Minimalist Interview: Linda Sand

View at the Beach - Linda Sand

Meet Linda Sand.

Linda Sand isn’t a blogger, but her frequent comments here made it clear to me that she’d be a great minimalist to interview, because she and her husband lived in a small RV for a few years.

Linda says, “With retirement I gave up living by my Mom’s motto: ‘What would the neighbors think?’ I decided what my husband and I think about how we live is much more important.”

Soon after you and your husband retired, you sold your 1580 square foot townhome and nearly everything else you owned, and moved into a motorhome. Had you been planning this for a long time or was it more of a sudden decision? What motivated you?

It was fairly sudden. I realized I didn’t want to spend another winter in Minnesota and moving into an RV seemed the easiest way to escape. We had traveled by RV before so knew what that meant but we did more research and experimentations for awhile to decide if we could do this for more than a 3-week vacation trip.

Did you keep some of your possessions in storage or keep only what fit in the motorhome?

We started out in a 24-foot motorhome with very limited capacity so we rented the smallest store room we could get and filled it about half full with things we wanted to keep that wouldn’t fit in our RV. Later we bought a larger RV (a 35-foot motorhome) and got rid of everything remaining that wouldn’t fit in it. We still have a box of sentimental items and photo albums.

How many years did you live in the motorhome? Where did you visit during your travels, and which were your favorite locations?

We lived full-time in an RV for 3+ years then my husband was ready to go home. So I downsized to a conversion van and traveled solo during winters for the next 3 years. During those first 3 years we traveled through each of the 48 contiguous states.

Experiencing Gettysburg heat during the season of the battles there was very memorable—I kept thinking, “wool uniforms!” So for me I think I would say the historical sites but for Dave it would probably be nature sites. We made it a point to visit both as much as possible.

What tips for downsizing do you have for aspiring fulltime RVers?

Start paying attention to what things you actually use on a daily basis. You won’t want to use space or weight capacity for specialized gadgets. Can you make do with your stick blender instead of the one that has a big jar? How many wrenches do you really need? Anything that can be used for more than one task is more likely to be worth bringing along.

But do know that RVers like potlucks so bring at least one dish/pot big enough to allow you to participate in those. We brought my Tupperware mixing bowls so were able to rehydrate enough freeze-dried blueberry cheesecake to share at our first potluck.

Evaluate your wardrobe for casual clothes that can be layered to suit various temperatures. We did bring one dress up outfit each but only wore them once. After retiring jeans were our go to clothes anyway. We have RV friends who were not jeans people so they wear causal slacks instead. It’s important that you know your own tastes but, if you need to iron every day, you will probably not live long in an RV.

What hobbies did you and your husband have while living in the motorhome?

We are both computer nuts. We spend hours each day researching, planning, and playing on our computers. You have to do research about how to connect to the internet when you no longer have DSL or whatever you had at home. Technomadia.com is my go to site for that.

Did you learn anything during your fulltime RVer period that has helped you live more minimally now that you’re in an apartment?

We are now in a 2-bedroom apartment and it is too big for me. It doesn’t have that cozy feel the RVs did. But, we still have minimal furniture and eat simple meals and I buy scarves to change the look of my outfits instead of buying whole outfits.

What do you feel are the most important benefits of living in a small space?

Time. You have time to play when you are not maintaining lots of space and stuff.

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3 thoughts on “Minimalist Interview: Linda Sand

  1. I contemplated RV living myself but my reasons were completely different. I had two adult children with families that I wanted to spend more time with. Both live in cold climates which would have made heating the RV difficult and neither of them had space for an RV to park on their property or a park close enough to make it worthwhile.

    The one part of your story I find the most interesting is that you traveled alone for a few years. Being single I wondered if I would enjoy traveling RV style by myself. It’s usually couples you hear about.

    Oh, and I know what you mean about your apartment being too large and not cozy like the RV. I recently moved from a small apartment (300 sq ft) to a house and a year later still don’t feel the cozy factor here.

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.