Living Small (rules for living full time in a motorhome)
There are many definitions of Living Large. Some may say that living large is to live an extravagant, wealthy lifestyle with a very big house, big car, and a very big television.
For Example : “Louie was living large after winning the lotto”
Diane and I have a different attitude.
We are living small...”Less House, More Life” is our motto. That was in our minds when we sold our Brick and Stick house a couple of months ago and moved full time into our forty foot motorcoach.
It wasn't easy. We put our house on the market back in October for the first time. Unfortunately that experience became a nightmare….like something out of a bad movie. Not as bad as the Burbs or House of Sand and Fog but still terrible. We had the buyers from Hell after us. I used the word buyers loosely, because that is not what they turned out to be, but more of that later.
We finally closed on the sale of our place at the end of April, after living in the coach since Christmas week. In other words we have been full timers for just about five months now. We have no regrets about our decision. We have had to learn a lot of things in order to make the transition sane and not kill each other.
We have some rules and hints for living full time in a coach.
Rule 1. If you buy something, it has to replace something. (if something new comes in...something old goes out!)
I recently bought a pair of Sketcher GoMat shoes...comfortable as can be. Diane turned me on to these things. In order to get a new pair, I had to give up an old pair of shoes stored in my half of our small closet. I agonized over which pair of sneakers would be tossed in the trash or donated. I am still thinking about it so I hid a possible candidate for disposal in a basement storage compartment…
Rule 2. Never flush when someone is in the shower (be prepared to apologize when someone screams bloody murder!)
This rule is self explanatory. Not only can you not flush, you can't rinse the dirty dishes. Coach water pressure just can't handle it and the person trying to get wet can't either.
Rule 3. Don't put it down, put it away! This rule is a paraphrase of the old adage: “A place for everything and everything has its place.”
If you think that dropping your underwear on the floor of a thirteen by thirteen foot bedroom causes an adverse reaction, just toss your boxer briefs on a bedroom floor that is less than half of that size and see what happens. If I toss my socks on the floor Teddy steals them. Just put things away when you are done with them, clutter is a peace killer when you live in a motorhome. Plan where you put things too (everything has its place!). Tools can hide in a small crowded place much easier than in an open big one. I spent thirty minutes yesterday looking for my cordless driver/drill. I didn't put it back in its bag when I finished and I had to look though every bay until I found it in the last one I looked in. All the time I was hunting for it, there was a lady up in the coach tapping her foot and holding a shade.
Hint: store your dirty clothes bag or hamper in the shower when not needed.
Rule 4. Don't wait to empty the gray tank until someone is in the shower (or starting the washer)
Yuck...that's what you get, actually the person in the shower gets the yuck, if you break this rule. You get another loud exclamation, a bit like a human alarm. You will have to make a mad dash outside to your wet bay to pull the lever and it doesn't matter what the weather is or what you are wearing (or not wearing). Its an emergency and you best take care of it NOW!
Hint: Check those tank indicator lights..often.
Rule 5. Get used to shopping for groceries and other needed items a bit more often.
You can't buy in bulk...there is no place to store 40 rolls of toilet paper no matter how cheap the price per is, because you bought them all in the same giant package. The same can can be said for peanuts, cans of Progresso Soup or boxes of Fig Newtons. When you are a fulltimer with a ten cubic foot fridge and a small pantry, a lot of trips to Wal-Mart is in your future...as I said, just get used to it.
Hint: buy at least two half gallons of ice cream...a bowl of Death by Chocolate goes a long way as an offering after you screwed up rule number 4.
Rule 6. Respect each others space.
Diane gets up early in the morning, usually six-thirty, to sit in the living area by herself. This is her private time to read her Bible and pray. She doesn't need or want me to come loudly into the room and start ranting about something I read on Facebook or Foxnews.com. It is best I just grab a chair in our bedroom and listen to music or read myself. The same thing at night as well, If Diane is trying to sleep I may be streaming Frasier on my tablet..but I am doing it privately.
Hint: get yourself some good Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.
Rule 7. If you miss the things you had when you had a house remember you no longer have a place for any of that stuff so forget it!
Less house (and things to look after), More Life.
Collect memories instead of items. Digital pictures don't take up much space so collect a few of those a well.
The stuff you sold or gave away is gone, the best you can hope for is that the person or persons who have that thing or things (ie Dick Francis paperback collection..all 32 books) you used to love are now enjoying it as much as you did.
Hint: buy a Kindle (I love my Kindle Paperwhite): You can always buy your books back, and they won't take up any space! Just don't read them out loud for a couple of reasons.
Rule 8. Share the responsibilities…
This includes washing the dishes, cooking, vacuuming, grooming the Bear. How about taking the dog out at ten o'clock for some last minute business. Do it yourself without being asked and earn some brownie points.
Laundry, I don't touch the laundry, I do carry the clothes and stow my own socks (I have to do that fast or Teddy steals them) and underwear away.
Hint: Shark makes a great vacuum, as good as a Dyson in my opinion.
Rule 9. Make plans together.
Decide as a team where you are going to travel to or stay. Don't make plans to change your coach (or your lot if you have one) and forget the other person….one person may not like Calla lillies that die after two weeks or a too large picture for the wall of the coach. The other person may have more sense or in some cases better taste than you! Its just more fun if you do things together, like design and install new shades, remodel a flowerbed or two, purchase new items for the coach. Planning together can keep someone from making a big bad decision on their own. We know a full time couple, the husband went to visit a Motorhome dealer to buy a light bulb for his Bounder Motorhome. He forget to buy the bulb and came home with a brand new Winnebago Journey. The wife was not happy!
Hint: upgrading ones coach including shades, light fixtures, and other things, is a lot cheaper than trading for a new one.
Rule 10: Get out of the Coach!
Its a small space even when the coach is long with multiple slideouts...so go somewhere fun, take in an event somewhere, take a hike, fly a kite, go play shuffleboard or something with each other or with friends. Diane and I recently went to Greek Fest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina with our friends Bob and Wanda. It was a beautiful day, with great weather. The food at the festival was excellent and so were the people. The day put a great big smile on both our faces.
The bottom line is that owing a motorhome will greatly improve ones life (especially when retired and living in it full-time) if you let it. However you do have to work at it a bit.
Remember: Less House More Life!