How do you downsize from a house to an RV

How did I prepare for the downsize?

I really did not prepare. HAHA!  I have always been a “oh it will work out” fly by the seat of my pants, last-minute kinda person.  Not that this has not worked out because it has – but let me help you prepare!  When you are deciding what to take and what not to take make piles – bring, store, sell, trash.  Once you have done that cut your bring pile in half.  I would have personally cut my storage pile in half as well.  (hindsight is 20/20 – our storage unit cost is minimal, but it will take a huge purge once we settle down again).  As far as the ‘bring’ pile, you will quickly learn what you need and what you don’t.  It’s amazing how condensing your belongings into a tiny space allows you to see literally almost everything you own at one time.  I have purged since going full-time and I am currently in the process of purging again.  I had boxes labeled for the movers that I wanted placed in the front of the storage unit, so I could easily access and trade out things as needed (sadly not all of them made it to the front of storage, but I tried).  I had decided on a toy rotation system with bins that I would trade out every 2-3 weeks.

None of that has happened.  Why?!

Less IS More.

I condensed the boys toys down from 6 bins to just 2 that I could easily fit both under the bench seat in the back.  I have gone to storage a handful of times – each one leaving with stuff to GIVE AWAY or with stuff from the RV to put into storage #byejunk.

The less is more mindset is really great with kids too. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is still a process for me – we still have too much kid stuff.  I feel like I am emotionally attached to some of it, and other aspects I am still trying to decide if some things get used enough to constitute a permanent spot in the sacred toy room/bedroom/garage.  It is really stinking hard to downsize from a house to an RV.  I am not going to lie.  In the same breath, though, it is so incredibly freeing and worth every last bit of stress we have endured since we started this process in March.  Each day I learn more about myself, what things drive me nuts, what makes me happy. We are going to The Minimalist speak in November and I am so excited to go and soak up their advice and see what I walk away with.

I just don’t get it.  How can you live in an RV?

I know.  It is really strange and different.  I get it.  But for us, it totally works and is a really fun adventure (now we are just praying that God guides in a direction so that we can hit the road and see this beautiful country).  Don’t get me wrong, there are aspects that we I miss about a house, ahem, my bathtub.  Really at this point that is all I really miss.  Oh, and my pantry.  My house pantry was like house of its own.  I really do miss that space, especially as the boys are eating more – I miss that storage to bulk buy.  Other than that, life in an RV works.  It is was you make it and we have made it a home.

Here is a quick tour of our home and how we do it.  When you first walk into our home you walk straight into our kitchen and living room – a two in one multi-functional space.  😉

From the picture above you can see our loft space, the pantry (black stacked cabinets), and entry in garage area aka playroom, bedroom, etc.  The red, white and blue banner I switch out with the seasons.  I love it.  It is such an easy way for me to add a homey and fun touch!

Kitchen space. You can see our entry here and the steps you see lead to our bathroom/master bedroom.  I use the storage above the couch for my crock-pot, baking pans, pyrex, etc. The one of the far right is my kid/craft/art cabinet.  The big box on the counter top?  Ice maker.  Best.  Investment. Ever.  If you love ice, especially the best chewing and eating ice, buy one.

Baby gate is up in this picture.  This was one of my must-haves when we decided to go full-time.  I needed my space when I was cooking.

A fireplace?  Yes.  I love it.  You can turn it on to look pretty or you can actually use it – it puts off some amazing heat.  I took the baby gate off in this picture, but normally we have the area blocked off so the kids can’t get into kitchen area.  That is a must for me – space is tight and I don’t want little hands grabbing the hot stove or opening the fridge 74584720 times a day.  The storage above the TV we use for big pantry items – cereal, baking goods, and alcohol – because yes.

This, this is our deluxe bathroom suite.  An infinity sink with storage underneath, large walk in shower with removable shower head, and plenty of storage.

Shower.   I miss my tub.

Master room.  There is a king bed in here – we are both tall so it was a must for us.  We upgraded the mattress to memory foam.  I highly recommend ditching the mattresses that come with your RV and upgrading.  Our closet is behind the sliding mirror.  We each have a side.  I am still working on perfecting my wardrobe to a few key versatile pieces.

We installed a washer and dryer right before we went full-time.  I knew with 2 small kids it was a must for me and I have no regrets.  So far it has been worth every penny!.  We did get a couple of area rugs for the carpeted area of our rig to help preserve the carpet.  RV grade carpet is very thin and we immediately noticed wear after only a few weeks of going full-time.

Our garage/play room/bedroom.  I love this space.  L O V E it.  It is so versatile and fun!.  We area actually in the process of remodeling as I write this, so I will post updates once we are done!

Bed folds up to couch during the day!  The growth ruler came from our home and I knew it was something that had to come into the camper with us.  The boys love jumping up and seeing if they are growing big and tall.  We had the curtains custom-made (thanks to our super sweet old next door neighbor for the help!  she has mad sewing skills!) for the windows – originally the RV came with the metal blinds in those windows and it was so going over well with boys.  I also wanted something to make area completely dark for nap times, movies, etc.

