we had questions about and made a choice right then and there. We also parted with items we had purchased for a one time event and didn’t foresee ever wearing again.
My sister and her new husband had first pick of the donate and sell piles and walked away with some useful things they could use in their apartment, like our electric grill and some board games. Wedding gifts were the hardest to part with as I felt they still had some sentimental value. I was able to re-home a lot the those things so it didn’t feel wasteful and it really felt good to part with some of the items I thought I HAD to have back when we made our registry, but never actually used.
Phase 4: Sell
This next phase has more to do with the furniture I knew we didn’t want to move and clearly wouldn’t need in the RV or houses to come. I was able to sell a lot of these items through the Nextdoor app and Craigslist. The sun room furniture, a desk we never sat at, an old ottoman that came from Gerrit’s first apartment, and extra shelves disappeared one by one off of our porch and money appeared in our mailbox to take it’s place. It was a little risky putting things I sold on the front porch and their buyers putting money in the mailbox, but I never had a problem. In some ways, it restored my faith in humanity!
There are things, of course, that we will be storing. My parents have a spacious basement and are happy to keep some things for us, like our tote of keepsakes, couch, table, and bedroom furniture. Eventually, we will move back into a house and won’t want to start completely over with furnishing it, so we are lucky enough to have a free storage option!
Phase 5: Repeat!
The more I go through each room the more items I find I can part with! It will definitely be an ongoing process as we make the transition to RV living, but I feel confident that it will continue to be a smooth and exciting process!
Lindsey & Gerrit
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”