How to Keep Sentimental Items Without Crowding Your RV

A popular reason people choose the RV life is because of their desire to downsize. Brick and sticks houses become cluttered with closets full of trinkets and boxes lined up in basements. But with an RV, that’s not really an option. Pairing down to just the essentials is key for living in a small space. Most of the items you bring aboard need to serve one function or another, and there really isn’t a lot of room for much else.

But what about keepsakes that don’t serve any purpose other than holding memories of loved ones or a special time in our lives? Maybe a cherished family heirloom, collection of photos, or a well-loved childhood toy comes to mind. In this post, we’ll walk through some solutions to balance preserving memories, space, and weight in your RV.

VW bus RV parked in front of house next to palm tree

Tips For Downsizing

First, let’s talk about how to start downsizing. One way or another, there are bound to be things you’ll need to get rid of when moving into your RV! Before you start to get rid of anything, though, take your time to carefully go through your belongings. If you’re finding it difficult to separate things because of sentimental attachment, take a breath and remember the memories you have with that item will always be with you. You are not your belongings – a common mantra for minimalists (or those aspiring to be!). 

Once you are in the right headspace, begin to sort through everything. When doing this, really think about what you will actually need, the space available, and what will add to the weight of the RV. Separate into piles of sell, donate, and keep – though, we’ll be revisiting the keep pile at least once more. For most people, big furniture items are among the easiest to decide to sell because these items simply won’t fit in the RV. To help downsize, check out these posts:

Lace doily repurposed to dreamcatcher

4 Ways to Keep Sentimental Items in Your RV

Now that you’ve started to downsize, let’s revisit your “keep” pile from above – and go through it again with a little more critical of an eye. Again, carefully consider the space you have and the weight the item will add to your RV. Sort once more into sell, donate, and *must* keep. For items you are still torn about or are must-keeps but can’t necessarily fit into your RV, here are our tips!

Take a photo of the item

Sometimes all we really need from the item is to see it and have our memories come rushing back. Whether it’s a knick-knack or a child’s artwork, this is easy! Simply take a photo of the item, and maybe write a little note about it, too! It’s especially helpful if you…

Convert to digital photo albums

While time-consuming, scanning old family photos from their hard copy albums to a digital cloud has a few benefits. Of course, there is the space-saving aspect. But this is also great because they can never be lost or destroyed – your photos stay safely tucked away in the cloud. It also makes it easier to share pictures with loved ones!

Share the item with a loved one

Something that could have us holding onto an item is that we cherish it so much we want to know it will go to someone who will love and appreciate it just as much as we do. A great solution is to gift the item to a family or friend. You can even ask them to store it for you if you have a set timeframe of when you’ll be back for it.

Repurpose the item

A great way to preserve a keepsake is to repurpose it into something else. Consider the following ideas:

  • Clothing items, especially sports tees, can be sewn into a blanket.
  • Turn doilies or tablecloths into curtains, throws, or wall-hangings.
  • Frame letters, embroidery swatches, recipe cards, or other flat items. (Keep in mind limited wall space, though!)
  • Get creative with your own drawer-pulls and cabinet handles. Brooches, small toys, silverware… Virtually anything can be used!

Going through our belongings can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. But it is worth it for the peace of mind that comes with a clean and tidy RV! Keep your RV clean using the guides below:

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