Living in a small space is challenging to say the least. I have always lived in the country and had lots of space for lots of stuff! Oh did I have stuff! Lol! What do you do with all that stuff?
When I left my marriage I had a 4 bedroom, 2 story house with a full basement and a huge outbuilding! Let’s not forget about the carport you could never get a car into on over a acre of land. What was I going to do with all this stuff??? When I left there I downsized to a 2 bedroom, ranch style home with no basement and a kickass garage that I did put a car (and my 69 econoline) in. Still on a acre of land. When I decided to move to van size I looked around and again had to wonder what was I going to do with all this stuff? Lol! All the sentimental items from my Mom and Dad who had passed years before. All my books!!! Oh yes I am a book nerd or was!! I also had a collection of Archie comics dating back to when I was a kid. All the furniture, bedding, towels, and knickknacks. You do not even realize how much stuff you have in a kitchen that is “essential ” or you thought it was, until you pull Everything out! What to do with it and what do I keep?
The first thing I did was to call my kids. I told them to choose whatever they wanted. All the stuff from my parents went to my kids. They went through my books and other household items that they thought they could use. Next I called my friends. I had them do the same thing. I sold a few items and hauled away to goodwill a few car loads. My Archie comics I put into goody bags for a Custom Van and Truck Show that I help organize. There are so many of my friends that attend. It was like giving a small piece of me to them!
Was it hard letting that all go? Yes it was! Not just because of the sentimental stuff but I was also letting go of a concept. A image that was supposed to be. You know..you get a job, buy a house and retire. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be. Well maybe that was what I was taught and some in society still believe but I am a little bit of an adventurer and out of the box thinker so I could grasp living in a van. At first it was not natural. It was an adjustment. I am pretty adaptable and really in this lifestyle you need to be so maybe for me once I got my mind around it I could relax and enjoy my new found freedom.
Living small means using 1 item for multiple purposes. If you follow me on Facebook you know Coffee is an Essential for me. Real coffee not instant. How was I going to live without my Kuerig??? I do not have a generator and there is no coffee pot in the world that will run off a 12V. There has to be a way. Luckily my daughter is a back country camper. She had the perfect solution. A fold up 1 cup filter holder that I can sit on top of my cup and filter the water through the coffee grounds. Perfect. It is small and folds away and easy to use.
Do you ever notice that you have a coffee machine and a Tea kettle?? How many pots and pans you have? Moving down to van size requires a pick of a favorite. It becomes a one of. By that I mean you only have 1. It is just me so I only needed a small pot and a small frying pan. I made sure the pot had a spout so I could pour the water into my coffee filter reducing my need for a kettle. In one fell swoop I got rid of 3 cupboards worth of kitchen ware. Lol!
For the first time in my life I do not have a junk drawer! Yup you heard right. I have 1 drawer!! The one thing I learned about living small is you need to be somewhat organized. Now I say somewhat because that is not my most winning trait! There is no room for a utensil tray. In utensils I do have 2 of a spoon and knife and fork. I am not sure why! Lol! I also carry plastic just in case. My drawer also hold my batteries and other small items I use on a regular basis. It’s funny the things you keep. I was at a friends and they did not have a poke server. I happened to have one! Lol! Why would I have a pie server in my van? I do not think I am serving pie anytime soon! Lmao!! I have since given that away but for some reason still have an attachment to the potato peeler. I am not peeling any potatoes either!! Lol!
One of the sentimental things I did keep was a small vase that was my Moms. When Lilac season comes I secure the vase in the top rails and fill it with lilacs. The smell and the memory makes me smile!
Clothes was another item or items. Now I am not a person that ever had closets full of clothes. But I still had way more then would fit in the van. I also live in all 4 seasons so that requires some diversity in my clothing choices. I will admit that I do keep some summer stuff in the other van and after winter put my heavy winter coats at my daughters. Winter stuff is bulky! I have no room for bulky! Lol! Since I bounce back and forth in the summer between vans it makes sense to leave some stuff in there. I basically have 2 cupboards above my bed. I am not a big let’s go play in the snow person so I only have a couple of sweatshirts for when my friends make me stand outside in the cold by a fire because they think that’s fun! Hahaha! The things I do for my friends! Everything in my wardrobe is limited. I have a rule that if 1 thing goes in another has to leave. I have never been a big shopping person so for me not shopping and bringing home little things is not out of the norm. Still I have to do cleanouts now and then because no matter how hard I try I gather stuff!! Lol!
Shoes and foot attire are another thing it is only a one of. Except for my purple shoes I always have a back up pair. 😁 Winter boots are again bulky. The boots I have, since I am not a winter Walker can also be worn for mud season and move to the back storage after winter. 1 item. Multiple uses!!
A little organization helps. Everything has its place. You also have to remember that everything moves. It gets pretty bouncy back there. Remember being on the back of a school bus? Not quite as bad but you get the idea. You do not want anything flying at you as you put on your brakes!! The blue gripper material I have in all my drawers and cupboards. I try not to buy glass but there are some things that just taste better on or in glass. I like my eggs on a glass plate! I do not know why, maybe because I like them dippable. Lol! I have always enjoyed my coffee in a glass mug. If I am not on the run then I use that. Mmmmmm coffee!! I am having one as I write this in a glass mug!! I keep both my pieces of glassware secure because broken glass flying around is even more scary!
I have some wonderful friends who will pick me up little knickknacks they see for me. Oh how I so appreciate the thought!! But I cannot accept. There is just no room. After 4 years I think they got it! Lol!
Living little is about making some sacrifices on what you want and what you need. Good organizational skills on using the space you have available and learning the skill of multi-use items.
I hope this blog has given you some insight into how I make Living Little work!
See you on my next Chipmunk Adventure!!