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3 Tips for Living in a Small Space

One of my biggest fears before moving into an RV was whether or not our stuff would take over our space. Even in our 4 bedroom, 2 bath house it seemed tough at times to keep things out of the way. However, I’ve learned

It’s human nature to fill up the space we are in.

Many of our clothing drawers won’t shut they are so full. Pantries are Jenga’d with so many goods that stuff in the back expires before we realize its even there. How many of our garages can’t be used to park a car anymore?

Here’s a few tips that have helped us keep our stuff from taking over our space:

A place for everything and everything in its place. This old housekeeping saying definitely holds true in an RV or a small space. Every dish, shirt, toothbrush, or shoe, needs a place to call home. If something new is bought or brought into the house, right then is the time to gently tell it where it needs to go.

Once you’ve got a place for your keys, remotes, and incoming mail, stick to it. It’s much easier and enjoyable in the long run to put things away while it is in your hand.  If you are going to lay something down, why not lay it down where it goes? To me, it beats the alternative of finding it later (after looking for a while), having to pick it up, and then still having to lay it down where it goes.

Your stuff is going to it’s place at some point. Why not do it early so you can enjoy the open space?

Only keep what you use, not what you “could use”. This one has been a tough one for us in the past, but living in our motorhome has forced us to make more decisions when it comes to what we actually use.

The funny thing is, 99% of what we have reluctantly removed has not been missed one bit. If taking frequent trips to Goodwill freaks you out, designate a space (here’s that “a place for everything” coming into play) for things you “may” want to give away. If that pot, that toy, or that shirt lays there for a month or two without being missed one bit, maybe it’s time to put it in the car and get that donation write off.

Take a look at your closet. If there are clothes in there you haven’t worn in over a year, it’s time for them to go. One trick with clothes (which seem to be the king of this struggle), is to have all your hangers facing the same direction. As you wear clothes, turn the hanger around. After a few months, see what you haven’t touched by looking at the direction of the hangers. You may be amazed.

One hurdle when getting rid of stuff is the memories. What if that shirt brings back memories from a time in my life or that souvenir reminds me of somewhere I’ve been?

We’ve looked for creative ways to turn souvenirs and memorable items into something more portable. Physical pictures have been scanned into digital ones. T-shirts can be turned into a quilt. Videos and CDs have been ripped into digital copies that can be watched from any where at any time thanks to the cloud.

The beautiful part of this process is the end result. When we started we had a cluttered, stuffy, chaotic motorhome where we had to rush around cleaning if someone is coming over or clear off a spot if we want to sit something down.

We now have a clean, roomy (as roomy as it can be) home that can comfortably host 4-6 people. We can also quickly find what we need to find because it is where it needs to be and we don’t have to rush around like the place is on fire when someone tells us they are swinging by. Getting to this point has been tough, but it has been well worth it.

Plan grocery shopping a week at a time. All three of these tips have one thing in common: planning. This third one is no different.