I’m somewhat of a clean freak (I blame my mom and grandma). So when we finally decided that we were going to move into the RV, my inner clean freak was jumping for joy. Don’t need this; don’t need this; don’t need this. But my heart was saying, “what if…” What if I need this someday? What if we have enough space to keep it? What if I end up missing it? Oh the struggle!
I wanted to get started purging as soon as possible because I knew downsizing would take quite a while. But at the same time, I didn’t even know where to begin, and I knew we still had to live in this house for almost another year. I happened to see a post on Facebook (in one of the hundreds of RV groups I’ve been in since we bought our RV in 2016) where someone was asking for opinions on how to go about purging before moving into their RV. Perfect timing!
This post had hundreds of comments. Some were recommending Konmari Method where you organize by category, keep only things that spark joy, etc. But to me, lots of things “spark joy” and therefore I would just keep too much. Others recommended taking everything out of one room (say a closet) and touching every single item and deciding if you could live without it. Again, I feel like I would end up keeping way too much. Still others said to look at things and determine if things would cost you more to store than to get rid of and replace later. If they cost more to replace after a year or two, then keep them and if not, get rid of them. But there was one response that really stood out to me:
Stop and look at everything around you. Is there anything you see that you would grab if your house was on fire and you had to get out?
Wow! Go ahead…do it! Look around. This was the game changer for me. I can honestly say there’s not one thing near me I would grab if my house was on fire (maybe it’s because I’m alone in my closet and don’t have much in this room that I couldn’t live without).
So then what the heck am I doing with all of this stuff? Why is it here? Some of it is sentimental. It evokes an emotion: makes me feel good or remember something from the past. Some of it is needed for our household to function every day. Some of it I have because I wanted it (think seagulls in Disney’s Finding Nemo…”mine, mine, mine!”) All the rest is someone else’s stuff; and I’ll let him wait until the last minute to get rid of it go thru his own stuff.
So now, I have to figure out how to go from a 3900sqft house filled with stuff to a 390sqft RV filled with less stuff. I might be having a bit of anxiety at this point, but the organizational side of me is kicking into overdrive. The solution? Bins…it’s all about the bins.
I decided to have 5 bins: TRASH, GIVE AWAY, SELL, STORE, and CAMPER. So far, I actually have about 5 SELL bins filled with stuff to sell and one for each of the others. The TRASH bin gets taken out each week with the garbage. The GIVE AWAY bin is mobile. It gets moved into my office at times and my patients pick thru stuff they want. A neighboring community has a community garage sale twice a year, so I will go sit in front of a friend’s house with my SELL bins soon. I also have baby and kids clothes washed, pressed, hung and tagged for a consignment sale that I participate in twice a year. I’m trying really hard to keep the STORE bin to a very minimum. And I don’t have much in the CAMPER bin because most of what would go in the camper are things that we currently use on a regular basis.
So there you have it! My organizational side has joined forces with my inner clean freak to try to get this stuff outta here. Do you guys have any tips or suggestions on ways to reduce clutter or purge your stuff? Give me some more ideas!