Tips and Tidbits for Moving From Your House to Your Rig (Part 1)

Well, the house is sold, we are completely out of it (in more ways than one) and now we’re back on the road again.

Packing up the garage was the hardest part!

We now have over 117,000 miles on our Alpine Coach and have enjoyed almost all of them. I say almost all because as any RVer knows, there are mishaps along the way. Although they give us something to talk about when comparing horror stories with fellow RVers, and for me, they give me something to write about, I wouldn’t say those times are particularly enjoyable. (More on some of these adventures later.)

But these stories are worth sharing because one thing I’ve come to know over the miles is that there is so much to learn…and one of the best sources of information is other RVers.

In the first few posts I’ll be sharing some of the experiences of downsizing from a large house to a motor coach.  Having just experienced it, I will give you some valuable tips for going through this dramatic change.

No Other Moves Like This One

We’ve moved many times during our married life but this move was different from any in the past. We weren’t just packing up one house and moving to another. We were downsizing…drastically…from a 3850 sq. ft. house to an approximately 400 sq. ft. (with slides out) motor coach.

The biggest piece of advice I can give to you is to start preparation early. In addition to the things you want to take with you, you must think about the things you need to take with you. Or at least you need to have easy access to.

Multiple Piles to Sort

When downsizing you have 3 categories of items.

  1. Things you want to keep and are important enough to pay for storage.
  2. Things you no longer need or want and must dispose of either by selling, donating, gifting, shredding or just tossing.
  3. Things you want or need to take with you on the road.

 

This may sound easy, but it wasn’t. Of course category three is the most important but also the hardest pile to determine. As all RVers know, space and weight is limited, so you really must need and/or want it before you store it on board. (This can be the cause of many arguments so be ready!)

We got lots of help from our cat Zeke!

Let’s take a look at each category separately:

(Right now I’m going to cover some things to think about in category 1. Next time I’ll visit categories 2 and 3.)

Category 1 – Things to put into storage:

Our plan is to be out on the road for several years. I’ve said before that we originally said 2 years but as our bucket list of things we want to do grows, so does the length of time to do them. You need to think ahead to the time when you are through traveling and want to settle down again. You’ll want to think about what you’ll need at that time. Here are some questions you need to consider:

  • What size of place will you be in when you return from your travels; apartment, condo, smaller house, or the same size of or bigger house you left? (This is assuming you no longer wish to live in your Rig.)
  • How much furniture will you want to store and what will it cost? (This question leads to thinking in terms of cost of storage vs. buying it when you are ready for it at the other end of your adventure on the road.)
  • Where will you store the items you want to keep…in a storage locker, use PODS or Portable on Demand Storage, store with a storage company, store in someone’s garage or basement (don’t laugh, it could happen!)?
  • What pieces are irreplaceable…meaning they have sentimental, emotional or financial value?
  • What records or documents will you need to keep over time but don’t need to take with you or have immediate access to?
  • If you have a vehicle(s) that you are not planning to bring along, what will you do with it/them…sell, store, etc.?

This is not an exhaustive list but will certainly give you something to think about.

Next time I’ll cover the remaining two categories; the get rid of and take with you categories.

More fun is in store so stay tuned!

Do you have advice for the folks transitioning from part time to full time RVing? Let us hear from you so we can all learn from each other.

14 thoughts on “Tips and Tidbits for Moving From Your House to Your Rig (Part 1)

  1. Thank you for the write ups. My husband and I are planning to take the big plunge summer of 2016. It seems so overwhelming, scary and daunting. The more I read, the better I feel though.

  2. We have decided to rent our house and RV full time for the next few years. We have done most of the sorting you mentioned and will be having a yard sale next week to get rid of all the things we no longer want to take with us or store. Anything left over after the yard sale will be donated to charity. We have a small storage trailer that we will be able to leave at the rental property that will house all of the must keep items: important papers, tax records and family heirlooms. Since we won’t have to pay for the storage we can be more flexible with what we keep up to the room available.

    I glad I found your blog. I anticipate finding lots of good tips! Thanks.

    • Hi Jean,
      I thought I’d answered you but when my site got hacked, I’m not sure what happened. So I will respond again (or maybe it’s the first time!)

