A lot of people have talked to us about living in an RV full-time. Some people think we are crazy. Others would like to do it, but their spouse is a homebody. Others think it is a great idea, but have no idea how they would get rid of all the stuff in their house – and garage – and storage unit – etc. So I wanted to write a post about emptying the house – getting the stuff you have down to the amount of stuff that you can keep in an RV. Today’s post is about the first step – having a yard sale.
The idea of living in an RV and traveling full-time took root for Tom and me about 11 years ago. Every year we would go to the RV show at the IX Center in Cleveland. We would look at the beautiful RVs, note the innovations since the previous year, and dream of traveling more than we were able to with full-time jobs. As time went by we read what others had written about living in an RV full-time. We planned what kind we would buy. We talked about what we would do.
The first step of living in an RV full-time came for us when we bought the RV we are currently living in. We decided to buy a custom-built RV made by a company that specializes in people who live in their RVs full-time. We ordered the building of our RV two years ago. With this major step toward our dream, we knew it was time to work on Step 1 of emptying the house – getting ready for the yard sale.
I started cleaning out the house two years ago. We only have one child, so we asked him and his wife what they wanted that we had. Surprisingly they wanted very little! It turns out styles have changed since Tom and I bought most of our good furniture. John and Jackie picked out the few items they wanted and we marked those.
When John and Jackie moved into a house 14 months ago we gave John all the stuff that was his from our house. We cleaned out his bedroom and the other areas where he kept things and gave them all to him a box at a time so he could sort it out. He got the childhood toys, Legos (so many Legos), Matchbox cars, trophies, school mementos, clothes . . . Poor kid – every time he came to visit us he went home with more stuff.
Then I went to work on the closets and things we only used occasionally. Would we want it in the RV? If not, then it went into the yard sale pile. Had we used it in the last year? Into the yard sale pile. Would there be room for it in the RV? Into the yard sale pile. Would we want it in the house when we had it staged to sell? Yard sale!
Last July (2013) we were ready for the yard sale with a basement full of stuff to sell. We had enlisted our friends to help with the yard sale and were able to advertise it as a huge five-family yard sale. And it was huge – items covered the entire front yard of our house. We set up the night before and it took us hours to get everything out of our house and from the houses of our friends. We covered everything with a huge tarp and went to bed.
The sale started promptly at 8 on a Friday morning. Most of the furniture was gone within an hour, bought by a “picker.” Tom sold all his model trains to one man. The jewelry was gone in the first 15 minutes. Some people are really serious yard-salers! Then the wheeling and dealing started. By the time the yard sale was over, half the furniture, 90% of the books, and most of the craft stuff and doodads in the house were gone. The left-overs from the sale were hauled to a church sale to benefit missions.
The house was half as full as it was before the yard sale and there was still plenty of work to do. But we took some time off for a well-deserved vacation, and this post is long enough, so I will save the rest for another day.