We did have a garage sale in addition to selling on Craigslist. Again our whole frame of mind was pretty much name your price (even if it was insultingly low), because we would be donating it if it didn’t sell. It was either something (even if it was little to nothing) or nothing at all. Because of this mindset I felt like we did relatively well at a Garage sale considering they can be extremely hit or miss. We only did a 1 day sale and priced things to sell quick. We didn’t get much movement early, but later in the day “business” picked up. All in all, we made around $2,000, which we felt was good considering most of our items in our home were already gently used or hand-me-downs when we purchased/got them. Very few items we owned had we purchased new or were nicer items. The few things that were we did sell for top dollar.
We literally got rid of everything that did not serve a current purpose (with a few exceptions of family heirlooms, or items we didn’t want damaged with heat/humidity on the RV bay). We have 1 small box of photos (everything else is digital), a handful of DVD’s (in case we don’t get signal and want to watch a movie), a few hard/paperback books, and maybe 4 – 6 knicknacks. Other than that it was our essentials: clothing, shoes, pillows, sheets, kitchen items, pantry, blankets, etc.
Downsizing is never an easy task.
When we decided to move out of our apartment and into an RV we knew we would have to get rid of a lot of things. With that being said, I don’t think we were quiet prepared for how tough it can be to part with our “things” or the work that goes into a purge that large. We did it after all, it just wasn’t the easiest or smoothest process. We wanted to write this post to shed some light into the process we went through to move into the RV, as well as give some advice on what we would have done differently now that we’ve “been there done that.”
“The upside to this is process, is the invigorating feeling of letting go and getting rid of the crap we accumulate. It’s crazy how much “stuff” we fill our homes with.“
We had 4 weeks to go through everything we owned and determine what we would take with us, store, sell, give away, or throw away. The “keep with us pile” was easy. It was mostly things we use everyday that we obviously need on the RV. The “store” pile was the most difficult. We couldn’t justify the cost to store items we weren’t using or plan on using anytime soon so we didn’t want to pay for a storage unit. We did however, ask a friend if we could store a few smaller tubs in their garage (storage unit) since they had one paid for by their company. They thankfully said yes! We wanted to honor their space and generosity so we really wanted to keep our “stored” items to a minimum. As the purging process progressed, a lot of the things that started in our “storage” pile ended up being moved to the “sell/give away” pile. While we felt the desire to keep it (a lot of emotional ties), when it really came down to it, we realized we don’t actually need to keep it and often times the item didn’t serve us anymore. We asked ourselves a set of questions I outlined at the bottom of the post that really helped us get rid of things we no longer needed but felt obliged to keep. Also moving things from pile to pile (about 4 times seems to be the charm) surely does motivate you to just yell “Get rid of it. I’m sick of moving it.” This process is of sorting, pricing, and purging is long, tedious, and emotional. The upside to this process, is the invigorating feeling of letting go and getting rid of the crap we accumulate. It’s crazy how much “stuff” we fill our homes with.
We knew we wanted to sell our big items (couch, dresser, dining room table, night stands, bed, etc) on Craigslist because we would be able to get top dollar. We listed those items as soon as we found out the RV purchase was finalized. Some items went SUPER quick (we were without a dining room table or chairs for 3 and 1/2 weeks), and others we ended up selling last minute for way less than we would have hoped. The bottom line was everything had to go, regardless if we sold it, gave it away, or threw it away. It came to a point when we realized we had to let go of the price we wanted if things weren’t moving. We figured any money was better than no money (giving it away). If we weren’t getting interest in a few days after posting, we lowered the price. This ensured things that had value sold and we maximized our “cash out”.
After we packed everything up and got our stuff loaded into the U-Haul, the next step was making it fit in our RV. While I would love to tell you everything fit, I would be lying. More or less, the items we needed fit perfectly, and we ended up re-organizing several times to make sure our storage was optimized and got rid of the rest. After it was all said and done (around 5 – 6 “purge” sessions) we felt comfortable with the items we kept and stored. We essentially got rid of everything that did not serve a current purpose (with a few exceptions of family heirlooms, or items we didn’t want damaged with heat/humidity on the RV bay). We have 1 small box of photos (everything else is digital), a handful of DVD’s (in case we don’t get signal and want to watch a movie), a few hard/paperback books, and maybe 4 – 6 knickknacks. Other than that it was our essentials: clothing, shoes, pillows, sheets, tools, kitchen items, pantry, blankets, etc. One thing we didn’t quiet prepare for beforehand was having to purchase new items of things we already owned and sold (or gave away) because it wasn’t the right fit/size for the RV. For example, we had a 2 drawer filing cabinet that was only a year old but it was too big for our current space. We had to sell that one in order to buy a smaller (fire and water proof) one instead. We had to do that with several items which seemed a bit ironic at first.
My biggest tips if you’re going through something similar are below.
- Go through 1 room at a time sorting items into “Keep”, “Store” (if you want/able to store items), “Sell”, “Donate”, or “Throw Away”.
- Ask yourself the following questions as you go through items to help eliminate “storing” or “keeping” more items than you really need.
- “Does this serve me currently?”
- “Can I get this again if I need it at a future date?”
- “When is the last time I used/wore/read/played this?”
- “Can I store this electronically and shred the physical item?”
- “Why do I feel an attachment to this item? Does the item bring me joy when I look at it? Can I still feel joy/remember that person without this item?”
- If you have a garage sale be willing to sell things way less than they are worth – the whole point is to get money (any form of it) for the items, or you’re just going to give them away for free anyways. Also, don’t waste your time with color coding, just use masking tape with a price on it. Pre-Price big ticket items, the rest price as you go.
- Sell big ticket items on Craigslist for higher sales prices.
- Don’t wait until the last minute – this process takes time. The better you space it, the more in control you will feel.
I hope these suggestions help! I know I could have used some help as we went through the purge.
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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