      I think renting your house while going RVing is a great idea. We considered it but we knew we wanted to downsize anyway so took the plunge. You’re fortunate you have a place to store what you keep. We paid to store what we wanted to keep. The one thing that was hard for us was to determine which files to take with us so we had easy access to them. Things such as tax records, medical information, insurance policies, etc.

      Records that we thought we might need some time but didn’t want to take up space on the Rig went in the trunk of the car that we stored. Easier access that way just in case!

      Thanks for joining us on the blog and let us know how things go for you.
      Chris

  3. We to are planning on going full time summer of 2016 and also have a roller coaster of emotions which are eased by reading all that I can on these wonderful blogs. Getting thru the ups and downs of downsizing and wondering if you are doing the right thing can be draining. We will be going to the Hershey PA RV show this fall and also attending a Fulltimers Rally. So thank you for re-igniting our passion and helping to ease some of our fears! We are so looking forward to exploring this Beautiful Country!

  4. Well it has finally come to us that Full Time RVing may be what we need. I guess we all share the fears and excitement of this giant leap into the lifestyle but it surely eases my mind to have good folks like yourself out there paving the way for us.
    I have been a musician all of my life and for the last 20 years have worked as a single in the Margaritavilles and Tommy Bahamas. I have retirement income but hope to find a place or two to play a show while on the road. Someone said some of the RV parks have entertainment and I was wondering if there is some sort of publication that will tell just where they are. Working is not my priority but a show a week may just put some fuel in the coach and ease my wife’s mind a bit about taking the plunge.

    Again, thanks for what you do. Your input is helping many of us BABY BOOMERS get out there and take a bite out of life!!!
    – TJ Walsh

    • Hi TJ,

      Thanks for connecting with us on our website. Sounds like you have a great plan.

      I don’t know how you find out which parks have live entertainment. I googled “guide to RV parks with live entertainment” and got some information by different states. But it was limited. I also went onto the Good Sam website and didn’t find anything but I did leave a comment for them asking if they knew of some kind of guide. I will let you know when I hear something back.

      One suggestion I have is to go online and google by state. Also, I found a site called http://www.work-for-rvers-and-campers.com. I skimmed their site page titles and didn’t see anything on live entertainment but it could be called something else. Maybe if you contacted them they would have more information.

      One other thought is to check out the towns near some of the parks you want to visit to see if there are restaurants or bars that hire entertainment on a short term basis.

      I know they’re out there because we’ve stayed at some who have bands or singers. One was Gulf Waters RV park on Mustang Island, TX. Another one that used to have music was Lazydays in Tucson. I don’t know if they still do since they were bought out by KOA.

      Best thing is to ask the RV parks when making reservations to see if they hire musicians or know of places in town that do.

      Hopefully if someone else reads this and knows of an easier way to find out, I hope they’ll share. In the meantime, I’ll keep my ears and eyes open.

      Good luck and keep us posted.
      ~cb

  5. My soon to be wife and I are in our early thirties and we have decided to close our body shop and work from home and move into a RV full time and live the simple life. We have two children from our previous marriages but we live bye ourselves with our old Lab. Owning a business has thought us that having a ton of cash flow is NOT the secret to life! in FACT! its VERY stressful and we would rather receive a paycheck rather than hand out paychecks! 😉 So we now are taking courses for our new independent contractor job from HOME! Anyway we are trying to get ready for the transition from apartment to RV, and we have a few questions we thought we may could ask someone with experience in the RV world. The answer to these questions could make or break our decision. Ok, we have to have HARDWIRE phone lines and Ethernet cables for our computers for our jobs. If we set up for extended stay does anyone know if you can get hard wire (landline) phone lines in a RV? This is very important to us and we will appreciate your response on the matter.

    • Hi there,

      Interesting question. When we first started RVing, cell coverage wasn’t as extensive as it is today, so we carried a landline phone with us and our coach is wired for it. We didn’t really use it much. There are some parks out there with phone connections, but I don’t see it much any more. However, that said, I haven’t really looked for it either.