We installed this amour for the boys clothes and it works great!  They each have their own side.  The storage shelves came with the RV and I use them as bookcases.  We love books in this family, and I loved having a built-in spot for them!

Boys half bath in the back!  We love this feature so we can keep kids in the kid zone and have some of our own space!

This our home, come visit!

XO,

j

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Living in an RV with toddlers

What is life like in an RV with toddlers?  Not really a whole lot different from life in a house with toddlers.

You still have no sense of privacy or alone time.  All of my bathroom breaks are accompanied with at least one child at my feet or sticking his fingers or toys under the door.  I can’t cook dinner without someone being underfoot and stuff it getting knocked off the counter.  Life with toddlers is messy.  A beautiful mess.  RV, house, apartment – they don’t care.  At the end of the night if your toddler/baby is safe, fed, and clean they are happy; their needs are being met.  They are adaptable to the environments you put them in.  They watch for cues from -YOU- about how to act.  My kids don’t know that living in an RV is different or may be viewed as ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ by some.  Corbin will gladly tell anybody that will listen about how awesome his loft is or how he has the most amazing pile of dirt right outside his front door to play in with his tractors.  He is proud of who he is and where he lives.  Bubba?  That boy is happy in every situation and does not know a stranger.  He is still so young that he does not even remember days before the RV life.  Living in an RV has really helped to teach me about what is important to my kids.  I have learned that from the abundant amount of toys we still have they only care about a handful of them.  I have learned that they love quality time spent with them more than anything – whether it is going on a bike ride together or just watching them play in the dirt – they love my presence.

How did I prepare for the change?

I really didn’t.  I don’t know if this is something you can prepare for.  It is just something you have to do and learn along the way.  And you have to pray.  A lot.  Of course we talked to our kids as we were packing up the house and explained to them what we were doing and why.  I don’t know exactly what their little minds processed, but they did not seem to traumatized or phased by the move.  We let them both help ‘pack’ and feel like a part of the change.  I tried to keep as much normal for them as possible.  I kept their same bedding from home.  We brought all 3784327 of our stuffed animal friends (because they hit high importance in their world, weigh nothing, and take up no space because they are hidden in Corbin’s loft).  I brought their favorite moo cow picture and hung it in the ‘playroom.’  I brought our game room area rug from the house and put it in the toy-hauler area.  I really thinking that helped keep it normal for them.

photo credit: Bob Dabbelt with TenFive Studios. This is the playroom AND doubles as Wyatt’s bedroom.
Where do your kids sleep in an RV?

Sleeping arrangements actually work like dream for us!  See what I did there – dreamy arrangements haha!  Seriously, my kids sleep fantastic – maybe even better than at home AND Bubba is back to napping everyday (say what?!) – he had kicked that to the curb before moving out of the house, SO this is a HUGE WIN in momma’s book!  So originally the set up back here has another bench and a folding table to create a booth style table.  We removed one bench and replaced it with this AMAZING kids table and chairs (best purchase ever). The other bench as you can see stays in bench form during waking hours and for nap/bedtime we simply roll it down make the bed and viola-Wyatt has a bed!  He loves it.  He has NO trouble sleeping in it and from the nights I have slept with him it really is pretty comfortable.  He was already climbing out of his crib at home prior to the move so the transition from crib to this was easy peasy for him!

photo credit: Bob Dabbelt. Bench seat folded into bed!

Corbin has his own digs in the loft area.  This kid LOVES his loft {so does Wyatt.  We have tried to let them both sleep up there, but it turns into a toddler style all night frat party}.  You can see in the previous picture the ladder hanging – this is the loft access.  We hang it up each morning to prevent doorway blocking and take it down at bedtime.  I was nervous for Corbin to be in the loft initially because of the entrance and him potentially falling out.  This however is never a problem.  It is an ‘L’ shaped loft and he LOVES to sleep in the cave.  I usually I have to crawl up there and dig thru stuffed animals and tractors to find him 😉

photo credit: bob Dabbelt. Corbin perched in his loft and Wyatt digging in the snack bin #shocker
photo credit: Bob Dabbelt. The loft stretches around and the right behind the boys and makes a little cave. That is their favorite spot!
What are some of my ‘must haves’ for camping/full-time RV life with toddlers/babies?

This Phil&Teds highchair earned a 100% in my book.  Easy to clean, compact, lightweight, and attractive.  I cannot recommend this high chair anymore to someone looking for one to have in their RV/camping world – or at home for that matter!  We LOVE it!  We kept is short – meaning we did not add tall leg extenders on it.  We used the toddler chair height and kept tray on it.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Each boy has one plate, one bowl, one water bottle, and one sippy cup.  I won’t lie.  The search for missing cups has drove me near this end of insane, but we are really on stressing teaching the boys to put stuff in the sink to be washed when they are done and how to keep track of their water bottles.  It’s a learning curve we are all still learning, but I can’t rationalize taking up more space on cups.  We use these and are really happy with them all!  I am looking to ditch the sippy cups and will let you know what my lidded kid safe plan B is once I find a good replacement!

