Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Well you made the decesion to RV fulltime, What's next?

The decision to go on the road full time was not that difficult of a decision for us, it's the getting there that takes the effort.  For Vicki and I when we made the decision we were living in Fredericksburg, VA, She was 44 and I was 46.  There were a lot of people that looked at us like we were crazy, "Your going to do what?" your not old enough to retire!  It's not like for most people where you have a retirement or pension and a steady income each month so it was a little scary for us but we knew if we had the right plan we could make it work.  So where do you begin?  How do you make the dream a reality?  Let's find out

The Devil is in the details!

The first thing we did was set a goal, by March 2011 we would no longer live in a house we would live in a motorhome full time.  There is so much to think about, in 10 months we have to figure out what to keep, what not to keep, what to do with the stuff that we do keep, find a motorhome, move out of the house, where do we want to go, what do we want to do?  It really can become overwhelming. However if you take a focused approach anything is possible.  We could have given ourselves more time but as my wife likes to point out patience is not one of my strongest traits.  When I decide to do something I just want to do it period, I hate waiting for anything!

So the first thing that needs to be done is make a list!  We put dates that we wanted to have things accomplished by and if money was involved we set a budget or target amount.  This helped to give us focus and keep us on track as we moved through the list.  Vicki and I began by listing out everything we could think of that we needed to get done in order to achieve going on the road full time.

The first thing that we put on the list was buying a motorhome and we wanted to have this accomplished by October, 2010.  This gave us 6 months to work on it should anything need fixing.  We knew we were not in a position to buy a new motorhome so we decided to purchase a used motorhome.  We sat our budget at $10,000.00 based on some rigs we had seen on craigslist.  For now we will focus on the second item on our list, figure out what to do with all of the household items we had.  We broke our list down by room, this made it much more manageable.  At first you want to keep everything, but that makes no  sense.  So we checked on local storage units and decided that we would only keep what would fit into a 5x10.  This forces you to make the hard choices and not keep things you don't really need.  I want to point out that the first few hours are the hardest on going through things,  but after a bit and you think through what you are trying to do and it becomes liberating.  We started going through boxes that had been packed for 3 moves, why did we keep this stuff and never unpack it in the first place? When we made the list for the rooms we set a date for each room to be completed, giving ourselves about a week for each room.  We setup a staging area for the things we wanted to keep, you find that area getting overloaded and it's ok, because your going to go through it again and again to weed out the things that you think you want to keep but don't really need to.


The Kitchen, what is going to fit into the RV?

One of the biggest challenges is figuring out what you want to keep from your kitchen.  Admit it, you probably have a bunch of really cool gadgets that you want to keep, as well as some really neat appliances, but in reality what should you take?  My wife came up with a brilliant plan for figuring this out.  She decided that we would pack the entire kitchen up!  Yes it was one of the first rooms we packed.  We only left out bare necessities, such as a couple plates, a pot, a frying pan and the bare minimum to cook with.  Everything else was boxed up, next we placed the boxed up items in the corner of the kitchen.  As we went through the next few months, if we needed something we would pull it out and it would now be in the kitchen.  At the end when we actually moved out of the house and into the motorhome, if it was in the kitchen we needed it.  IF it was still boxed up then we didn't need it in the first place.  You will be surprised at how much you don't really need!

Clothing, Goodwill is going to love you!

Clothing is another area that it seems everyone has a lot of but rv's are limited on space so how do you choose what clothes to take on the road with you.  Some of that depends on where you plan on traveling to.  We knew when we left Virginia we were going to stay in warmer climates during the winters so having a lot of long sleeved shirts and sweaters was probably not necessary, neither were our heavy winter coats.  We wanted to keep a few sweaters and sweatshirts for chilly nights and 1 winter coat for each of us but didn't want them taking up the closet space in the motorhome so we put some winter items in a shallow tub to go into a storage bin under the motorhome. Again, go through and figure out what items you have not worn in a few months and box those up first for Goodwill.  Then you can see what you actually wear over the next few months and go through the items again. Keep in mind that even if you work on the road you won't need the business wardrobe you probably have now. We're pretty informal out here.  I think when it was all said and done we made about 4 or 5 trips to drop off clothes at Goodwill.

Family pictures, Is the RV going to have enough wall space?

