When you live in a small space, whether it’s an RV, tiny home, apartment or even boat, it makes you rethink what’s really important in your life. If your stuff is getting in the way of living, then it’s time to buckle down to declutter and organize your living spaces. Because when you free yourself of unnecessary clutter, you can focus on those more important things and enjoy life better!
Let’s just say it here now. Less mess equals less stress! Seriously, there are no truer words. I’m living proof of that since we downsized from our 3600 square foot home to live in an RV less than one tenth the size. My life, my thoughts and my focus has shifted in amazing ways beyond comprehension.
I’ll be the first to admit, downsizing from our five bedroom home presented me with unimaginable rewards. I quickly learned what really was important/ I learned what I could really, materialistically, do with out.
And downsizing even more from our 350 square foot RV fifth wheel to our current 200 square foot motorhome sure put things into perspective.
Since, I make it a point to monitor my purchases and eliminate unnecessary clutter. Yes, sometimes it’s hard somedays but reflecting those importances is winning the game.
So, let’s get to how I downsized, decluttered and organized to make life more enjoyable.
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How to Declutter and Organize Your RV or Small Living Space
Purge! Purge! Purge!
Purging is the first step of the decluttering process. Start off small so you don’t get overwhelmed. Separate your rooms or areas into zones. And concentrate on one zone at a time.
Organize your piles by labeling them:
- Give away
Get rid of items that either you don’t enjoy anymore or have a bonafide need. There’s no reason to have a dozen pens, three cooking spatulas or mismatched socks.
From here on out, shift your focus on downsizing with a purpose.
For the things you put into your sell pile, immediately take photos and list them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.
And for those items that your family members or friends may want, hold them to a strict deadline of when they need to be picked up.
And, finally, donate what’s left.
The important thing is to not draw the downsizing process out for long periods of time. Oh, and never look back. Don’t be tempted on going through those piles thinking you may need them in the future. Because you WON’T miss them once they’re gone.
Let’s go over some helpful checklists of what to ditch, chuck, throw away and eliminate. Because, essentially all of this stuff is junk taking up space; not only on a shelf or in a drawer but also in your mind.
So, let’s start downsizing and get organized!
- Clothing and shoes you’ve not worn, no longer fit or are out of style
- Socks and undergarments that are stretched out, mismatched or are worn out
- Jewelry and accessories that has lost their luster or are no longer fashionable
- Linens and blankets that are frayed, thin, pilled or stained
- Clothing hangers that are broken, saggy or not being used
- Stained or frayed towels and face cloths
- Bottles of unused hair and bath products
- Outdated cosmetics, brushes and sponges
- Perfumes over 3 years old
- Body sprays over 1 year old
- Old hair brushes, combs, and hair accessories
- Toothbrushes past their prime and goopy toothpaste tubes
- Expired OTC medicines, sunscreen, insect repellents, creams and ointments
- Kitchen storage containers that are missing lids
- Broken or unused small appliances
- Expired foods, herbs and spices
- Cracked or heavily used cutting boards
- Duplicate cooking utensils
- Unused cooking gadgets
- Stained dish towels, scrubbies and sponges
- Stained and dirty rugs
- Flat and stained throw pillows
- Old and tired afghans or blankets
- Knick knacks that have become dust collectors
- Dusty and faded old silk flowers or plants
- Outdated and faded curtains or window treatments
- Holiday decor that you no longer set out
- Old travel guides, tourism brochures and maps
- Stinky books and outdated magazines
- Empty product boxes
- Old receipts and papers
Before throwing away any product boxes, photograph or scan/copy UPC codes, serial numbers, etc. Take photos or scan old receipts. Create an accessible file on an external hard drive of all document copies before throwing anything away. Keep your external hard drive in a fireproof lockable safe.
- Items that are broken or don’t work
- Broken digital electronics cords and adapters
- Outdated electronic devices
- Plastic and paper shopping bags
- Carton boxes
- Pet toys that your dog or cat no longer enjoys or is damaged
- Games and puzzles that are missing pieces
Decluttering Tip: Anytime you are getting rid of electronic or digital devices, ensure you’ve cleared all data and bring them back to factory specifications. This includes old cellphones, tablets, computers, etc.
Basement or garage
- Old and dried up caulks and sealants
- Tools that serve no purpose
- Screws, nuts and bolts that don’t fit or apply to anything
- Duplicate tools
- Outdoor camping and hiking gear that hasn’t been used in the past year
Decluttering Tip: Consider donating any outdoor gear to Scouting or youth programs. Sleeping bags should be laundered thoroughly before donating. Also make certain gear is fully functional. No organization wants gear that is broken, missing pieces or torn.
Now that you have all of those completed, it’s time to celebrate your final purge; the liquor cabinet! Go ahead and enjoy those last ounces of liquor so you can get rid of those large bulky bottles.
Organize and Store
Now that you’ve purged, it’s time to start with a clean slate. Look around your space to see how you can maximize your storage space without filling it with other stuff.
Oh, and don’t ever think you have to fill every nook and cranny. Here’s some quick tips to help organize your space.
- Start researching on Pinterest for some storage solutions.
- Maximize your drawers, cabinets and closet space by compartmentalizing
- Accurately measure the insides of cabinets, drawers, wall space and closets to know what size containers, baskets or hanging organizers you’ll need.
- Invest in baskets for ultimate organization and storage
- Keep items off of the floor
- Utilize vertical space using attractive wall hanging storage solutions for sunglasses, shoes or small purses, jewelry or makeup, office supplies and papers, toiletries, and clothing closet items.
Stay Organized and Tidy
The following tips on eliminating the clutter and staying organized will help simply your life:
- Keep similar items together – keeps you from buying duplicates
- Stop buying in bulk and multiples – Remember, less is more
- One thing in, one thing out – Buy something, give something up
- Ditch broken or inoperable items
- Buy better quality clothing and products – you’re apt to love them more
- Clean and purge often – at least 4x a year
- Throw away old papers and receipts – after scanning
- Shoot lots of photos instead of buying crappy souvenirs
- Take up hobbies that don’t require a lot of supplies
- Keep only what makes you truly happy
Once you achieve your decluttering, your stress will decrease significantly. You’ll feel more liberated and relaxed. And, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on what’s really important in your life.
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