I thought that you would enjoy a guest post from my new friend Naomi over at American Family Now blog. Me and the hubby lived in a camper for almost a year before we moved into the Little House. It’s an unconventional way to live but you can make it work! Enjoy!
Six months ago my husband and I made a very unconventional decision and into a camper with our three children (soon to be four). If you had told me when we got married seven years ago that I would eventually be living in a camper I would have said you were nuts! My, how things change.
Everyone knows the economy is tough, some more than others. Among those who are experiencing the effects, carpenters are at the top. Who will spend money on a new house or renovation when they are struggling to pay the bills? Long story short, my carpenter-husband has been unemployed for nearly a year, and we are now foreclosing on our house.
And so, here we are, moved earlier than expected onto a piece of farmland, starting our homestead out of a 31’ bunkhouse camper. I suppose I could spend a great deal of time sharing about how we got to where we are and why, but I’ll let you read all about it on our blog, American Family Now, and stick to the subject Merissa asked me to share about: living in a small space.
Our living space indoors consists of 250 square feet. This includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a living/dining/kitchen area. Before you start to imagine us all cooped up with our belongings, you should know that, a) on sunny days we spend a great deal of time in the big outdoors, and b) we also own a 28’ camper that we use to store many of our belongings.
I’ve been doing some research on other blogs by people in similar situations and have discovered that there are many people out there who either desire to live in a smaller space or are being forced to live in a smaller space. Our decision to move was actually a combination of both these reasons, confirmed by our goal to cash-build an off-grid house on our land, approximately 850 square feet.
To go from detesting the idea of living in such a small space to embracing it has brought me through quite an amazing journey. In fact, the hardest part of moving for me was the emotional transition of letting go of preconceived ideas of the American Dream. Spending time thinking about it, imagining what it would be like, talking about it, and writing about it were all helpful to us in accepting and looking forward to this change of lifestyle. Once I realized this new venture was OK, and even good, I was able to take practical steps to make the move easier.
For those of you who are moving into a smaller space, here is the simplified version of how we managed to do it:
1. Use less of your current living space. Block of portions of your house and start blending other rooms together (kids in same room, dining and living areas combined, etc.)
2. Purge, deeply. If it isn’t especially precious or regularly useful, sell or give it away. I found it helpful to do this in stages. Granted, I had five months to prepare, but I actually went through my belongings several times, each time finding more things I was willing to let go of. For us, this was exciting and refreshing as we realized it how freeing it was to live with less stuff.
3. Once you have purged as much as you can, decide what you use on a daily basis and what you want to save for later. This will help you to figure out, for example, what you need in your kitchen cupboards and what kitchen supplies you can store in a shed.
4. When you move, experiment with what works; belongings, private space/time, cleaning methods, new schedules, etc. As with any move, learning to adapt to smaller surroundings takes time, and you need to allow yourselves time. It was about two months after our move before I started feeling like I was home and we were figuring out a new way of living, but it was a couple months after that before we really felt like we had organized our belongings and space the way they would work best for us.
If you have already moved into a smaller space, tell us, how did you adapt and embrace the change?
Thank you Merissa for giving me the opportunity to share part of our story! For the rest of our continuing journey, please visit and subscribe to our blog, American Family Now.