Well guys, I’m back for the new year! Like literally… I just got back. We drove all around the state of Washington seeing all kinds of friends and family, and even stayed in the Bavarian town called Leavenworth for our annual family Christmas vacation. It was in a cabin under 4 feet of snow and it was absolutely gorgeous.
Seeing all of the loved ones from WA that I missed brought a lot of joy, but the goodbyes were pretty rough all over again. However, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
I also attempted snowboarding, but we won’t talk about that. 😬 Long story short, I am absolutely exhausted, as well as finally getting over a cold. Road trips really take it out of you. This means that I should probably be asleep right now, but instead I want to give you an update on how our life has been going in a tiny home. For those of you that are new here, we live in a tiny home on wheels, to be exact. It’s been quite the ride! (Get it?) I regret now not keeping track of how our time was going during each month, but I suppose I got distracted by all of the beautiful crafts of the holidays? [Insert lame excuse here.] So instead of having an accurate account of exactly how our first six months have gone, I will have to reach into the depths of my memory and go from there.
Month 1, July
After the first week of feeling excited, like we had made the right decision to move into an RV, the electricity on the RV stopped working because it was not correctly hooked up and matched up with the amperage of the RV park. This meant that we had absolutely no AC during the middle of July in Sacramento. Translation, we had to endure 110° heat and sleeping in what felt like 90° heat. It was at this point that we lost our minds. It was hard to believe that we had made the right call and that we could really do this entire year of tiny living. Also in addition to the excruciating heat, we still had not unpacked as we were very busy with our jobs. As you can probably imagine in a tiny home, you can’t really leave any messes laying around, let alone boxes that are still full of your things. And the things that we had now were very downsized, so we really needed what was in the boxes each day, but just didn’t have the time to put everything in the right place. It was absolute chaos.
Month 2, August
To be honest, Chris and I disagreed a lot about how we wanted to organize our new home. I wanted to split the closets into normal clothes in the bedroom and coats in the hallway and he wanted to just have the hallway small closet and give me the big closet in the bedroom. At the time, it didn’t seem to make sense to me for my winter coats to be accessible only from the bed, but it turns out that he was right in the end. The separation of our clothes has actually worked out very nicely, and actually created less arguments because it is simply our own responsibility, instead of him asking where I hung his polos. We also had a struggle of figuring out where to put our dirty hampers because in the bedroom there’s really only about 1 foot of space on each side of the bed. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for anything on the ground if you want to be able to walk around the bed.
Now we have (or it has kind of morphed into) a space for a hamper in each corner. This may not leave any walking room, but it has worked well as an organization and cleaning system. Leaving for the day? You simply change in the hallway and throw the dirty clothes over the bed into the hamper. All in all, Month 2 was all about figuring how we wanted to move forward and figuring out how we could function in a small space after we had finally unpacked and the dust had settled.
Month 3, September
In the third month, we had the crazy idea of hosting a birthday party for our daughter… I mean cat, Primrose, in a tiny home. This will be the first time that we would have more than two people over at her house while we were still there. We invited five of our closest friends, as a sort of housewarming party and birthday party combination.
None of our guests had ever seen a tiny home before, so it was essentially a house tour for our friends in the larger home community. They were amazed that so many things could fit into a tiny space (i fit all of my clothes and shoes- it is quite a miracle.) Aside from the tiny little toilet room, they were pretty excited for us. Of course we had cleaned very well before they came over, (sorry guys if you’re reading this, it’s not usually that clean, the secret is out!) but it was still a pleasant surprise that we could fit so many people and everyone had their own seat. Two or three people can sit on the couch, the drivers seat is also an option (when there is no Christmas tree there), the recliner chair is nice of course, and the dining room table is large enough for 2-4 people.
