What’s it really like living in an RV?

It’s the BEST thing EVER!

There are A LOT of changes we had to get used to when we went from living in an S&B {Stick and Brick, Brick and Mortar, etc}.  Going from an extremely huge pantry to basically having the microwave being our pantry, and a few storage bags.  Or there’s the change from two full bathrooms to a smaller than an outhouse toilet area; that includes the sink  and cupboards!  And lastly but certainly not the least significant is no bedroom/s for the girls.  That was a big adjustment.  Not for them but for a bedtime routine.  It’s as if the roles have reversed and instead of sending the girls to their room for bed, Steve and I have to send ourselves to our bedroom.  Ha!

I’ll go over the most significant things that really go into what it’s like compared to a S&B.  {For the sake of journaling my thoughts, it took me two months, almost to the day, for our RV to feel like home.  I think it was about the same for Steve.  We call it our home because it is our home.  Just because it moves doesn’t make it any less our home.  We have had  some of the best memories of our lives in our home.  In talking with other full-timers they feel the same way.  So if you are wondering what to call your friends’ RV if they live in it, just call it their Home}.

These are in no particular order, and definitely not ordered in importance factor.

1- Storage- there is none.  Ok that’s not true, but it will vary greatly on what RV you get.  Ours thankfully has quite a bit of storage underneath, and a fair amount inside.  That was one of our most important must haves when we were looking for our new home.  We homeschool, and with two adults who are sentimental, we definitely needed storage.  In the beginning we did take WAY too much.  Because we were so close to our storage unit we did end up taking a lot of trips to it.  You learn really fast, I’d say in two months or less, what you do need and what you don’t.  I asked so many people what to take and what to leave.  The answer was pretty much the same from everyone who had full timed.  You’ll find out soon enough.  So here’s my advice for anyone who’s going to full-time: You definitely want super glue, band-aids, sunblock, and a sweater/jacket for everyone.  Other musts for us are hiking shoes and Chacos, an Instant Pot, a skillet, a Berkey water filter {unless you have one underneath the sink}, an entry mat, a huge mat for your porch area, hydration backpacks, books, and a camera.  I think that’s good.

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{This is a picture of the fun you have when you realize you don’t need half the things in the storage underneath.  If you don’t use it everyday, chances are you don’t need it!}

2- WiFi- You want a grandfathered JetPack.  Trust me.  You do.  It took me two and a half months to figure out our internet and what will work for us.  A JetPack is secure, it can hold up to 15 devices at a time, you can have guests on it with their own temporary password, and it has worked everywhere we’ve gone, some places better than others.  This is a must for us, and is something I had no reason to look into when we were in a S&B.  It allows us to be able to work from anywhere on the internet.  And you can take it with you around the world.

3- A Thousand Trails membership- As full timers this is a no brainer.  We can stay at any Thousand Trails Resort for free.  For our particular membership we have no black out dates and we can stay for 21 days and go to another one.  You can do this year round.  The membership is a good chunk of change upfront, but our yearly fees are only $550.  If you are in the market for one let me know and I will get you our brokers number.  They were super helpful.

4- Bedrooms- After two and a half months of living in our RV I finally bought a room divider with a divider blackout curtain.  At least then I can say, “Go to your room!”  It is definitely interesting when you’re trying to separate your kids and you can’t send one of them to the back room because it’s too hot back there.  You kind of have to learn to deal with each other’s craziness.  Yes we get on each others nerves still but I would honestly say our daughters have become closer friends because they play so much more together now.  As for bedtimes, I’m hoping that the room divider will play a big part in helping the girls to get to bed at a decent hour.  The only thing that has helped so far is waking the girls up at 7 AM no matter what.  That may not seem like a big deal to you but to us that’s huge!

5- Meal Time- There is absolutely no counter space.  I thought I had no counter space in our house.  Ha!  In RV’s they have parts of the counter top that cover up the stove and the kitchen sink area.  Because there is so little amount, I use one of the covers for one half of the kitchen sink so it’s always covered.  So any dirty dishes go in one sink only.  We only use one burner on the stove so one part of the cover stays on it as well all the time.  As for any dishes, we have four of everything basically.  All the plates, bowls, and silverware stay in one drawer.  All the cups we own are in use so none stay in the cupboards or drawers.  The oven has also turned into cupboard areas, along with the microwave turning into a pantry.  This all sounds hilarious to me but in reality it’s not that bad.  It’s actually really nice not having to wash 20,000 cups everyday.  Whenever we go back into a S&B I’m determined to not go back to millions of dishes.  Dirty dishes are overrated.

