Downsizing Tips for Full-Time RV Living

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Sorting through clothes to downsize to full-tme RV

Whether you’re considering full-time RVing, or you’ve already made the leap to RV life, you can always use downsizing tips for full-time RV living.  No matter what size your RV is, one thing’s for sure: space is at a premium!  There’s nothing worse than packing every cabinet to the brim, and then never being able to find anything.

Learn how to keep only the things you need with our tips below:

Organize your belongings

Make piles by category: Must Keep, Sell, Donate, Gift, Storage, Trash

And then take action on your categories. If you haven’t used something in the past 5 or 6 months, it should probably be in a sell, donate, gift, or trash pile. It might be time to have a yard sale and get rid of stuff you don’t use. Use the Marie Kondo method and only keep what sparks joy! 

Remember: You can always purchase more things if you need to make your RV feel more like home.

Stack of paperwork that needs to be scanned and digitized before downsizing.

Digitize paperwork, photos, books and videos

If you have a scanner, digitize all-important paperwork so you can have it on the road with you.  No scanner? No problem, try the Genius Scan app on your phone. 

If you have a few favorite photos, go ahead and frame them and find a spot to hang them in the RV (we love double-sided velcro or command strips for non-permanent hanging). All the rest can go digital, you might even look at them more often this way! 

Similar to photos, limit yourself to a few favorite books, cookbooks, or references you use often.  And move the rest to digital-use apps like Libby, Audible, or Kindle to save tons of space.  Hopefully, you’re not still a VHS hoarder but we get it, sometimes it’s nice to have off-line videos for when you’re boondocking.  We suggest a movie-server like PLEX with a computer or NAS for off-line movie storage. 

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+ (Diskless)
Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+ (Diskless)
Encrypted sequential throughput performance at over 113 MB/s reading and 112 MB/s writing; Dual-core Processor with AES-NI encryption engine

Storage Unit

Hopefully you can go full time without succumbing to a monthly storage unit for the long term, but perhaps you have some family heirlooms or special items that won’t fit in an RV. 

We recommend doing a cost analysis of what the item is worth versus the cost to store it.  Unless the item is priceless, the decision should be easy of what stays and what goes.

Maximize RV Storage Space

If you haven’t yet moved into your RV full time, you’ll want to make sure everything in the Must Keep pile will fit in the RV.  Do your best to assess available storage space and maybe even measure it out in square feet.  You can measure a space inside your house that represents the total available RV storage space and move items from your Keep pile to the measured space. 

If you’re already a full-time RV family looking for more space, we recommend going through the Organize exercise in Step 1 at least every 6 months.

For all RVers new and old, consider organizing all storage by use, ie: office supplies, shoes, pantry items, pet supplies, etc. 

Lastly, small containers are more friendly to RV counter-space and living space.  Store bulk sized items in harder to reach spaces, and keep small bottles or containers of those items on your countertops or within easy reach.  Think shampoo, soap, olive oil, flour, sugar, etc.

You’ll likely discover that traveling full time and living in a smaller space leads to enjoying life outdoors and spending quality time with other people, and you’ll hardly miss those donated items and other “things” you had been hanging on to. 

Need more downsizing guidance?

Downsizing checklist from

Check out our Downsizing printable workbook! This workbook will help you organize the downsizing process and stay on task.

The first sheet has helpful tips and a high-level checklist for working room to room in your home. The next five sheets are used to help separate boxes that are going to be given to family, put in storage, donated, moved to the RV, and so on. The seventh sheet breaks out tasks for the last three months leading up to your departure date.

Referring to this checklist in the final stretch will help ensure the major items are getting done and your transition into RV life is smooth. 

Last update on 2024-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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