We established how to face the emotional side of downsizing, and we explained that the best way to start downsizing is to begin with your storage as soon as possible. Now, it is time to open up the full box of downsizing and dig in to it. We are going to go room-by-room in Downsizing 101, and today we are starting with the kitchen. Whatever your concerns, fears or just plain confusion about downsizing, now is the time to face them head on and bring a sense of focused urgency to the issue. Chris and I went from a 2,800 sq ft. home on a 10 acre property to a 200 sq ft. RV within the span of eight months. If we can do it, so can you.
our downsizing ground rules:
#1 Think about the space that you are moving in to.
#2 Set-up boxes or areas to organize the items that you go through. You will need five designated spaces: keep, sell, donate, trash and RV. We will talk about how to deal with those piles in another post, so for now, focus on the task of sorting.
#3 In each room, we will start with the larger items and proceed to the smaller items. By identifying the necessary larger items first, we will more easily be able to see how we are filling the new space.
#4 Look for multipurpose items. They will be a big asset in a smaller space or RV.
Start with the kitchen. The kitchen is all about functionality, so here the main focus will be removing items that are duplicates or serve no purpose, and keeping multipurpose items. The kitchen is also an easy area for “nesting” items, in other words, bowls that sit inside each other, or measuring cups that fit within each other. Multipurpose & nesting items will be a big help in the kitchen.
Appliances – Which appliances are necessary for you? Can any serve multi-purposes? Or do you need a smaller version? We don’t want you to feel as though you need to buy a lot of stuff to make the move in to an RV, because you don’t. But, if you have a coffee machine that takes up half of your counter, that may be one good item to try to sell and replace with a smaller version. Our biggest object in the kitchen is our Berkey Water Filter, which gives us purified water no matter where we roam. We had already been using the Berkey for several years before RVing, and we won’t leave home without it, so that was our largest item that we made sure would fit on the RV.
Food – Don’t forget to leave ample room for food in your kitchen cabinets. If you are planning to boondock, stay in national parks, or generally want to be off of the beaten path; you will need more food storage. Also, if like me, you are on a healthy diet (pastured meats, organic, etc.) then you will want the room to stock up when you have access to the right foods in order to see you through the times that you don’t. That is one of my biggest tips for those that ask me how I deal with my diet restrictions on the road. So, don’t fill your kitchen with things to cook with, and forget to leave ample room for things to actually cook!
Cookware/Bakeware – This is an easy area to pair down to the necessities by eliminating any duplicates. Consider two pans and two pots of different sizes. You can really cook most things in those. Try to pair down to one baking dish and one baking sheet – again, that is all you really need. Remember, you won’t be doing a lot of entertaining, so don’t plan on using huge cookware.
Dishes – I am going to let you in on a secret here…you won’t have a dishwasher in an RV (ok, some top of the line Class A’s will have small ones, but for the rest of us…no dishwasher!). Maybe you would describe it more as a panic? But, give it a chance, I have actually enjoyed the switch to washing dishes by hand, and I think you will too. There is a real beauty in the simplicity here, because you are washing the dishes after every meal meaning you can use the same dishes for each meal. You really only need as many plates and bowls as there are people traveling. For Chris and I, that number is two. Two plates, two bowls, that is it. Please do not purchase melamine or plastic plates; there is just no reason for it and they are not worth the risk to your health. Regular plates are just fine. We packed our nice dishes that were a wedding gift to keep; and I borrowed extra dishes from my mother who has several from random sets. If that weren’t an option, I would just buy a few plates and bowls at the local thrift store. There are some really nice paper plates out there, which would be a fun way to add to your plate numbers for the rare entertaining.
Other Dishes – Consider using a few other dishes on the RV, such as a mixing bowl, strainer, cutting board, storage containers, etc. Gone are the days of an entire cupboard full of plastic containers waiting to be filled, just keep two glass ones to use.
Utensils – Again, you can keep it really simple here. We actually only took two of each utensil when we first started out, but after a few weeks, we decided to make it a little easier on ourselves by increasing our silverware to four of each. Also, limit your cooking utensils to the few that you love.
Spices – Pick your favorites and give away the rest. Spices do not have an eternal shelf life, most become stale after 1- 2 years. So, that one spice you have been saving for three years in case you ever run in to a recipe again that uses it? Yeah, it is time for it go!
Miscellaneous – Plan to have a small space for towels, soap, measuring cups and other kitchen miscellany. By the time you have gathered your reduced list for all of the above kitchen items, you will have a good idea of how much room you have left for any extra items. It will probably not be much, and knowing that will help you to go through your kitchen gadgets and extras and eliminate most of them.
Items that did not make the cut for moving on to the RV need to make their way to one of the designated piles: keep, sell, donate or trash. Don’t obsess over your keep pile, if it is large, we will work on it again later.
That wasn’t too bad, was it??? Next, we will tackle
What kitchen items are a must for you? Leave it in the comments below.