Moving from a 5 bedroom house (a.k.a. Sticks n Bricks) into a 33 foot RV required some serious strategy and planning. I wanted to share with you all how we did it
We Minimized our Clothes!
When we lived in our house, we had been given a generous amount of hand-me-down clothes from family and friends for our kiddos. They often were in larger sizes, so I began to organize each size and gender and saved them in bins to put into their closets. Then, as they began to grow we would take out the bin and do a little pretend shopping! Each kiddo would pick out some clothes to add to their drawers.
Moving into a much smaller space meant that we had to give up about 80% of our clothes! If I remember correctly, we had about 16 bins inside their bedroom closets and another 12 large bins in the garage full of the children’s clothes!
Needless to say, I worked hard to downsize the clothes. We made it so that each kiddo has 1 drawer in our RV to keep their clothes. I then have 3 small duffle bags with ‘extra’ clothes in either the next size up or different season stored under our bed for future use.
Tony and I also had to work hard to purge our own unneeded clothes.
Did you know that adult clothes take up WAY more room than small children’s clothes?
I worked hard to chose clothes that were in good shape, were comfortable and would work for many functions. Such as yoga capri pants that I can wear every day, as PJ’s or to workout.
I am the only family member that has 2 drawers….as I’m still trying hard to part with more clothing. It’s hard!
Another big change for me was to find that we only have 1 place to hang any jackets, sweatshirts, dress clothes….or really….to hang anything! Our bedroom closet.
Which by the way, you cannot access or open this closet when we have our slides in and traveling. So if it starts pouring rain on a travel day, we cannot get into said closet to retrieve our rain jackets.
That’s why this planner of a mother, me, Jill…..decided to roll our rain jackets up and place them in a cloth bag with a zipper and stash the bag in the cabinets above our bed. That way, they are easily accessible and there is more room in our closet!
That also left room for one set of plastic drawers in our closet to hold things such as extra mismatched socks or Riley and Jasmine’s extra clothes as their drawers are shallower than the rest of us.
We Minimized our Toys!
This was not as hard as I thought it was going to be! Our kiddos were a huge help in donating, selling and throwing away extra toys. I explained to them that they could not fit much in the RV in comparison and they said as long as they had their Ipads, Magnatiles, and some games….they were fine with that.
Well, of course as toys continued to leave the house, the girls began to ask to keep a few more things such as some small dolls, coloring supplies, and stuffed animals.
Each child has a bag, bin or a combination of the two that belongs at the foot of their bed to hold their toys and special things. We used command hooks to hang the bags and small clear bins to hold some others so that we could see inside them to know what is there.
We also have 1 bin of Nerf guns and a bin of outdoor balls, sand toys, etc. stored in the back of our van. In addition, we have a bin of life jackets and a bin of bike helmets that we store in our outdoor storage area of the RV. It really does all add up in the space that you need!
We Minimized our Books and Homeschool Materials.
In our house in Minnesota, we had about 3 large bookshelves worth of children’s books, homeschool curriculum, adult books etc. I realized as we were purging, that we had not used many of the books that I thought that we HAD to have. We often re-read the same children’s books or would find new books at the library. We also rarely used the homeschool curriculum-type books.
I have found that our family’s way of teaching and learning has morphed into a more unschooling way of learning, with a touch of eclectic digital learning using Ipads. (I’ll be sure to make another post about homeschooling)
I decided to keep a few picture books, chapter books, and our sets of Bob books for the girls to read. Riley reads exclusively on his Ipad or his Kindle depending on where we borrow the e-books from, so that was a non-issue in regards to how quickly he goes through a book! I just cannot keep up with a number of books he reads to justify having any physical books for him! 😉
I also kept our series of Life of Fred math books and our Story of the World books for homeschool curriculum. We keep our Story of the World audiobook CDs in the van to listen to on travel days. We have a few workbooks, as Gwen and Lilya enjoy learning using workbooks at times rather than their Ipads. I also have a set of Flashcard/fold-out cards with all of our nations States and their statistics and basic information, along with several books about our country. We are hoping to incorporate a lot of geography along our journey. 🙂
We Minimized our Refrigerator and Pantry!
Have you ever taken the time to truly go through everything in your food pantry or food cupboards, and donated or threw away the items you have not used in over 2 months? Or have you gone through your refrigerator and noticed how many condiments you actually have that you really don’t use? We did!
My goodness! Our family had so many condiments and baking items that we never really used, or used rarely. Once I managed to get rid of the food items that we really didn’t use often, I was able to relax and feel more confident that we’d have enough space in our RV to hold all of the food that our family of 6 would need for about a week.
We now have a smaller refrigerator, 8 cubic square feet to be exact. It does take some getting used to, yet I am surprised by how much I’m able to fit in there! We are now using the door of the fridge to hold food items, not just basic condiments. I have also learned to lay our 1/2 gallon milk cartons down in order to fit better.
We are also learning to use the freezer more efficiently. I keep most of our meat and some frozen berries and vegetables in the freezer. However, my goal is to shop at more farmer’s markets across the country to purchase fresh produce and meat, so we will then not need to have as much frozen meat on hand.
We now have to shop every 5-7 days for groceries as we just don’t have the space to have large amounts of extra food.
Which really has not been that hard to do, as I have already been making meal plans and grocery shopping according to the plans for a few years now.
So…was it hard to fit everything we wanted to keep into our RV?
Not really, once we really began to purge. I was ready to live like a minimalist, and I feel like we are on the right track now. It can become overwhelming to live in such a large space and hope to keep it organized and clean.
I can honestly say that I was able to deep clean the entire RV (sweeping, vacuuming, bathroom cleaned, kitchen and dishes cleaned, all toys put away, all books put away etc.) AND managed to take a shower in the 2 hours that Tony took the kiddos to run errands the other day!!
We fit, we live simply and like minimalists and we love it!