Organizing the Class B: Finding Our Focus

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Each time you purge there is a payoff. But there should also be a focus. Do you know your focus?

Initial Downsizing

Just over six years ago we downsized from a 1000 sq ft. ranch house into a 30’ fifth wheel. We purged records. We digitized photos. We sold toy cars.

We did well.

We fit a family of four into ~ 260 square feet.

It wasn’t easy. It was hard work physically and emotionally to get rid of so much stuff.

We fudged.

We kept our house. Most of it got cleaned out but we retained use of some of it. A small bedroom held furniture and mattresses. Downstairs shelves were full of:

  • More paperwork
  • Holiday decorations
  • Homeschooling supplies
  • Keepsakes

Payoff

There was a point to the work. A payoff.

Our downsizing efforts paid off by :

  • Freeing up enough of the house that a friend could live there
  • Financing a portion of the RV and Truck purchase
  • Freeing ourselves from suburbia so we could travel the country for a year

Focus

And we developed a focus. We wanted to learn as much about our country as we could. Visit friends and family. Be missional. And be re-created.

Round #2 - The House

After a year on the road we came back and sold the house.

Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt

Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt Suburbia-ditchers have different values than most people - tell the world what they are:

Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.

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Colors available: black, navy, gray.

Another round of purging. Some selling, some donating. The work was harder this time. The volume of stuff was lower, but the importance of what was left was higher.

Again, we managed.

Again, we fudged. We kept several crates of posessions and stored them at my parents house.

Payoff

Again, there was a payoff from our efforts. Literally this time.

We:

Focus

We tweaked the focus of our travels. Our young teens were now older. Graduation and leaving our “nest” was now on the horizon.

We bought seasonal campsites so they could find summer jobs and internships. We workcamped on farms so they could have experiences that aligned with what they wanted to do once they moved out.

Round #3: Fifth Wheel to Class B Campervan

Our oldest has been out for a year and a half. Our youngest is out on a long term solo farm stay. Our trusty truck needed an expensive repair. We let the crisis be catalyst for change.

34’ to 19’ this time.

No slides-outs. No basement storage. No truck bed. No toolbox.

We say belongings don’t define us but we lie to ourselves.

If you don’t own scuplture supplies are you still an artist? If you don’t have a kayak can you still be a kayaker? If you don’t own an instrument are you still a musician?

I decided we needed a small cargo trailer. The trailer would hold our bikes, inflatable kayak, camp chairs, keyboard, guitar, and sculpture supplies.

The cargo trailer would allow us to downsize the rig but keep the things that felt core to our own self-identity. The things that, without, made us feel like we wouldn’t be ourselves any longer.

Then we drove the van.

We parked in normal parking spaces. Grabbed a front-row spot at the beach. Easily navigated a tight State Park. Backed in with other cars while boondocking. Reversed out of tight places.

We realized that even adding a small cargo trailer would completely change our Class B experience. We’d have to park across multiple sites. Hitch and unhitch. Backing up would be possible but still a hassle.

We wouldn’t be nimble.

If we weren’t going to be nimble, what was the point of downsizing so radically?

While driving the van home from FL to TX this movie scene played in my head:

Payoff

We knew the payoff of this round of downsizing. We would:

  • Be out of a questionable truck
  • Get rid of an RV payment
  • Be able to park in many more places
  • Radically lower our cost of living

Focus

What we hadn’t figured out was our focus.

Our one thing.

With the kids off doing their own things why were we traveling? What was the point? What was our goal?

We couldn’t be indecisive. Class Bs don’t have space for options. We needed one thing. One activity to gear our travels around. One thing to carry the gear for. One focus.

We chose hiking.

We haven’t been great at it in the past. We were never one of those families who could do 10-12 miles in a day. We had dissension in the ranks. Not everyone enjoyed hiking for the sake of hiking.

But those voices are now elsewhere. MsBoyink and I are going to see what kind of hikers we can become on our own.

We’ll choose travel destinations based on the availability of great hikes that are within our capabilities.

Final Purge

Based on that focus, I made a list.

On the list was everthing we owned that was “bigger than a breadbasket” but not related to hiking. We sold some of it. Most of it we gave away.

If you are curious about the nuts and bolts of our radical downsize, here’s that list with notes about what’s gone and what remains:

ItemStatus
KeyboardGone
FootstoolGone
CrockpotGone
GrillGone
Coffee MakerGone
Grill basketGone
Vaccum CleanerGone
Step stoolGone
Laundry rackGone
Kayak + kayak stuffGone
Bike helmetsGone
Camp stoveGone
JackGone
Air hoseGone
LadderGone
Air compressorGone
ToolboxGone
Bike rackGone
InverterGone
Kayak cartGone
Electric heatersGone
FanGone
BikesGone
DSLR CameraGone
Blue BuddyGone
BlenderKept
MaceratorKept
ToolsKept
JumpersKept
Drill/DremelKept
Bag of various shop suppliesKept
Extension cordKept
Camp chairsKept partial
Lynx LevelersKept partial
Fishing stuffKept partial

Have You Changed Focus?

Have you been on the road for a while? Has your “one-thing” changed? Was that the cause or effect of downsizing?

Leave a comment and let us know.



More Class B Organization

Here’s how we organized other areas of the Class B:

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5 Comments Organizing the Class B: Finding Our Focus

  1. Picture of SusanSusanAugust 04, 2017

    What a cool new “why” for this next part of your journey. Getting ruthless is tough, but even “good stuff” can get in the way of GREAT adventures. Happy Trails!
    PS-We also love Ludington. Heading back to MI nest week, but alas, not in a camper van, as we like to call it. Your blog is fuel for our long term travel goals. Thank you.

  2. Picture of susansusanAugust 04, 2017

    Typo alert. LOL
    Michigan was our nest, but we are visiting next week, not nest week. :)

  3. Picture of MsJimmieMsJimmieSeptember 06, 2017

    HalleluJAH!!!
    Soooo grateful for you sharing your journeys with your young adults & now on a journey(s) without. Just emailed you and the different clothes, bathroom, kitchen list along with instructions are so helpful. I actually were using the packing bags, however I still hadn’t totally grasp downsizing to what I call ‘nothing’.  Which means I really have toooo much. I also have the hanging bags for toiletries. Hadn’t thought about putting in the bath like you shared.  However just reading your kitchen, bathroom, etc,  along with how to keep veggies & fruits has relaxed me tremendously.  I am purging as I write this note. Will keep you posted.  I do have many command hooks etc. Still deciding where to put. I could tell you (a moment ago)  I went on Amazon for those Correlle pasta bowls you discussed.  I also bought 4 cereal/soup bowl.  They are few ounces smaller but I believe okay for me.  In closing, I truly enjoyed what & how you shared ‘forces’. Very interesting as I go forward!
    Blessings & Prayers
    MsJimmie
    9/5/17

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