Why In The World Would You Want To Live Full-Time In An RV?
One question we’re asked often is why would we want to live full-time in an RV, in approximately 220 sq ft. The real answer is — we’re not sure — although there is a story behind the decision and a glimpse into the journey.
We began minimalism over 6 1/2 years ago due to overwhelming stress. After blending families and having 12 kids at home, we realized I was “saving things for when the kids move out” and refinishing furniture I didn’t resell — and we just had too much stuff for the size of the home. So much so, neither of us knew HOW to clean and organize or feel good in our own space. We disliked being in our own home and dreaded coming home after work to attempt putting back what was supposed to be living space but looked more like the aftermath of a tornado. The crazy thing is I’m incredibly organized and dislike anything that brings stress, so I knew to reduce the stress, organization wasn’t what we needed. It was time to dig deeper.
A google rabbit hole on “how to organize my home” and another that went something like “my home is stressing me out” led me down a path of what minimalism is. It was a new world and I was beyond intrigued. It took 3-months of going through every item in our home over and over again until we had released over 80% of what we owned. It takes time to release the sentiment and make a concrete decision to let some things go, and we gave ourselves the space and time necessary to make what — at the time — seemed like hard choices. 80% reduction could make you believe we had an empty house, however, what we ended with felt open, welcoming, and comfortable.
Over the past 6 ½ + years, we’ve continued to downsize the size of our home and what we own. The home we’ve lived in the past 2 1/2 years is 1000 sq ft — down from 2300 a couple of years ago — and it’s never stopped feeling great to streamline, pare down, and love what we own.
So why an RV? It became a dream of mine when I realized I could have my home WITH me instead of being in a position where I was asked to move. We’ve rented intentionally due to the volume of kids, and have been in 4 houses in 7 years. Being asked to move is nerve-wracking, stressful, and unsettling. I moved quite a bit growing up, so the idea of “putting down roots” is appealing, and having those roots on wheels sparked my gypsy soul.
When the pandemic hit, there was so much uncertainty, the idea of having something that couldn’t be taken from us held even more appeal. Knowing we could move simply by turning our home on and backing it out, was not only calming, but it also allowed us to feel a lot of FREEDOM. Freedom is one of my top values.
Ideally, we would probably own a small home and park our RV, however, housing prices have continued to rise over the past few years, making it ludicrous to buy and pay the “going rate”, and renting a house has also gone up tremendously. Now that we are closer to being ready to buy, the market is less than ideal. This was one more reason the RV seemed to be a good choice. A place to stay while the housing market calms down and we can buy.
Realizing the money we’d save by living in an RV made it seem like a dream — to be able to save on top of all the other reasons RV life is appealing to us. We’ve eliminated our debt and gotten our living expenses as low as possible, and the only variable we could change is how much we spend on rent or a mortgage. Renting a space for the RV is almost 1/4 the cost of renting a house! Although finances weren’t part of the original goal of downsizing, it was absolutely a draw when we crunched the numbers.
We don’t have a romantic notion of living full-time in an RV, and we know the lifestyle has its own set of unique challenges. We’ve agreed to give it 6–12 months, and in order to ease into the process of paring down to that level, we decided renting a storage unit would allow us to transition and hang on simultaneously. “Life is a journey, enjoy the ride”. Our ride just happens to be our home as well.