It’s been roughly three months since we moved into our little camper with the dream to save money and build a home. Many of you have asked how are we doing, how do I cook in such a tiny kitchen or have we frozen to death yet? I have answers to all those questions and a few more but, what I will say first is that I am very happy in our little home. Yes, there have been times where I would love to have a little more room but. Then I remember I have to clean it, and that desire goes away.
If you were to come to me and say, “I’m moving into a tiny home or a much smaller house. Got any tips?” I would give you the following.
A Dust Buster is Your Best Friend
Honestly, since I moved into this tiny house, my little hand held vacuum has been my best friend. Living in such a small space with three dogs leads to a lot of hair, and I bust that sucker out all day long. I use it after I sweep my floors and even when I cook. Yes! Even when I cook. I keep it nearby to suck up crumbs or scraps that fall to the floor. Back when I had a big house kitchen I would just sweep crumbs into the sink and down the garbage disposal but, I can’t do that anymore. So, I keep my hand vac nearby.
When Possible Have Outdoor Space
When the weather allows, an outdoor space is a must. Before the deep freeze kicked in I would spend my mornings workings outside with a hot cup of coffee. It’s necessary to give yourself space to spread out and breath. It’s like a little retreat just outside your door. It’s also great when you need to kick people out to clean house. 😉
Cooking in a Tiny Kitchen
Cooking and managing meals in a tiny kitchen is challenging. A tiny kitchen also means tiny refrigerator and tiny pantry. The limitations I have on space only allows me to shop for three days of food at the most and, that’s only for two people. However, I have a hard time with meal planning. I have tried and tried and have failed. What I have found works best for me is to keep a well-stocked pantry. Breakfast items, everyday staples like milk, bread, eggs, beans, rice, pasta, spices, tomato sauce and other base ingredients. Then every day or every other day I run out for protein and produce that I need for the day. It’s all very European.
When preparing a meal I am very purposeful of my steps. Gone are the day of chopping while I cook. I can’t, I don’t have the counter. I have to prep out a meal before I start cooking. This is how I manage my limited space, and I clean as I go. You MUST clean as you go. A small kitchen and a tiny sink can quickly be overrun by dirty dishes.
Yes, Get a Storage Unit
We have a small storage unit that is a two-minute drive away. In the unit, we have some furniture we decided to keep, camping equipment, seasonal clothing storage, and other typical storage items. Our storage unit is super organized with shelves and easy to get in and out from. We use it as if it where a garage. I also keep some specialty kitchen items there like small kitchen appliances, props and a bulk supply of paper towels.
IKEA is Your Best Friend
IKEA’s specialty is small spaces therefore it stands to reason that if you move into a tiny house IKEA is a place to visit. Without all the goodies, I got from IKEA my kitchen would not be so manageable. My spices would be hiding in deep dark corners, my pantry would be a disaster and I would have no clue what we would have done with the dog food.
Fellow Camper Dwellers Make the Best Neighbors
Living in a campground or an RV park gets a bad wrap. Many people get images or ratty run down campgrounds. And, although those do exist it’s not the norm. In our little RV community, we have neighbors that are quick to say hi and lend a helping hand. Just the other day OB’s battery was dead and our neighbor jump right over to help jump his truck. In an RV community, there are trailers and motorhomes of every shape and size and all types of people. Just across the spot from my tiny 1972 camper sits a very modern and brand new trailer with all the bells and whistles. But, we talk to our neighbors almost every day.
Everything Has a Place
In order to keep a small spaced organized and manageable everything must have a place and everything must be used. If you’re not using it and you don’t have a place for it get rid of it or put it in storage. This also means don’t bring something home unless you know where it’s going to go. This never became clearer until Christmas came along. OB and I realized that we couldn’t really exchange gifts like we had in the past. Gifts had to be purposeful or small because we don’t have room for a bunch of gifts. It requires you to consider truly what you need, what needs to be replaced and where it’s going to be kept. Their general rule is if something moves in then something has to move out.
I love our tiny house! Yes, there have been challenges, and it has been and adjustment but, all things considered I love our tiny house. It’s ours! We can take it where we want, and we can do what we want. We are in charge of our home. We not accountable to a landlord or a bank, and that gives us peace. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Living in a tiny house is not all romantic and wonderful. There are days that my floor is covered in dirty paw prints, days I can’t shake the chill in the air, and my uniform has become sweatshirts and flannel pants. Right now I look at my tiny house, and there are dishes that need to bed done, the garbage needs to go our, and the bed needs to be made. But, in a matter of 45 minutes or less my whole house will be clean, and I can move on with my day.
One day we will have enough saved and will begin building our home. That means one day this tiny home will no longer be our home and although it will be an exciting day it will also be sad to say goodbye to our first home.
Got any tips?” I would give you the following. I keep it nearby to suck up crumbs or scraps that fall to the floor.
Beverly Dizzine says
Enjoyed reading this! Just today I purchased a Spartan travel trailer – no papers. We can’t figure out what year it is but it looks very much like yours. On the front awning it says Spartan Aroow Flite- however, I can’t seam to find one or a picture of one on the Internet. You mentioned that your trailer is from the 70’s….. Yet, from what I understand, they quit making these in the 70’s. Help! Please!
I live in a 19 foot camper trailer with one dog, I work pt almost 46 miles round trip. To go to a laundry. post office. walmart and library one trip to work is almost 119 miles. I live up on a mountain, behind a barn where the wind blows 40 miles an hour sometimes. Since I moved here 3 weeks ago, I have had the hot water tank go out, a propane leak can’t use the stove to cook so use the camp stove and microwave, windows that don’t open or close properly…almost frozen to death in 29degree temps at night. But this is the best thing I could have done. I love the small little cubbyholes, the tiny little furniture and leaving it knowing I don’t have to go home mow the yard, and clean a huge house. I’m seventy years old and hope I can hold up and enjoy living in my camper.
My Husband and I dream of the day we can take off for a year or two in a small camper or an Airstream. We are very far from it, though! I LOVE your blog! It gives me so many IDEAS for that far off day… I wonder if you have thought of doing a post on how you ORGANIZED your storage unit? I could not find it, perhaps there is one you have already written? I would be very interested in what you share in that department. I will continue to follow you, your blog is better than a Romantic Movie, which is how I usually relax in the evening. Until later,
Molly Lovell says
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” – Walden You are an inspiration, and a fine example of living sensibly. It will pay off in the long run.
Mary Mc says
Sounds like a wonderful and frustrating adventure
for you both. Space certainly makes clear the needs and wants portions of your life. It would be a freeing experience. I like hearing of your lives in your camper. You have a great attitude and are learning so much that will be a great guide for your future as well.
Marcy Brinkley says
We lived on a sailboat for 3 years in San Diego. It was close to work so we called it our city condo. On weekends, we went to the mountains where we had parked our 5th wheel in a very nice resort. After being in the 100 sq ft boat all week, that 5th wheel seemed like a mansion. If we had bought a house in San Diego, I’m not sure we’d have been able to sell it when we eventually moved as property values had plummeted by then. I miss the boat and the 5th wheel now, although I also enjoy being able to spread out in our house.
I love your camper. We lived in a small 1 bedroom trailer for 2 years before we were able to buy a current home. I loved the cozy trailer, the only problem we had with it was that it was 43 years old (needed much renovation and the land was not ours) and when we had company over, they had to sleep in the living room.
Time will go by fast and before you know it, you will be in your new home. God bless you and yours.