Downsizing for tiny living/RV life is probably one of the more fascinating aspects of the planning process for me. As an admittedly Type A planner, I’ve tried to do all the research I can on what other people do with their stuff before moving into a small space. It seems to be a pretty straightforward formula:
Assess your living space room by room (or pile by pile, if you’re on the KonMari train), eject all non-necessities, proceed with yard sale and/or donation station. This makes sense for those looking to commit a relatively long term tiny living lifestyle. To be honest, that’s not what we are doing.
We are elated and grateful for the opportunity to live as nomads for a while – that being said, we do have dreams of living in a reasonably sized, non-McMansion-size house one day. Travis does still want to build a tiny house on wheels – and no, that would not be our perma-home – though originally our plan was to live in it while we house hunted somewhere. I respect the tiny living movement – I love the concept of taking a space and making it extremely efficient – most living spaces today have oodles of wasted space.
However, our perfect world scenario has a few things that tiny living wouldn’t really allow for in a way we (or at least I) would be comfortable with. For me, that’s namely some kind of workshop space for Making Things (think: a space with a big table, my magnifying lamp, a pegboard for tools, and lots of little drawers for supplies) and one area of clear floorspace where I can stretch out on the floor like a starfish without hitting something with my arms or legs. Also, a kitchen that has drawers – right now everything in our kitchen lives either on an open shelf or on the wall. For someone who loves putting shit away it’s torture. What can I say – living in NYC for 5 years has taught me what I really want in a living space.
That being said, two things are true: one, we currently live in a lovely, but small apartment in Brooklyn that’s all of 400 square feet. We just don’t have that much stuff to begin with (okay mom, I know there’s still some stuff in your basement but it’s not that much!). We plan to axe most of our furniture (a shitty futon, an Ikea bookshelf and dresser, a couple shelves, desk) and donate our plants to willing friends. From there we’ll split up what to keep in the RV vs what we want to put in storage. We just got married last year so I’m just not gonna toss the nice dishes I finally own (adulting!) or my rock collection (nerd alert).
So we’ll be putting mainly clothes, kitchen items, a couple small furniture items and lamps, and all our art and tchotchkes in storage while we’re traveling, since we plan to settle somewhere and buy a house. To me it just doesn’t make sense to toss everything we own even though it’s replaceable. Travis’s mom and stepdad have been kind enough to let us store what we want to keep while we’re on the road, so while we do recognize the logistics of getting it from them in West Virginia to wherever we end up in on the west side of the country could be a headache, it’s probably easier than literally re-buying all the useful items we already have.
In the meantime I’ve started making a list of things that I know I want to have with us in the RV – for example, a tent, hiking shoes, an extra set of sheets, towels, etc.
I’d love to know what your can’t-live-without road essentials have been, from clothing to kitchen supplies to anything else. Let us know in the comments!