The answer is almost always no!  What use to be wall space in your house is replaced by big windows and I'm not sure that you want to try and hang family portraits over your windows.  So how do you deal with this?  If you do not have a scanner go buy one, you can pick one up pretty cheap or you can check for a local company that will perform the service for you.  Scan your photos into your computer or onto a USB drive, then go out and buy a "Digital Art Frame".  These too are pretty inexpensive and you can place a lot of pictures of family and friends on them and they will not take up a lot of space in the RV.  Now you can take those photos with you and put the originials in your storage unit. 


Too good to throw away, Too much to keep:

After you have decided what you are going to give away to family and friends, what is going into storage and what you are just going to take to the dump, what next?  It's time to take advantage of all these household items and get closer to your Motorhome goal, it's time for a YARD SALE!  At our  yard sale we brought in almost $2,0000.00.  That really helped to put a dent in the RV fund and got rid of alot of those boxes we had in the staging area in the living room.  We were not able to sell everything that we were going to get rid of and that was ok because it gave us a better idea of what we still had.  We did not put  items like our entertainment system, TV, couches and beds in the yard sale because there were still a few months before we were going on the road.  We planned on finding a local estate buyer to come in the weekend before we went on the road and just buy everything that was left and this really was the right deceision for us.  The company we hired came in evaluated what we had,  gave us a fair price and setup a time to pick it up.  He brought in his own crew and boxes and finished packing the house for us and took everything away.


Making Progress, but still a lot to do before going on the road.

We wanted to give you some ideas of how to down size and start working your way to the goal of being on the road full time.  Here we only scratched the surface the main take away is to take your time, plan and be willing to make the hard decisions on what to get rid of.  It really is liberating once you start.  Next time we will talk about the process we went through on buying our used motorhome.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Welcome to RV full time with us! - Inagural blog

Vicki and I would like to welcome you to RV full time with us! 
If you are thinking of joining the full time RV lifestyle there are a lot of things to consider and we are going to try and help you weed through some of those decisions.  I hope to be able to give you some insight to not only what is involved in making the decisions to become a full time RVer but help you in your adventure.  At the time of this writing Vicki and I have been on the road now for about a year.  We met in 1999 and married in 2001 while living in Fredericksburg, VA. In March of 2012 we moved into our motorhome and spent the next few months getting ourselves situated to living in an RV full time.  It really is a big transition and before going on the road full time, spend some time somewhere getting adjusted.  In most cases you will be transitioning from a house to a much smaller space and this really does take some adjustment.   

Some background on how we got to our decision!

Some very close friends in Virginia, Mike and Carol had been on the road full time for about 5 years and had just come off the road when we met them in 2007.  Over the course of several years they were always telling us of their adventures, the people they met and the places they saw.  It was really intriguing to us but we both had full time jobs working in corporate America and 1 kid still at home. So we talked about "One day" we would like to do that too. 
In August of 2008 much to my surprise the company I was working for had major layoffs and I happened to be one of them.  As you know in 2008 the economy was not that great and jobs were scarce.  So I decided to start a small company Our World Design Studio doing consulting work and build websites.  Vicki was working for a small real estate auction house and between the two of us we were barely scraping by, this went on for a couple of years.  We managed to make ends meet although it was not always easy.  We would do what ever was necessary to cut expenses and keep ourselves afloat.
In addition to working in an office Vicki is an amazing artist she specializes in painting scenes and designs on furniture and doing wall murals, but as hard as I tried could not get her to share her work with the world.  I finally got a few of her pieces into a local art exhibit which helped to convince her that her art work was good enough to make money. 
She started making more and more pieces and developing pieces with a biker theme and we decided that we could sell these at craft shows and biker rallies.  We thought that we could get a small trailer and we would get a booth at a biker rally held the following August.

The Decision to live on the road full time!

It was Memorial day weekend 2011, we were at Monroe Bay Campground in Colonial Beach VA with some friends.  It was Sunday morning and we were drinking coffee and talking about an upcoming bike rally in August.  Somehow, and still not really sure how, the conversation moved to selling Vicki's art work all over the east coast not just close to home.  Hell, if we got an RV we could get a trailer and travel to rallies and craft shows anywhere we wanted.  In addition since, my work was mainly Internet based, I could build websites anywhere as well and between the two of us would be better off.  Literally within about an hour, the decision was made, if we saved some money, did some extra projects we could buy a used RV, move out of our house and live on the road full time!  This would help with cutting expenses as we could live much cheaper on the road.  We set a goal of that within 1 year we would pull out of Fredericksburg and go on the road full time!
So now you have a little back ground on how we got to our decision and what led up to it.  But once we made the decision, what next?