by Morgan Rogue – When our family made the decision to live full time in an RV, we knew it was going to be tight. After all, we’ve lived in everything from very large houses to studio apartments so we knew how to deal with a variety of spaces. I didn’t think it would be a big deal.
At 34 feet, and even with slide outs, our RV is a much smaller space than a house, or even a studio apartment. Not only is there less storage space, but an RV also needs to be kept under a certain weight limit (every RV is different, refer to your RV manual) to keep gas mileage efficient, and the transmission working (again, each vehicle has a unique towing, or engine capacity).
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Add people and animals to the mix, and an RV can feel cramped rather quickly. With kids and lots of boondocking to save money, that cramped space also means difficulty in expending energy.
We definitely faced challenges at first. With two kids, two dogs and two adults, our 200-ish square foot RV was a lot more compact than we had ever imagined. Even with hacks and space-saving tips, there are still plenty of learning experiences along the way. But, hopefully, the following insights will make your introduction to long-term RVing more comfortable than ours.
5 Space-Saving RV Tips
1. Change the mindset
Step inside your new home (the RV), and spend some quality time together, spending the night if you can. To understand the true scope of space, let kids and pets run around, sit down, lay down, step into the shower, and sit at the dinette. Make a list of what appears most challenging, and start finding alternatives.
2. Get outside
Spending more time outdoors will ultimately make everyone happier. Since the RV is now home, and you’re most likely traveling to amazing new places, get out and explore. Set up a tarp or canopy, break out a folding table and enjoy meals outside. Go for a STEM hike, go fishing, start a nature craft, let the kids run around or ride their bikes.
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3. Make room for ‘me’ time
Everyone needs ‘me’ time, even kids. If kids don’t want to play by themselves, maybe one parent can spend some personal quality time with them. Work out a cohesive schedule so everyone gets the quality time they need for their personal health and wellbeing.
4. Create personal space
My daughters have individual cabinets for toys. My husband has a space for his tools. I have space for my outdoor supplies. Designating certain areas for specific people and items will help make the whole space feel more personal.
5. Match items to space
Part of handling small spaces is acquiring appropriate items. For instance, I ditched my big coffee maker for a french press. Consider downsizing or buying different appliances, utensils, dishes, clothes that are more appropriate for RV living, etc.
When we began to downsize, it was extremely difficult. Like most people, we were attached to our stuff. But the more we transitioned, we were relieved and happy with our minimalist lifestyle.
After a couple months, the extra stuff and space won’t be missed. When we spend time at a friends or relatives home, we enjoy the time, but we’re eager to get back to our RV. It may be small, but it’s our home.
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Morgan lives and travels full time in an RV with her husband, two daughters and two dogs. They travel the US sharing preparedness and outdoor knowledge. She is the owner and founder of Rogue Preparedness where she teaches emergency preparedness and survival skills.