In a few days, we will have been living in our 1990 Coachman Leprechaun for two whole months! I thought this would be a good time to give some thoughts on what we’ve experienced so far.
To be honest, 98% of this new lifestyle has been good, great even, for our family. Living in a smaller, simpler space has challenged so many preconceptions I didn’t even realize I had about what a “home” is supposed to be.
- It’s difficult to keep clean (yes, I know I’m still in the “good” stuff) which also plays into the fact that things get messier quicker. I say this positively because the result has been my being more challenged to clean regularly. This leads me into my next point…
- What seem like “big messes” always clean up super fast! I sometimes look at our tiny kitchen, tiny bedroom, and tiny living room and start to panic at the mess. Simple things like laundry that needs folding, kids toys scattered on the couch, and dishes that need washing seem massive relative to the size of the space, but as soon as I start to get things done, I’m amazed by how quickly I realize the mountains are actually molehills.
- We are more conscious about our water usage. While we are currently still primarily parked at my father-in-law’s house and therefore have access to water and electricity, we still have to keep an eye on water used for things like dishes and flushing the toilet. We may not have to worry about water coming in, but we’re still limited on water coming out! Our gray and black tanks require regular dumping (every 1-2 weeks depending on how careful we are), so we’ve had to come up with little things to cut back.
- I am less distracted during the day. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but it’s so true! When I can sit on my couch and basically see all of my house, I spend less time imagining things that need to be cleaned or organized in places I can’t see and more time actually getting things done. Tasks being more visible also serve as regular reminders of what requires my attention.
- We’ve already had leaks. When we removed the cabinetry over the cab to turn the area into a bed for the kids (a project we’re still finishing up), we noticed that water was coming in from outside. Fortunately, Jared has been doing some caulking and we’ve had LOTS of rain lately. It looks like things are staying dry now. With an older rig like ours, there’s always the possibility that things like this will go unnoticed even by the previous owners. This area was behind the cabinetry, so it’s understandable that no one noticed the leaking before.
- There is some maintenance that needs to be done. In April, we went up to Ohio to visit my family. The trips there and back were about 20 hours on the road in total, and there seems to be some issue with the fuel pressure system (don’t quote me on that, I really have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to mechanics.)
- Our lives are a great conversation starter. While full timing is becoming more and more popular these days, most people still haven’t heard of people – especially people with children – living in an RV… by choice. Simple questions like “How are you today?” and “How are the kids doing?” lead quickly to topics that are out of ordinary for most people. I get to talk about utilizing our small space for play time, taking lots of walks, and spending more time in the Word.
- Kids in an RV isn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be. Having “enough space” for our two children (a two-year-old and a nine-month-old) was one of our biggest concerns going into all of this. Fortunately, they have adjusted wonderfully, for the most part. Our kids will make toys out of anything, and any space can be a location for fun. Our baby, Cole, loves to sit under the dinette table and bang blocks together, batting occasionally at his sister’s feet while she plays with her toys up above him. They both nap in our bed in the back, and it is a truly beautiful sight to see the two of them sleeping together at the same time during the middle of the day. There are, of course, challenges and we do try to spend as much time outside as possible, but they are doing so very well.
- We aren’t nomads. This has been, hands down, our biggest surprise. We thought that we’d be on the road as soon as possible, but that simply hasn’t been how God is leading us. More than anything, this new lifestyle has been about simple, purposed living more than it has been about having the ability to travel. We’ve learned more and more that our home – wherever that may be – is our mission field. We need only focus on the mission wherever God tells us to go, or in our case, wherever He tells us to stay.
What do you think would be the hardest part about living in a smaller space? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!