Our Story

Welcome to our site! We are Joanne & Steve. After 20+ years working for a city school department and police department, we sold almost everything, bought an RV, and started living on the road with our three children. Joanne homeschools and works online.
What we have chosen is to live life as unencumbered as we possibly can and to spend time with our family, for our family, and as a family.
This website is a record of our travels. But, we also hope to educate, entertain, and inform others about RVing, roadschooling, and the great places we visit in this country.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting Ready to Hit the Road: Purging What You Own: Part 1

We have been asked by many how we were able to go from a 3000 sq. ft house and barn into a 40ft, 4-slide RV with 5 people, and a dog. It was not easy.  It took time and a lot of work.  But, nothing worth having is easy.

You've made the big decision.  You and your family, or you and your spouse, are selling the house and moving into an RV to travel the United States and beyond.  Before you tell anyone, be prepared for questions.  Try to have answers for those questions, but welcome those you don't have an answer for...and then find the answer.  We told people knowing they'd think we were nuts and would ask us everything under the sun. It was beneficial. If we couldn't answer, we found out the answer, as many were good questions.

Now everyone knows, and you have a house full of stuff to get rid of or save or bring.  Selling the house won't be the hard part...purging will be.

So where do you begin?  Well, WHEN is easy...immediately.  25% of the items you have in your home should be an easy yes/no, stay/go.  So here's a plan:

              a.  pick a room or area of a room that will be your sorting station
              b.  place three to four large bins there
              c.  label the bins:  donate    RV     sell    keep (for the early-on 
                      things you know you want to store permanently...which, you 
                      WILL go through later to dwindle down even more)
              d.  as you go about your lives, and use something, or pass by 
                      something, wipe layers of dust off something, toss it into the 
                      correct bin

*When you are sorting, use the 3 second rule, grab and decide...YES/NO  STAY/GO...don't think about it.  It makes things go quicker and easier.

Here is our solarium, a mere two weeks before we moved,  filled to the brim with everything we wanted to sell.  This was the room where I placed the sell stuff.  After a yard sale, about 90% of this was still left.  A friend and her brother came to haul it all away that night for his charity.  (This does not include what is outside, in the barn and what was already sold on Craigslist.)

If the bins fill up...empty them.  Donate the donations.  Women's Shelters, Salvation Army, YMCA, Goodwill, are just some ideas.  Some places are more "charitable" than others.  Most places will NOT take stuffed animals, so be prepared to deal with getting rid of those if you have lots.  (That was one of the hardest things!)

Sell the for sale items on Craigslist (be safe with CL), ebay, yard sale, bazaar, or at a consignment store.  Start gathering permanent bins for permanent storage (plastic is best, stay away from cardboard).

Give away things to friends and family, which you will end up doing, I guarantee it.  We felt great giving away the items we could knowing the people who took them would enjoy them.

Once you are sure, SURE, the stuff in the KEEP bin will definitely be kept, start some new bins for the Keep stuff.  Take the time to store like-things and LABEL the bins.  Produce a master list with bin numbers, general description.  I suggest you use CLEAR bins.  If at some point you need sis, or mom, or a pal to look for something for you, they will have a much easier time finding it.

What you put aside for the RV will most likely become a large pile that will be picked through and made smaller before you move in, and then made even smaller after you move in.

This is just the beginning.  The process is much larger than you think.  You may have moved from one house to another before, but that is: box up the stuff, move the stuff, unbox the stuff (or not!). This is taking 100% of what you own, and shrinking it to about 9%. And, guess what?  You won't miss ANY of it!

Shoving what we can in the attic.

Emptying the fully-packed U-Haul of stuff to keep.
THAT filled up VERY quickly!

Stay tuned for part two...The Furniture!


  1. Hi Joanne,

    We have a "when was the last time you used this" and "does this have sentimental value" rule. We will only take what we actually use and have used at least weekly. We will save anything that has sentimental value. Everything else will go.

    My biggest struggle is going to be with my furniture. I have wanted my computer desk for about 7 years! I finally got it last year at Goodwill for a STEAL! Additionally, my living room furniture was my deceased Aunt's, and my kitchen table my husband built himself.... I don't have a clue how I am going to let those go! I can't wait to see what you decided to do with your furniture to downsize.

    Thank you for helping and for your wonderful advice. It it greatly appreciated.

    Happy Travels,

    Drive Me Crazy Family Adventure

  2. We are a family of 6 (4 children under 12) and this is exactly where we are...it is actually liberating to get rid of "stuff". Our next step is the truck and 5er to find...gulp. This is great information and thank you so much for sharing!


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