You need an organization system!!!!  We installed an amour/dresser in the toy hauler area for the boys clothes.  They each have half.  I used these collapsible box bins to hold their piggy banks (yes, those made the cut!  Never to early to teach your kids how to save!) and pajamas.  These bottom bins hold underwear and socks.  It is a great system for us and really easy for the kids to know where their stuff is and access it.

photo credit: Bob Dabbelt with TenFivestudios. The amour was added by us and that is where I store the bins mentioned above. The two shelves came mounted with the RV and I use it for cookbook/kid book storage.

As far as toys go, I had originally planned out a toy rotation system.  I was going to trade out bins every couple of weeks for new ones.  I thought this would help keep their toys exciting and fresh to play with!  Reality – that never happened.  Once we were living the daily life I realized they did NOT need 6 bins worth of toys rotated out.  I condensed it down to 2 bins – one for each boy.  We used these bins from home depot and I love them.  They are sturdy and hold up against the rough housing my boys put them through.

Bath time in an RV has been a bit of challenge.  We are all adjusting (momma misses her bathtub :)).  It isn’t {bad} it is just different.  The boys don’t have a tub anymore and showers every night were not our normal at home but are (obviously) our new normal here!  For the sake of storage each boy has one towel.  I originally brought alligator bath toys from home, but ended up tossing them a few weeks in because there is just no space.  I do have foam alphabet letters and numbers that I pull out occasionally for them to play with, but bath time is usually short and sweet around here.  I love this brand of hooded towels from target.

photo credit: Bob Dabbelt with TenFIve Studios. This is the boys half bath located in the toy hauler area of the RV

I have talked about this stroller before, but I am obsessed.  The boys and I go running every morning and it just cant be beat.  It takes up room, but it is worth every square foot.  I store this baby in my car to keep it out of the elements and prevent mildew from growing on it.  If you take the wheels of it, it folds up very compact.  It is very quick to reassemble as well.  I use the belly bar feature on it and the boys and I love it!  I also have this stroller for my single kid days and I love it just as much.  I also store this in my car as well.  I know my car storage is going to need to a blog post of its own after reading this.  HA.  Anyways, the performance of these strollers far outweighs their cost.  Both of them do great when I am out of the trails with them!

My final ‘must have’ outdoor/camping item is this infant/toddler bike seat.  I think my husband may have rolled his eyes and asked me if this was necessary when he saw it in our amazon cart.  My answer was 100% we do (hoping when it arrived it was all i had it talked up to be).  It has surpassed every expectation I had.  I feel so sturdy with Wyatt and HE loves the front seat view and little steering wheel.  He literally thinks he’s driving the bike – haha! If you are bike people {with kids}, this is worth every penny.

 

we have the red one.
photo credit: Bob Dabbelt with TenFIve Studios. ibert seat in action. We LOVE bike rides and this seat makes it all possible – even trail rides!

Is there anything y’all want to know about more in-depth regarding kids and camping and full-time RV life?  Let me know I will be happy to update this post!  I will doing a room tour and discuss sleeping arrangements etc SOON!

*this post contains affiliate links*

XO,

j

Enough

“Gratitude makes what we have enough”

I found this plaque before we started this adventure.  Well, before we started living this life.  This motto, I thought, this is a good life motto.  I assumed that it would come easy.  We are living in a tiny space, so I will be grateful and it will be enough.  I was wrong.  I am grateful and it is enough.  But human nature has made it a hard transition.  I am guilty. I have still bought and added things to my life.  The other day at the store I bought two new pairs of shoes.  Why?  I don’t really know.  I returned them both.  This transition has been just that – a transition.  A pruning process.  We are growing and changing because of it.  I am learning to find a balance of what is really important, what I really want out of life.  What really brings me happiness?  I thought I went thru this process already as I packed up the house.  I literally examined everything I owned and tried to determine if it brought me happiness or not.  But the truth is, it is not the things that have brought me happiness in this journey.  It has been sitting by the fire with my husband long after the kids have gone to bed and roasting marshmallows and giggling.  It has been watching my baby learn overnight how to do amazing things because he it outside learning and playing ALL day long.  It has been watching my big boy gain a sense of responsibility as he makes the rounds with daddy every day.

Many of our ‘neighbors’ during the week are retired couples here relaxing for the week/weekend.  I cannot even count how many strangers have come up to Andrew or I and told us how much happiness watching our boys play has brought them.  Each time a specific mishap that they witnessed is what brought them the most joy…..how cute Wyatt looked throwing a tantrum or giving me his side eye…..how awesome Corbin is on his bike {and how he just takes off so fast}….how funny it is to watch their “fights.”  Their highlights were my daily frustrations and it was {is} exactly what I need to hear during this phase of motherhood. We had one lady paint us a picture of the boys chasing bubbles.  It was the sweetest gesture and something we will treasure for a lifetime.

My joy is nothing that I imagined this road would bring – it is 1000 times better.  I am growing as person.  I am learning to trust more and let go.  I don’t know what 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years looks like down the road.  The glorious thing?  I don’t have to!  I am really trying to focus on living in the moment and not worrying so much about the future.  It will unfold how God intends it, and I plan on enjoying the process (and the 1293478 bugs that have become a part of my daily life :))

What brings you the greatest joy in life?

xo,

j