It’s been three weeks since we parked Sally by our fifth wheel in Texas.
As content providers (which we do professionally - you should hire us), any time we’re faced with a big life event we have a vision of well-thought-out and finely crafted blog posts and video to cover it.
We could show each step of the transition. Explain each downsizing decision. Why does this thing stay and that thing go? What emotions does this process bring out? How do we interact with each other while stressed?
Moving is hard.
Moving from one suburban home to another is hard. There’s a lot of stuff. There’s distance between the two houses.
Moving from one RV to another is also hard. You can park them side by side, but when the new one is 1/3 the size of the old? That’s a lot of shoehorning.
Each RV needs cleaning. Each RV needs some things fixed.
Then make it hot. Especially in the afternoon. Nice strong direct Texas sun. In a campsite that’s all gravel and no shade.
And put it all on a schedule. The RV sale came at the 11th hour. Another day or two and we would have been looking at consignment lots. Miranda had a start date for her WWOOFing gig. We had to get going to make it.
And that whole thoughtful “in the moment” blog series about downsizing into a van? Not happening.
Three Week Blitz
Here’s how we spent the last three weeks:
We spent two weeks:
- Downsizing our stuff
- Cleaning the fifth wheel
- Fixing a few things on the fifth wheel
- Cleaning Sally
- Doing some upgrades to Sally
Swapping RVs costs money. There are always things to buy for the new rig. We had a budget but adding some money to that always helps.
I didn’t want to try and sell everything, rather just a few pieces I thought were worth the effort:
- 8’ Aluminum Ladder
- Our bikes
- Yakima Roof Mount Bike Rack
- 2/4 of our Zip Dee Chairs
- Weber Grill
- DSLR Camera
- Air hose and attachments
- Inflatable Kayak
I listed them on the local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. We also set stuff out in the park with a for sale sign. Most of it sold via Facebook.
I don’t enjoy selling things. The process brings out the worst in me reacting to people lowballing, not showing up, and not reading the ads I write.
Ultimately I slashed the prices on the last couple of pieces. Then we gave the kayak away to friends.
Giving Stuff Away
For the rest of our stuff? All the little bits and gee-gaws we didn’t want to spend time selling?
We got lucky.
The park we were in has a huge Easter event where they open up the entire park to tent campers. Families come in by the hundreds. There was music, easter egg tossing, football games, frisbee, kids on bikes and more.
We placed our picnic table out where people could see it. Put a “free” sign on it. And kept refreshing it with stuff as we cleaned out various parts of the fifth wheel.
Except for a few odds and ends it all went. And we got to interact with the people taking it. It was so much more fun than dropping off loads at Goodwill.
Work on Sally
Here’s what (I can remember) we did to Sally during that two weeks.
- Removed running boards
- Restored faded/yellow headlights
- Changed out all interior lights to LED
- Changed out most exterior lights to LED
- Ordered / installed new hubcaps
- Polished trim rings / front bumper / grill
- Restored black bumpers/mirrors/door handles
- 4.5 hours with upholstery cleaner on carpets and seating
- Cut new front floor mats
- Powerwashed entire exterior
- Replaced foam in all rear dinette/bed cushions
- Made a bed extension
- Cleaned all interior cabinets
- Installed compass
- Repaired some loose trim
- Researched / attempted fix of dash AC drain issue
- Removed flat-screen TV
- Moved keyholder rack
- Straightened (or “combed”) the A/C fins - 60-70% of them were smooshed and blocking airflow
- Installed a real clothes bar in the wardrobe
Fifth Wheel Sale
The sale of the fifth wheel took some coordination. We still had a lein on the title. The buyer’s bank didn’t want to put another on it until it was free and clear.
In the end the transaction was delayed a couple of days. We needed that time to complete our move-out of the fifth wheel.
Finally on a late Friday morning we completed the transaction with the seller. We all drove to a bank so they could wire the money into our bank account.
Back at the park we showed them how to hitch up and get road ready, gave some driving tips, and watched them drive our home of 3 years away.
No longer ours.
The truck and fifth wheel are gone. We’re all in the van. It’s crammed full of stuff. It’s hot. We’re sweaty and sunburned.
And we have no idea where we are going.
I drove us out of the campsite. Then found a shady spot in the park. Just to think.
The emotions of what we just did were starting to kick in.
I wanted a shower and a nap. The girls did too.
We found a reasonably-priced hotel about an hour away and hit the road. We all got clean and rested.