Monday February 17, 2020
Hello! My name is Janelle Hooper. My Husband, myself, and our two little boys (ages 6 and 4) have been living tiny for almost 3 years now! We moved from a 3,000 square foot house in your typical neighborhood community to a little over 300 square feet in our fifth wheel Keystone Montana RV. We are impulse decision makers by nature; we do not dwell on big life changing decisions - ask us where to go for dinner that’s a different story. Regardless of how much time you spend making your decision to transition to tiny living, here are 10 things you should consider.
10. Choose a Floorplan
You will never be more acutely aware of how much stuff you have and the storage you do not have until you try and cram yourself, your family and all of your “necessary” belongings into a tiny space. The floorplan you choose and the storage provided is crucial for your success. This is going to look different to every single person and every single situation. There is no right or wrong answer other than will this work for me?
9.Test it out
Take a test run. In our case we already owned our rig that we used for weekend travel. We booked an RV park for 2 weeks and I brought everything I thought I would need living in a RV and we did a trial run - I wanted to see what the day to day would feel like in an RV. We only made it to day 3 before we called the realtor and put the house in the market. We just knew it was the right move for us. Don’t have a rig - rent one! Try making your current closet the size of one in an RV - measure it out and only allow yourself that much space. Give yourself 2 weeks of hand washing ALL your dishes and ONLY using dishes and cooking utensils you would take with you. Whatever area you are worried about - take it on a test run.
Take all the stuff you think you need and cut that pile in half and then cut it in half again. This is probably the hardest area for most and one that I am still doing - we live in a constant state of downsizing. You truly NEED very little for the day to day life. Yes, we have stuff we don’t need that we love. I have decorations and the kids have toys. I have just made it to a place where I am hyper aware of what I bring into my space - does it truly bring me some sort of joy? Does it serve a purpose?
It’s easy to assume that living in an RV is cheaper than a house, but run your cost analysis. Are you going to be stationary or traveling? What is the cost of your RV park? What is cost of gas/diesel? Rig cost? Tow vehicle? We get asked all the time this lifestyle is cheaper than living in a house - that answer varies greatly because everybody’s current cost of living is different. For example, our property taxes and neighborhood fees were insanely high and rising every year - so we made a huge savings there, but if you live somewhere that does not have fees or low taxes then that does not apply!
6. Go Digital
We live in a digital age. In a tiny space, it is best to make use of the digital world! Do not bring tons of DVDs or CDs into your tiny space - utilize Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, or another streaming service. Worried about WiFi - use the download option when you do have good service or read a book when you don’t! Speaking of books - use libraries, used book stores, kindle, etc. There is an endless array of options to transition areas of “stuff” in your life into digital resources.
I am sure you have heard the phrase “quality over quantity.” This phrase came to life for us as we transitioned into tiny living. We each have 1 shower towel. One. We quickly learned what made a good towel and what did not. Same thing with plates and bowls - one each. Invest in yourself and your tiny space and you will find less and less need to bring in more. Less is more. I promise.
Your community is changing - embrace it! The tiny living and RV community is seriously awesome. We love Instagram and have met some of our absolute best friends on that platform. So many people join Full-time Families or Escapees. Whichever way fits you best - pursue it. You will get immeasurably more out of this lifestyle if you fully embrace it and join the community.
Holidays and birthdays can often bring overwhelming feelings with them for the tiny dweller. Where are you going to put this new stuff? Easy - avoid the stuff. Start now implementing experiences as gifts. Not only are you giving a memory that will last forever, but you are avoiding the chore of finding where to store the new toy or book. This can be anything from a museum membership or a trip to your favorite restaurant. Get creative, make it special.
You do not want to get to a place where you are having to buy or create storage to hide your stuff. You do however want your storage to be smart and effective. Maybe this looks like a couch that doubles as storage bins under the seating, or a cart to house your fresh fruits and veggies to free up counter space.
Now its time stop talking and dreaming and go all-in. Start making changes and chasing these dreams.