I’d spent years dreaming that my family could make a change. We’d step away from our house, travel, and have more time together. I drooled over videos of tiny houses on YouTube, and blog posts where other people talked about the ups and downs of living a nomadic life.
Like many other families, we had loads of stuff we didn’t need, but were short on the things we needed — like more time together. We dreamt of taking more vacations, but my husband had limited time off from work. Each year, we saved the few vacation days he had to visit his family over 1,500 miles away. Even then, we only had enough time off to visit every other year. We wanted the ability to see them more often, while also having the freedom to visit other places.
In late 2021, my husband showed some interest in my crazy idea to get rid of everything and leave the “stability” we’d always known. When he opened that door, I jumped at the opportunity and didn’t let it go.
By January 2022, we’d found someone who was selling their RV. The seller said they needed a little time, which was fine with us, because we weren’t quite ready yet either. We told them we were hoping to buy at the end of February, and they agreed. But things don’t always go as planned.
The sellers still weren’t ready at the end of February. As the weeks went by, I started researching other options. We wanted the RV from the private seller because they offered to sell it for what they owed on it, which was much less than the market value. Eventually, we all signed the paperwork, and they officially transferred the RV to us the first week in April 2022.
This might not sound like a big deal, except for two things. First, the housing market was hot for sellers, but the feds were about to raise the interest rates to cool things down. Second, we were leaving the state on April 23 for Texas, to attend classes at the National RV Training Academy. We'd be be gone for almost a month. If we wanted to take advantage of a thriving housing market, and not risk losing money in the long run, we needed to put our house up for sale before we left for Texas.
We had sixteen days.
Our RV site came with a shed, which we threw our extra belongings into. Several months later, it was time to clean out the clutter.
Though I’d taken the time to get rid of some things we didn’t use anymore while we were waiting to buy the RV, I didn’t have a real understanding of just how much stuff we owned until I only had two weeks to go through it all.
Since we weren’t able to put life on hold, my husband still worked his full-time job at the fire department AND spent ten-to-twelve-hour days working on other people’s RVs on his days off. It was just me and the kids.
Cleaning Out the RV
When we purchased the RV, it still had a lot of someone else’s stuff in it. I spent several hours a day, over the course of a few days, throwing things out, scrubbing, and scouring the rig as best I could.
Getting It Moved
At this time, we had our Ford F-150 pickup. For those not in the know, an F-150 can’t haul a towable with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of over 16,000 pounds.
The previous owners parked the fifth wheel in a 55+ RV Park and we needed to move it. So, on top of everything else going on, my husband called a wonderful gentleman who specialized in moving RVs. For a couple hundred dollars, we had it towed to its new temporary home.
Downsizing & Preparing the House
Once we’d cleaned the RV and moved into its new spot, it was time to downsize and get our stuff settled in. I planned to tackle this process in an organized and efficient manner. In reality, when we left for Texas, there was barely any space on the floor to walk through.
Every day I loaded up the pickup truck and made one to two trips to the local dump. Every other day, I loaded up our car and dropped off donations. One of my neighbors picked up a lot of our items directly from the house.
I was up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. each morning sanding, painting, and cleaning the house. If my neighbors ever heard our power sander running at 6 a.m., they didn’t say anything.
Though the process was moving along, we hadn’t jumped over all our hurdles just yet. The RV Resort we’d moved our camper into had informed us, in early April, that they needed to put more concrete down on our site. I told the park that we had a couple of weeks before we moved into our RV into the spot, so it wouldn’t be an issue. But the concrete still wasn’t done when we moved in.
Half of our spot had a giant, gaping hole where workers had dug out the sand and created a form to pour the concrete, with rebar sticking up from the ground. We struggled to move our stuff in between the hard metal bars and four-inch-deep hole-sometimes in the dark.
Selling the House
On April 21st, our realtor visited us at the house. We went over numbers and timelines, explaining that we hoped most of the process would be over by the time we arrived back in Florida.
Finally, on Friday, April 22nd, at 5:30 p.m., I removed the last item from the house and finished cleaning. I locked the door and drove back to my new home in the RV, knowing my family and I had less than twelve hours to pack our things and leave for Texas.
The following Monday, the realtor listed our house for sale. Within twenty-four-hours, we had three offers. Only a week after we returned from Texas, we closed on the property. The stress and chaos of moving in such a short time was totally worth it.
The End of One Chapter, Beginning of Another
During the long working days, and short sleepless nights, I told myself it was all worth it to make our dream happen. And it was. As soon as we returned from Texas, we were able to take the next few weeks to put our things away and get settled in our new home.
This isn't a decision we made lightly. To see how we got here, check out Why We Ditched Suburbia to Become Nomads.
Are you working toward a big lifestyle change? Do you dream of going tiny? Traveling more? Have you already made a transition into a different lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!