      Both my husband and I work from “home” and it’s important for us to have a strong Internet. It’s been a challenge for us. The RV parks are very vulnerable to high usage at certain times of the day and the parks aren’t always geared for it. With all of the streaming now, the capacity gets used up quickly. Some parks ask you not to stream, but I don’t know how they police it. We have our own Verizon myfi, but even that struggles some times. It’s also expensive.

      I guess you’d just have to search for parks that offer land line service as an amenity. It should be listed in their marketing material.

      If anyone else out there is more experienced with this, I’d appreciate any comments.

      ~cb

  6. HI CHRIS I COMMENTED ON YOUR TAVEL BLOG I SEE I SHOULD HAVE PUT IT HERE SENTS WE ARE GOING TO GO FULL TIME RVING CK. YOUR BLOG ALSO INOTICE THAT LASS INPUT WAS A FEW YERS BACK ARE YOU STILL RVING ?

    • Hi David,
      Happy New Year. I see you posted in two different places so I’ll answer in both. I get comments either way, from my contact page or as comments to either blog. Hope I can help answer some of your questions or at least send you in the right direction.

      To decide between a Motorhome and a fifth wheeler is a very personal decision. It totally depends on your personal preferences, amount you want to spend, the amount of space and amenities you desire, and whether or not you have a truck to pull a fifth wheeler or have to buy one…an additional expense. If you decide to go with a motorhome, depending on the size of it, you’ll want a tow vehicle so you don’t have to move your “home” every time you want to go somewhere or need to pick up a few groceries. If you have some specific quesitons about either one, I can try to help. We’ve only had a motorhome but I have lots of friends who have fifth wheelers and love them.

      Going full time is a big move. If your wife is unsure, you might think about trialing it for a while before you sell you house. Most full timers love it, but there are some who prefer roots and the stability of having a home. Again, a personal decision. It’s good you’re thinking about it ahead of time. The two of you are the only ones that can decide what’s best for you.

      The expense of living on the road, also depends on your lifestyle. Do you plan to travel a lot which takes fuel? Or are you thinking of staying in one place for long periods of time? You’ll still face the expense of a spot at the RV park which you’ll want to research in areas you plan to go. Some parks include utilities while others charge extra. Many parks have premium sites which cost more verses smaller sites or spots that are less desireable for whatever reason. Prices can vary within a park.

      I hope that gives you some food for thought to at least get you started. If you have some more specific questions, let me know.

      Good luck with your decision and your plans going forward.
      ~cb

  7. My husband and I plan to sell our home and RV full time this fall/winter. Expect to be gone at least two years. My question is: what do we do about a “home” address while on the road?

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Exciting times for you.

      To answer your question about mail, there are a few options that I know about. Depending on where you currently live and if you want to keep your residence there, you can go to a mail store of some kind or a UPS store and get a private mailbox. Many of these stores will forward your mail to you wherever you want.

      If you don’t necessarily want to keep your residence in the town where you live now, and you don’t own property anywhere, there are several companies that cater to full-time RVers and provide a mail forwarding service. We used MyDakotaAddress.com. You can establish residency in South Dakota. They are very RV friendly and it’s relatively cheap to license your vehicles there. When we did it a few years ago, we had to spend one night somewhere in SD at an RV park and keep the receipt of our stay. Before you go the licensing bureau, you need to get an address from MyDakotaAddress. They give you a street address and box number. That becomes your residence address. Bring the address and the receipt of your stay with you to the licensing bureau. You get a driver’s license, vehicle plates and can register to vote. They are a very good company to work with. There is no state income tax in SD as well.

      Escapees is another organization that offers similar services. They are located in Texas and last I knew, you had to spend 30 days in the state to establish residency. They offer lots of other amenities as well. You can learn more about them at Escapees.com. TX does not have a state income tax either.

      Montana also works with full-timers but I believe they require establishing a corporation in which you put your Rig. I’ve heard that is fairly expensive but it provides other benefits as well. I am not as familiar with their requirements. Montana does not have a state income tax either.

      If you google Mail services for Full-time RVers, you can find more details by state.

      I hope this at least gets you started toward resolving your mail situation.

      Good luck with your new adventure.

      ~cb

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