As I would talk with more and more full timers I found out that almost none of them use their oven inside.  And since we don’t use the microwave we have found even more efficient, less time-consuming, ways to cook meals.  Whether we use our Instant Pot, the skillet, the egg mcmuffin maker, or our soon to be Mini Traeger pellet grill, we make things work.  We have found Jar Meals to be our most efficient, delicious meals ever.  We’ve made dry, just add water types, and canned already cooked meals, just need to warm up type.  We LOVE both, and our daughters eat them happily.  I promise I’m really going to post the recipes, soon!

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{This is what our dashboard usually looks like.  The dolly’s get the best seat in the house!}

6-  Packing up/Setting up- Compared to packing up for a week, packing up the RV to move it is A LOT easier.  Isn’t that strange?  It’s easier to move a home then fill a suitcase.  Ha!  I think it’s a lot less stressful because we don’t leave any of our stuff behind.  The ONLY thing we’ve left behind is a metal pin that goes to our car dolly.  Steve’s left it twice.  Thankfully they are only $5.

Packing up feels like a huge ordeal, even though it doesn’t take very long.  We usually do all the dishes and the cleaning the day before so that the day we move can run more smoothly.  There is a lot of stuff to put away, take off the counters, get off the floor, put in underneath storage before we can drive away.  If you think about it, try imagining your house going through a huge 360 degree turn.  What would shift, what would go flying? I had never thought about that. When you think you’ve battened down all the hatches you haven’t.  After having the dome that covers the lights over the dinner table fall twice on two different trips, I decided that we don’t need the blasted dome!  On the flip side though you would be surprised, as am I, at the things that don’t move.  Nothing in the bathroom moves.  Not even the electronic toothbrush that stands up on its stand.  And thankfully the dresser full of clothes doesn’t move either.  It took us THREE TIMES to get a closet item that actually worked!  Now I know- buy a dresser for the closet FIRST!

I have no idea what really goes on outside of the RV.  That’s not true either.  I just don’t ever do it.  I don’t know if there’s a certain order he does things in, but these are the things that he does for the tanks:  He fills up our fresh water tank, especially if we are going to be boon-docking for a couple of nights.  Then he will empty the black tank and then the grey tank.  After emptying them he makes sure both valves are in to close them both off.  Then he removes our water hose from the city water source, removes the tube that empties the tanks and stores them in two separate underneath storage doors.  The very last thing he does is unplug our RV.  Because the last several places we’ve been it’s been too hot to not have air conditioning on!  Once we’re unplugged we have to use the generator in order to run the AC units.  {A little side note- the generator will shut off when there is 1/4 tank of gas.  It does that so that we will have enough gas to get us to the next gas station}.  I believe that’s all the exciting stuff he takes care of outside of the RV.  Thankfully Steve does all the black and grey tank stuff.  And the car dolly and car stuff.  It takes him and I about the same amount of time to do our things- him outside, me inside.  The timing really does work out nicely.

After packing up all the stuff there are some items that HAVE to be done before you can take off.  The process goes kind of like this: Stuff is put away.  We turn the engine on and wait for the air pressure buzzing to stop.  Once it’s stopped we bring the back bedroom slide in.  Then the other two front slides are brought in.  Then Steve releases all the leveling jacks.  Once he’s done that he goes outside to make sure they are all up.  You can’t drive away with any of them down.  It would severely ruin your RV.  There is some oil you can spray on them so that they don’t get stuck, because that can happen.  Now that the jacks are all up he goes outside to hook the car dolly up to the RV.  Then the car goes on the dolly.  After the car tires are strapped on, Steve hops in the RV, turns the emergency break off and we can drive off into the sunset!  Easier said then done!

Setting up goes pretty fast too but we usually end up finishing the next day.  Most of the time it feels like we get to our destination when it’s dark out.  I’m just not that concerned with rolling out the carpet when it’s past my bedtime!  When we’re not staying for very long, longer then 3 days, we won’t set up any of our outside stuff.  We have one of those huge porch mats that goes nicely under our awning, but we won’t put it out if we’re not spending much time at our spot.  Less time = less set up!

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{This is a picture of our first time boon-docking.  Nothing is hooked up so this is why you fill up your fresh water tank before you leave a campground.  Otherwise you’re hosed.}

Because packing up and setting up takes the most time out of our day, it IS our routine for the day.  Those are our days off from our regular daily routine that consists of homeschooling and field trips.  What our routine looks like coming up next!

 

 

 

 

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