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Where I’ve Been…and Where I’m Going

Hola, partners!  I know, it’s been forever and a day. It’s been a crazy whirlwind around here–we sold our house on August 4 and have been living in my parents’ RV for the last month–all 320 square feet of it.

Similar to the RV we’re living in.

Yes, we are a family of four.

Yes, we have three dogs and a cat.

Yes, we have a toddler and an infant.

No, it’s actually not too bad.

Granted, we are keeping the dogs in the workshop, not in the RV, and the cat kind of roams around (his food and litterbox are in the workshop). While we do have a full kitchen and bathroom–and we use both–we gravitate toward using the bathrooms and kitchen at my parent’s (full size) house. But for the most part, we are fully ensconced in the RV, and it continues to surprise me how little we actually need. We’ve trimmed everything back to a couple of pairs of shoes, one to two jackets, and other basics. It might surprise you to hear that we have almost our full wardrobes in there, minus formal wear–though Jason has a suit and I have a couple of dresses for upcoming weddings.

Our new house is tentatively scheduled to close on September 15. Until the house is ours, I don’t want to post any pictures or go into too many details. While we were originally planning to live in the RV through the renovation, we are (hopefully) shifting course on that and going to live through it in the new place. I love my parents, and they have been incredibly supportive and generous through this process, but it is hard to move home with your folks, especially when you are raising your own family.

Our experience living in the RV for over a month has us pretty well prepared for living in just a couple of rooms in the new house, and making potentially awkward/stressful situations work well. Here are my best tips for living in a small space:

  1. Relax. Things are not going to be easy for a little while. If you are a Type A person like myself, this will be incredibly stressful. It will be so much more manageable for everyone if you can learn to relax your standards a bit. I was especially nervous about how the girls would handle sleeping within two feet of each other, and they were fine. Don’t borrow trouble.
  2. Edit Heavily. Seriously, down to the very last item you bring in. If it doesn’t have multiple uses or would be used nearly every day, it didn’t make the cut. We did each have a few prized possessions that came with us–mine included my beautiful boxed set of Jane Austen novels, and a head scratcher. Priorities.
  3. Organize Everything. I can tell you where everything is in the RV without even entering it. I know where every pen, bag, blanket, piece of clothing, paper, etc. is almost precisely. Knowing where things are makes it easy to get up and go in the morning, and makes bedtime run so much more smoothly.
  4. Keep it Tidy. I don’t clean every day, but I tidy up every day. The beds are always made in the morning, the counters are cleared in the evening, lunches are set up in the fridge, and gym bags are packed and ready to go. I have a large canvas bag that shuttles back and forth with us all day between the RV and the main house, so our things are always kept together and easily located. Shoes come off by the door, and our totes (diaper bag, gym bags, purse, work bag, backpack, etc.) are in the front two seats of the RV to grab and go.
  5. Plan, Plan, Plan. Like I mentioned in the previous bullet, we have everything ready to go for the next day the night before. If something gets used in the diaper bag, I replace it. Gym bag gets repacked the day it is emptied. Lunches are made on the weekend for the full week. And EVERYTHING is entered into Cozi, our virtual calendar/planning tool. When we were living in our previous house, the kitchen calendar was vital, but obviously we don’t have that in our current space. We moved to Cozi and have never looked back. I linked my mom in it along with our family, and now we an keep track of all our appointments, groceries, etc. With Hazel starting preschool and gymnastics, both girls in swim lessons, and mom and I doing several classes at the Y, it has been amazing to coordinate.
  6. Get Out. Really…small spaces are great, for a time. But kids need to play, so we’ve been hiking, biking, and going to the Y every day. It’s been so much fun and we’re truly enjoying our summer/fall, and exploring our community. I would say one of the best things about this experience is that it pushes us outside so much more. Yes, it stinks at times in crappy weather, but it forces us to be more creative and playful than we have in the past.

There are probably a million more minute details and tips I could share, but those are the big ones overall. I am looking forward to moving into a home, and I am sure 1,500 square feet will seem palatial after 320 square feet! I’ll try and do a tour of the RV space for you soon so you can see how we set it up and utilized every last inch. How about you, friends? Do you live in a small space? Any tips/tricks you want to share?

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