Downsizing Tips for Travel Nurses

woman with map exploring as a travel nurse

Travel nurses often live on-the-go lives, which means traveling with all their stuff in tow. Downsizing can help make traveling easier for anyone interested in the traveling nurse lifestyle. Of course, this can also be a serious undertaking, as so many of us have a lot of possessions. We have a few tips to help you as you begin your downsizing journey.

What Do Travel Nurses Do with All Their Stuff?

Generally speaking, most travel nurses bring their essentials with them. This may mean downsizing necessities into just one or two suitcases if you plan to fly to different destinations or maybe filling up your vehicle if you plan to make traveling to each assignment into a road trip. If you have other “stuff,” then most people either place it in storage or get rid of it by donating, selling, or throwing away. In any case, most traveling nurses find that they need to do a major purge before they take their first assignment. At the very least, you’ll need to decide what goes with you to each assignment and what doesn’t. That’s where downsizing comes in. 

Downsizing Tips for Travel Nurses

Downsizing for full-time travel is a serious project. While many people feel better after getting rid of unneeded things, it can also be hard for many people. Luckily you’re not alone in your journey. We’re here to help and offer support and advice for all things related to travel nursing. Here are some tips from our travel nurse agency to help make downsizing easier and more effective. 

Break Up Downsizing Tasks into Bite-Sized Pieces

The idea of downsizing everything you own can be a little overwhelming. But, if you’re getting ready to start the next phase in your life and career and become a travel nurse, it’s probably necessary. With any big project, it can help to break things up into smaller tasks. For example, you might downsize room by room in your current living space. Other people downsize by category, like clothes or kitchen appliances. 

woman with map exploring as a travel nurse
Travel nurses travel around the country while achieving their career goals.

Avoid a “Maybe” Pile

One of the ways many people go wrong when they start downsizing is they begin a “maybe” pile. This means you have to go through those items twice, creating more work for yourself. Also, the maybe pile often isn’t helpful because it gives you an “out” for making a decision. Instead, it’s important to be decisive. Be honest about whether you really need the item and if you’re willing to sacrifice some space in your car or suitcase to take it with you. 

Weigh the Costs of Long-Term Storage vs. Repurchasing Items

Storage is expensive! The average cost of a storage unit rental per month is $60 or more depending on unit size, location, and whether it’s climate-controlled. For many travel nurses, that is a lot of money to spend for items they may not use for years as they travel around the country. So, many people find it easier to downsize when they look at the storage costs compared to the cost of replacing the item later. For example, storing a nice, expensive bedroom set might make sense if you’re going to travel for a few years and use the set later. However, storing some old, chipped dishes that you bought at a yard sale during college probably isn’t worth the cost of storage. Putting things in these terms may help you make downsizing decisions easier.

Tax-Savvy Travel Nurses Keep an Inventory of Donated Items

After downsizing, you likely have quite the pile of stuff to donate. In many cases, charitable contributions may be tax deductible. So, before you give everything away, make a quick inventory for you to reference later. This can be as involved as a spreadsheet listing each item and value or as simple as taking a quick picture of each item. This can help as you total up your donations when tax time comes around. Also, if you’re giving items to popular donation centers, most will be able to provide you with a donation receipt. Those may come in handy when filling out your taxes. 

Digitize What You Can

In the effort to downsize, many travel nurses find they sacrifice sentimental items that they later regret, like old photographs, family recipes, and other things. Ditching these items can absolutely open up more space for necessary items. However, a lot of these things can be easily digitized and kept on your phone, computer, or a small external hard drive. Take some time to scan those pictures, recipes, and other scannable items. Also, for the sentimental objects that you’re planning to part with, you can snap a picture to help preserve the memories. You might even turn it into a digital or physical “treasure” scrapbook later. 

Don’t forget to also digitize other paperwork that you don’t need a physical copy of (like those donation receipts we mentioned in the last section). Paper can take up a lot of room and is vulnerable to spills and messes, so having a digital copy may be better as you begin your traveling nurse adventure. 

Tips for Travel Nurses Struggling to Downsize their Wardrobe

Having a hard time purging your wardrobe? We get it. Especially if you’re into fashion, it can be so hard to get rid of clothes you think are cute. A good rule of thumb is to keep items that you wear often and that can go with multiple outfits. Having a completely mix-and-matchable wardrobe can give you a ton of options while taking up much less space as you travel to different assignments. We all have a few items that seem to go in the washer every week or two, so try to plan around those favorite items for a whole host of power outfits.

Never Stop Downsizing!

Now, you may have thought this downsizing guide from our travel nurse agency was mainly for beginners, but think again! Yes, downsizing at first can be a much bigger project. However, you can also use these tips if you’ve been traveling for years.  It’s so easy to accumulate stuff. Many traveling nurses actually evaluate things and downsize each time they pack or unpack. As you learn more about the experience and change your habits, you may find that the blender you absolutely needed for daily morning smoothies just doesn’t get used as much, or the dress you couldn’t live without is no longer one of your favorites. If you’re a traveling nurse, downsizing may become a habit to make traveling light simpler.

We Help Travel Nurses Pursue their Dreams at AHS NurseStat

No matter your reasons for becoming a traveling nurse, we are here to help make your dreams happen. We help match traveling nurses with their ideal jobs. We are also here to help answer all your questions, from “What is a travel nurse?” to “How long will my next assignment last?” Our goal is to help you live your best life and find the right career opportunities for you. We offer concierge-like experience for travel nurses. Our recruiters listen to your wants and needs and help match you with the ideal job. We’ll even help guide you through the process such as getting your license in each state or finding the right housing for you. If you’re ready to join the AHS NurseStat family and find the perfect nursing job, get in touch today!