Friday, May 10, 2013

Simplifying a Simple Life.

So we are about to embark on a somewhat crazy journey. In just a couple weeks, we will be packing up everything (not that we have a whole lot) into storage and moving into this 260 sq ft RV.  This will be our home until our new house is built.  We are anticipation being in the RV approx. 10-14 months. 
i hope to be able to document the journey and share some of the challenges and benefits that come with small space living.  Although i have always considered our life to be  very simple, it is about to get a whole lot simpler. 

We looked at a ton of RVs, checked craigslist daily, and drove all over SWVA (and sometimes NC) to look at them. We decided on this one.  It is a  1999, 30' Dutchman Supreme.  It is a little older than some of the others we looked at but it has so much more space and was still within our price range.  The Supreme has higher ceilings, which is really nice for my super tall husband. It has a master's cabin in the front with a queen size bed, a closet and lots of cabinets.  It also has bunkbeds for the kids. We'll be hooking it up to the existing septic, electricity and water.  So although it will be simple living, we'll still have some modern conveniences...including internet. :) 

The RV has a little kitchen with a gas stove/oven and a microwave.  It's a small space though, and i don't really see myself cooking up too many elaborate meals.  During the summer i'm expecting we will be cooking over the fire quite often. i'd like to get a tripod and some cast iron so i can cook directly over the fire. We should probably start looking for a grill as well, and start collection some vegetarian grill/campfire recipes. 

This is the view from the sofa. i can look right out into my garden.  Up the steps is the masters cabin, and the bar stools are up against the kitchen counter. It's really a nice space. i expect that in the summer we will spend very little time inside it, and during the winter we'll be playing a lot of board games. :)

Right now, the packing has begun. We were able to secure an extra month at this house, so we do not officially move into the RV until June 1st. We are slowly beginning to pack and move things over.
Kenan will be going to Canada for a glass expo near the end of the month, so i am trying to make sure we are 75% packed before that. Despite losing absolutely everything 3 months ago, we have managed to acquire a lot of stuff in a very short amount of time, due to the extreme generosity of so many people.  So much of our stuff will be moved into storage, and we will each get to bring one box of belongings into the RV.  The other items will be in storage either at Kenan's shop or in our shed, so we will be able to access them now and again to get different clothing or swap out toys, books etc.

So if you were limited to one small box of belongings, besides the obvious like toothbrushes and underwear  what would you keep?  Because i lost most everything that had sentimental value, my box will probably contain mainly practical items. Craft supplies of course, a few books, garden seeds, a jar of acorn caps, a journal and a few of the really special  handmade gifts i was recently given.

i do have a bit of apprehension about spending a year in such a small space.  However, i know it will be good for us to be back on our own land, back in our own space and i really think it will be a good experience and lesson in simplicity for all of us.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  ~William Morris


  1. sounds like great memories to be made!

  2. Oh, that's going to be such an amazing experience. Your RV looks great!

  3. I would suggest thinking about storage options. For example, I have all of my sewing stuff organized in a tackle box (obvi notions and supplies, not fabric). A lot of board games are available in travel sizes (even cool ones, like Catan and Carasconne and stuff). Do you play Skip-Bo, it's one of my favorite card games and it's small. What about Cribbage? That's another one of my favorites that is easily portable (I keep a board in my beach bag). Another idea is to unbox stuff and transfer it to Ziplocs. When I am traveling/camping, I unbox games. I put the pieces in a ziploc and store the board somewhere else. In your case, you could keep a little dishtub of ziplocs containing the pieces and store the boards somewhere else. Think about the thickness of a boardgame vs the whole box. Beware of storing fabric things in Rubbermaid tubs, especially in the summer. When I lived on the road, I stored all my clothes in Rubbermaid stubs. I was devastated when I opened them up a few weeks into my trip to discover they got musty/mildewy. Put your kids in tents if they go stir crazy during the summer. In fact, I would set up cheap screen rooms to make into summer living rooms. You can thrift cheap couches and stuff and set up rad, pimp-ass summer living spaces. I'd even have a screen-room dining room w. permanent furniture. Look into glamping and Burning Man set ups. I bet they would have some rad ideas for outdoor living.

    1. Ahh...thank you. Yep, everything is packed up in plastic storage bins. i better look into the vacuum bags. i wouldn't have thought of stuff mildewing, thanks!

  4. I've seen a few owner-builder shows, and they all say the first 12 months feels like a holiday, but after that, you just want it to be over, lol.

    Having said that, there is plenty of opportunity to get your summer stir-crazies on, in preparedness for the next winter. Try not to stay inside at all. The first thing I would do is attempt to build a temporary annex which attaches to the side of the RV. Try to make it waterproof on the top, with netting on the sides, so you can keep the mozzies/flies/moths out on hot sticky nights. If the annex is sturdy enough, you may even try to hang a hammock, or find an obliging tree.

    I would place all your efforts, not so much on what you can do with the inside space, but how cheaply you can make the outside space more enjoyable while the sun is shining.

    What would I pack as personal belongings if I were in your situation? A compact art box, along with a compact easel - something I could set up outside. I would love to be able to sketch/paint the way I wanted to see the property develop. Even if it never happened the way it looked, it would be fun to do.

    To be honest, anything I would want to pack, would be something I'd want to do outside, like setting up a small shade house to keep plants. That way you can get them started small (way cheaper to buy) and grow them to a reasonable size by the time the house it finished). Although they may need some protection from winter. I live in the southern hemisphere, so snow isn't an issue we normally have to deal with.