Thursday, March 27, 2008

Selling Out

Going full time in an RV is not a decision to make lightly. We struggled for several years with the idea of selling our home, disposing of all our furniture and most of our worldly possessions. What exactly do you do with a lifetime of accumulation? More difficult perhaps, are the family matters to consider. We had lived in the same town for many years and never far from our parents. Then there was the daughter unit to consider. She was out of college and had a job, but was used to having her parents close at hand.

We were eager to do get started doing some of the things we had dreamed of doing for years. When the opportunity to semi-retire (work Nov. to May in Nashville and have May to Nov. off) presented itself, we grabbed it. This was a way to test the waters, so to speak. But now was the time to make these hard decisions.

Deciding to sell our home was not so difficult. We were living in a condo and there were various issues with the property and home owners association that had us thinking of selling anyway. So our real decision was whether or not to purchase other real estate. We chose to put that decision off until after the first 6 months away. So we put most of our stuff in storage, selling only things we had wanted to get rid of for years. It helped that Ansley had just rented her own first apartment and needed furniture. And I can always count on my brother to take a few things off my hands. Goodwill got a lot and we sold a few things at a garage sale.

After that first 6 months on the road, we were hooked to the RVing lifestyle. We began seeing ourselves as full-timers, and we looked at that storage unit full of “stuff” with dismay. What now? We had already disposed of what we really didn’t want. Since we were moving into an apartment each winter, we had the time to really contemplate the usefulness of every item. Over the next 3 winters we discarded more and more. By the time we finally purchased our 5th wheel, we were down to a small wardrobe of clothing, house ware items we would need in the RV, two lifetimes of photographs, and the keepsakes.

The photographs proved to be a major project that lasted 2 winters. We decided to have them scanned so they could be stored on compact disc. Most places now allow you to scan your own photos for a small price. However, we had boxes and boxes and boxes of photos. We found a Walgreens that would scan for us. I spent literally months carefully removing pictures from albums and sorting them to be easily found on disc. We would take between 500 and 1000 pictures at a time to be scanned and pick them up a few weeks later. We did this about 5 times. I had discs now, but I also had the hard copy photo. The person who was in the photo or on the trip got the picture. I’m still giving away pictures.

Photos are a keepsake item. They hold our memories. We had some concerns about all our photos being on disc. Discs don’t last forever and they can so easily be damaged. To complete this project, I made copies of all the discs (and will recopy about every 8 years). We keep one copy with us and one copy in the storage unit.

We still have a storage unit, but it’s small. There will always be keepsakes—those things you just can bear to part with. Though the process was long and hard, we are happy that essentially all our worldly possessions are with us within a space that can safely travel down the interstate at 65 miles per hour.


  1. Due to circumstances, I had virtually no photos to decide about when I went full time. Wish I did. The rest of the keepsakes only take up two small tubs that I store at my daughter's house, and those are mostly things passed down from previous generations. Will I ever open those tubs? Who knows. I think circumstances are different for each of us that choose this lifestyle.

  2. the rv lifestyle seems to be a journey before you even hit the road!!