What I've learned after three months living tiny

Cozy corner in my RV

It's been about three months since my girlfriend and I trekked to Beaverton by bus to pick up the RV that I now call home. Since then, I've gone on a wild two-week roadtrip in my own house, transformed a modest RV interior into a luxurious palace on wheels, and learned so much about how to make the most of 100 square feet.

  1. When you live in a tiny space, clutter's effects are amplified. When I lived in my loft apartment, weeks would go by without giving the place a good decluttering. Bottles and cans from parties weeks ago would remain on my giant countertop. If I ate popcorn the night before, you'd likely find the remnants in my giant bowl sitting on my coffee table. In the RV, most surfaces serve many purposes, so there simply isn't room for clutter. I do my dishes within a day because I only have one plate. Everything has its right place, and if it doesn't, its misplacement will reveal itself as soon as I try to drive my house away and need to find a place to stow it.
  2. When resources are limited, you curb your usage subconsciously. My RV holds 20 gallons of fresh water and 19 gallons of waste, which is just enough to live one week comfortably before going to the dump station. Because of this inconvenience, I find myself turning off the faucet to conserve water more than I did in a brick-and-mortar home. It's amusing how barbaric and selfish we actually are when it comes to conservation, but I'll admit it took knowing my own supply is limited before I'd make a concerted effort in curbing my usage.
  3. My life is generally richer and more experience-driven. When you live in 100 square feet, you're not occupied with the temptation to buy a new, swanky piece of furniture. Since I moved into the RV, I've found myself more eager to leave the house to explore, since I've stripped my house of frivolty and responsibility. No space for a couch means I'm less likely to vegetate during the daytime.
  4. A small space is dirt cheap to maintain! When I lived in my loft apartment, I was paying $1239/mo in rent, between $20-$100 in electricity per month (it had electric forced air heat), and varying amounts in water and sewer usage. In the RV, my monthly expenses are $100/mo for my parking spot, about $25/mo for electricity, about $10/mo for propane, and $40/mo for waste disposal. That puts my monthly base living expenses at $175!
  5. A small space is cozy. My RV is just a downright pleasant place to be. Most people assume because I have such a small space that I'm not comfortable. I think the opposite is true. My walls are closer together. Rather than the cold, vast cavern my loft often felt like, my RV feels like a small, warm cocoon.

Okay, so you're probably thinking there must be some serious drawbacks to tiny living. "Don't you wish you had more room once in awhile?" "Doesn't living in your car get old?" "Don't you wish you had a shower in your house?" Sometimes these thoughts enter my mind. But in all honesty, the feeling of self-sufficiency, resourcefulness, and ingenuity I derive from this lifestyle far outweigh the drawbacks. Quite frankly, I'm happier than I've ever been.

If you're interested in tiny living in an RV but don't know how to get started, drop me a line! teejay.vanslyke+rv@gmail.com