I would love to get a small extra chair to fill out the rest of the circle one day, like a bean bag chair or a foldable padded chair for the floor. It would also come in very handy for movies. All in all, the party was very fun and it was a success. If you want more details on how we made Prim feel like a Princess, check out my previous post Cat Birthday Party… Under $15! As far as the space we had, we definitely made it work.
Month 4, October
Month 4 was of course, the start of the crazy holiday season- October. As you have likely seen on the blog during this time of year, this meant that my crafting supplies were all over the place around the RV. I’m not proud of this, but the dining room table cushions became a storage spot for my bags of supplies bought and pulled out from storage so that I could make some decorations and of course for my ice cream cone costume.
(Want to check out any of my costume ideas? Start with my most popular, Bunch O’ Grapes.)
It started looking very cluttered, but I was so busy with work and crafts and the blog that I just let the pile continue. I could have stored it down in my “basement” compartments, but hey- I didn’t want to run outside every time I needed to find my hot glue gun. Sadly, the pile of crafts grew and grew all through the holidays, especially with the creation and arrivals of Christmas presents.
Month 5, November
This next fact is embarassing, especially if some of you readers are foodies and chefs- Chris and I don’t enjoy cooking. After almost 5 years of marriage, we just truly don’t like it. What can we say? I would love to improve and if you have any easy delicious recipes you recommend, please leave them in the Comments. Anyway, up to this point we thought that our stove was broken and our oven was too annoying to light with a match. I’m not sure what got into me (perhaps it was the desire to fill my tiny home with the scents of apples and cinnamon) but I cleared off the counter covers off of the stove and tried to make some pouperie in boiling water.
It WORKED by the way, and thus began our small adventure into really cooking in our kitchen. We now had the option to use the stove instead of just microwaving and our electric water kettle. It’s still embarrassing that it took us 5 months to even try, but when you think something is broken, you often just let it stay that way. Am I right? The important thing is, we discovered new possibilities with our tiny kitchen.
Month 6, December
By December, we had finally found our groove. Not only did we have a beautiful twinkling tree in the front, we knew (okay, Chris knew) all of the ins and outs of our RV plumbing, electric and propane, so we finally felt kind of like experts. (For more on making Christmas work in a small space, read my Christmas-time in an RV post.) It felt really good not to be stumbling around trying to figure out how to use our RV. We certainly didn’t expect it to take us that long to figure it out, but perhaps it is common with full-time RV life.
The other win for this month was that or utility bill was cut in half! During the summer when we nearly melted and blasted the A/C (once it was working) day and night, we had spent about $200 per month in all utilities. So much for rent being cheaper in an RV park than an apartment! Luckily, it only lasted for those hot Sacramento summer months. The first couple of months of the winter, we had been only turning on the heating system when we came home for 10 minutes to warm the place up, and then we would turn it off. We turned it off entirely for the night and slept under three blankets instead. It was extremely rough getting out of bed in the morning to 50 degrees and having to get dressed, but the middle of the night was actually pretty comfy and toasty warm under those blankets. When we received our utility bill for $75 for December, we couldn’t help but celebrate; all of the cold mornings had been worth it!
I would say that our 6 month stay in our tiny home on wheels was a lot of learning. We learned more about the mechanics of RVs, the requirements of RV and car loans (check out Why We Decided to Go Tiny for more on that), and how much it would cost us per month living here. We learned about what we needed to feel comfortable in our home, whether that be the organization, cleanliness or even the temperature, we now know so much more about what we need from a living space. We had taken so many of those comforts for granted in our previous apartments.
Tiny living really forces you to take a step back and think, “what do I absolutely need to make this work, and what can I live without?” We also learned so much more about each other and how to respect each others’ needs. We can no longer hang out in different rooms when we want space: we must figure out how to coexist and get along. We can’t even watch two different TVs without hearing both of them clearly, so we’d better figure out a show we both like or use headphones when appropriate. We know each other better than we did before and have grown even closer, and for that I am thankful for our little home experiment. I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes us, because I know no matter the size of our walls, it will always be together.