Yesterday we went over how tiny and impractical an RV is. Today, I’ll talk about what I’ve learned from it.
When we first took possession of this magic bus, we started moving stuff into it from the rental house we were living in. We sifted through all of our things, making decisions about what needed to be put into the RV and what could go into storage. We thought we understood what would be useful whilst living tiny. Boy were we wrong.
After six months in the RV, we realized that we had not touched half of the stuff we packed into it, so we went through all of those cabinets we had never opened and we got rid of a lot of shit. We also went to storage and got some stuff that we thought would be useful. We kept at this until we realized that most of that stuff we had in storage was never going to be useful to a couple living in a tiny living situation. We started giving away and selling furniture and tchotchkies and shit.
We built an outdoor kitchen while we were living at the RV park on Caddo lake, and this space got used to store a lot of Sunshine’s hunting stuff, because I got sick of having his hunting stuff take over my living room. For all of the storage compartments that are built into an RV, there is a stunning lack of practical storage in an RV. It is mind boggling, honestly. I suppose it might make sense to people who are just using the RV as a vacation thing rather than living in it full time, but I just can’t see how.
As we settled into our tiny living lifestyle and purged possessions, we started realizing what was really important to us. We learned that it wasn’t “stuff” that spoke of a successful life. It was experiences and connections. Our experiences were what we treasured, and we began to make deep and meaningful connections with people. We started to care about the planet, and started doing our part to leave it in habitable condition for Sunshine’s grandchildren.
We started realizing that we don’t need multiple rooms that serve the same function. We don’t need a living room and a den and a media room and a sitting room and an office. We don’t need a kitchen with bar stools at the counter in the island and a breakfast nook AND a separate dining room. We started realizing that we don’t need a set of pots for stovetop cooking AND a crock pot AND a rice cooker AND a crock pot with three pots and three separate temperature controls. We realized we didn’t need a toaster and a toaster oven and a microwave and a conventional oven and a george formeman grill and a panini maker and a waffle maker AND a set of skillets to do stuff on the stovetop.
side note: not saying there’s anything wrong with any of that stuff. I’m just saying that we don’t see the need to have multiple things that duplicate the functions of multiple other things we have AND require a lot of time and energy to keep them clean and organized and stored properly.
We’ve also come to the realization that, while we do want to live smaller and more mindfully, we are not cut out for living in an 85 square foot tiny house on wheels with less than 100 possessions each. I like to crochet, and Sunshine likes to hunt. Both of these hobbies require a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff takes up some kind of space, no matter how efficiently it is organized.
Basic things like eating are complicated in a magic bus. Even for someone who doesn’t kitchen well, I don’t have enough kitchen. When we factor in our need for a proper space to process meat when Sunshine kills wild game, well, we’re fairly screwed.
In short, we’ve been doing this tiny living thing long enough that we have a fairly good idea of what will truly be practical and useful to us, and what we definitely don’t want. Good thing, too, since it’s time to start thinking about floor plans, features, and finishes for our small house that we plan to build here.
We’ve spent a lot of time sacrificing and compromising (usually me, since Sunshine has no patience for minutiae like digging through 6 separate compartments in six distinct places in order to get dressed). We’ve spent six and a half years playing a never ending game of Tetris with all of the things that regular families need that can’t really be accommodated in a tiny house or an RV. It’s time to start transitioning to the next phase of our mindful/intentional/simple living journey. It’s time to plan a small house.
final note: living tiny has also been a great thing for our relationship. See, we can’t go to opposite ends of the house to escape each other. We’re always in close proximity to each other in the magic bus. It’s a good thing we actually like each other, and living tiny has somehow made us like each other more. There’s a lot of togetherness in a tiny living situation. Some might not survive it; so if you’re thinking of living tiny, make sure you actually like the person(s) you are considering going tiny with.