RV Weight, Reduce It With These Easy Steps

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Just like a person having a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, we have a Spring one to reduce RV weight.

Our adventure of continual downsizing and watching the RV weight never ends in this lifestyle. We must be mindful of all the new items that cross our threshold, not only for storage space but the weight we are adding to ‘Bailey’ our 5th wheel. We have developed an easy downsizing process that is similar to ‘Spring Cleaning’ which we will outline for you. But first, let’s dive into how to avoid buying too much, which will enable the spring sorting process to go quicker.

The Trap

When you begin the RV living full-time lifestyle, each destination is new and exciting. The enchantment makes us feel as if we are on vacation, needing to take home memories. Maybe a shirt with the town’s name on it catches your eye. Or perhaps, a piece of artwork captures your heart. Let’s just hope you do not find an Alpaca to adopt.

Joking aside, you can see how easy it is to fall back into the sticks-and-bricks way of buying trinkets, gadgets, and clothing. Unlike your house, in an RV, you will need to be mindful of each purchase.

Each Purchase Adds RV Weight

If you were to buy every item that catches your eye in your travels, you obviously would run out of storage space in the RV.  Maybe you are a Jenga pro and have more hidey-holes to stash stuff. That’s great; we love a person that can pack. But did you know the excess weight in the RV can cause severe damage not only to your rig but your tow vehicle as well? The extra towing weight can overload axles causing them to break or wear the tires uneven for a blowout. We will have an in-depth future blog to explain the technical side of overweight RVs.

Let’s Face Reality

We can not go on these beautiful RV Adventures without buying some excess items. So we must face the reality that periodically we need to evaluate all that we have accumulated. Just like a person having a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, we have a Spring one to reduce RV weight. Performing a deep interior cleaning along with sorting, we have found works the best.

RV Weight Downsizing Process

  1. Pick one area or room you want to conquer. Then as you have time, move onto the next section. Attempting to do the whole house (or RV) in one day may not yield the best results or decisions.
  2. What is your goal for the area that is in front of you? Maybe to reduce weight in the RV, or perhaps to thin out excess items and possibly organize the rest.
  3. With the goal in mind, take each item out of the space. As you do so, place it in a: Keep, Donate, Toss, or Sell pile. Remember the goal is only as effective as being honest with yourself by asking hard questions:
    1. How often do I use it?
    2. Can another item do the same job?
    3. Is it worth keeping if I need to save on RV weight or space?
  4. Clean the shelves now that they are empty and vacaume any carpet.
  5. Grab a flashlight to inspect the area for signs of water damage or other repairs. Problems can quickly develop in an RV from the bouncing around on the roads to high humidity in cabinets.
  6. Fix any issues, including adding support to shelves that have warped. Now is the best time since everything is out of the area and you have time to make repairs.
  7. Arrange and organize the items that you are keeping, then place the donate items in your vehicle to take with you the next time you go out. Toss any treasures that did not make the cut and start listing the items you want to sell. Check out our Estate sale and selling tips blogs for more info.

The Time Factor

If you wait to complete any of the above steps, chances are they will not get done. So plan on 1-hour per 3×8 section. In our rig that is equivalent to the 4-drawers next to the oven and 2 cabinets above. Food pantries can take longer, especially if you plan to install organizational bins. And a closest could take an entire afternoon, should you be inclined to try on the clothing.

No More Buyers Remorse

Now that you have sorted cupboards, cabinets, storage areas, and closets, you will hopefully have a large pile of donations.  But, do you have the blues from parting with so much? It is only natural to have those emotions, especially when you are first starting to downsize. Ironically, that empty-void feeling often prompts us to buy more. So the next shopping trip you take ask yourself the following questions before spending your hard earned money:

  • Do I have a purpose or use for the item?
  • How often will I realistically use it?
  • Can I borrow or rent it?
  • Is the item easy to store?
  • How much does it weigh?

In time you will curb your compulsive shopping habits, saving you money and your RV from potential disaster. Melissa can honestly say that this is not an easy process to go through. But having less clutter has made her happier and she now has 2-rules that we believe can help you too in the RV lifestyle.

The Two Rules

“When you buy something new, something old must go.”

Basically, that new item coming in will replace a like object. For example, if Melissa buys a new top she will donate or toss a similar one that she no longer wears.

“If you have not used it in a year, it’s time to donate.”

Throughout the year, we tend to realize when a kitchen gadget or garment is not being used much, or at all. So we start evaluating other items that we do not use and have no immediate plans for. Then a bag gets filled with the items to donate and taken to a local business in need. This action makes the next “Spring Cleaning” process go quicker.

Our only exception to these 2-rules seems to be with RV repair items and first-aid kits. Because you never know when the string on the draw shades will break or when you may sprain your ankle going down the RV steps.

More On Downsizing

We have a full blog HERE on how we initially downsized from a 2,000 sqft home to set up our 32’ 5th wheel.  As well as tips on selling your items to maximize profit, which is good for any yard, garage or online sale you host.  And don’t forget to check out our blog featuring different RV friendly recipes and product reviews!

Thanks for your support and we will see you on the next Adventure!

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Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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About Us

We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  However, we did not find a lot of answers out there that pertained to our quest.  Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  We are here to provide you with another perspective.

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