Transitions are never easy. Whether you’re moving for work or school, retiring from your 9-5 or any other type of life transition, it can be tough to adjust. When Adam and I made the decision to full-time RV, we knew it would be a transition and that there definitely would be an adjustment period. After all, we were going from a 3 bedroom home with 4 acres of land to a 5th wheel. However, it was a transition that we were happy to take on, as we realized that we barely used a lot of the space in our 3 bedroom home. It turned out that we had a perfect month of practice before having to adjust to living in a 5th wheel with an unexpected opportunity for Adam.
Why the transition?
In the middle of February, Adam got a call from an employer in Summerside, PEI offering him a temporary job that would cover the spring and part of the summer. Since our goal was to start our adventure in PEI, this was a great opportunity to jump on. It did mean, though, that we would have to move to PEI at the end of March before RV season technically begins. Leisure Days wouldn’t have our RV ready until May and Jellystone Park in Borden-Carleton didn’t open til May either. This meant that we had to find ourselves and our two little furballs a place to call home for a month or so.
After a quick internet search, we ended up finding a very cheap, pet-friendly, short-term rental in Summerside that would work for us. It was a small suite with a mini fridge, a full-size stove, a tiny counter top and a sink. There was approximately 238 square feet of living space. This short term rental was smaller than our 5th wheel. If you have ever watched the show Tiny House Builders on HGTV, you know that the average tiny home is between 100 to 400 square feet. In comparison, our 5th wheel isn’t much bigger than this room that we stayed in. Our 5th wheel is about 240 square feet of main living space, but it gets bigger when you factor in the three slides. We’re lucky enough to have a slide in the office/bunk room, the kitchen, and the bedroom. There is also the basement and storage on the side.
Yes, the room was tiny. Imagine shifting your life from a 3 bedroom home with 4 acres to a space with under 240 square feet. When we first opened the door and walked into the room, we both had the look of uncertainty on our faces. Internally, we both wondered how we were going to make this work for a month or more. After a night to get settled, we both calmed our doubts about the tiny room. It was only going to be a month and we figured it would be great practice for tiny home living before transitioning again into the 5th wheel in May. Plus, it had an indoor pool that was rarely used by other guests – so that was a bonus!
So, how did we easily transition from a 3 bedroom home to a small room with a bathroom and a tiny closet?
1. Efficient use of space. Because we were in a hotel suite, we couldn’t add anything to the walls for storage. This meant we had to be extra efficient with what space we did have available to us. For instance, the cat box was placed in the bathroom under the sink and the TV entertainment center was used as a makeshift clothes dresser. Tiny spaces mean you have to be flexible and creative. Don’t be afraid to try something different.
2. Storage containers. When we moved into the tiny room, we did so mostly with of our items in boxes. However, we also used a few Rubbermaid storage containers. After unpacking our belongings and storing the rest (Thanks, Amanda!) these containers became of use to us. One of the containers was turned into our temporary sock and underwear drawer. We also used a plastic bin that we stored on the window ledge near the door to keep the dog leash, gloves, dog poo bags and other items we frequently used while outside. Another plastic container was used to hold Tupperware. Small square containers that I got at HomeSense hold our spices over the stove. Without all of these containers, things would have been a lot more cluttered.
3. Shoe Holder. The bathroom in this hotel suite was likely built in the 1960s. There was nowhere to store toiletries. The solution here was purchasing a hanging shoe holder from the dollar store for $3. It worked perfectly to keep everything neat and tidy in the bathroom. We keep pretty well every bathroom related product in this shoe holder. It’s definitely something we plan on utilizing in our full-time RV bathroom.
4. Fresh Food. When was the last time you had to actually use a mini fridge? College? Maybe in the basement where it would store a few beers? Mini fridges aren’t very practical for everyday living – or at least we thought. With the mini fridge, we only had so much room for food. Originally, we thought this was going to be a big problem. One of our typical Sunday routines previously, was to cook up lunches/dinners for the week to save time during the work week. With a mini fridge, that simply wasn’t going to be possible. This meant that every morning we would head to the grocery store. Aside from having to make daily trips, this actually worked out really well. We quickly learned that in the morning a lot of produce and meat have 50% off stickers which saved us quite a bit of money. It also meant that next to no food would go to waste. What we bought, we cooked and ate that day. Nothing would be left in the fridge for weeks – or even months slowly turning into little moldy monsters while hiding behind a bottle of ketchup.
5. Get Outside. We walked a lot during our time in the tiny room. We went for walks as soon as we would wake up in the morning. Living in a small space works best if you include the outdoors as a part of your home.
This also makes living in a small space more bearable for the dog. Bella loved living in Summerside.
She was getting more exercise than when we had her at our big country home. For Paris, she had her own spots in the closet (photo) and in the big window that overlooked the parking lot. She really enjoyed eyeing up seagulls and crows when she wasn’t sleeping away most of the day.
Overall, living in the hotel suite was great training for living in our full-time RV. In fact, it’s probably been less overall pressure because we don’t have to fix anything if it breaks! It has made moving into the RV a breeze. I think the main lesson we took from living in a small space, was the need to have a grocery store nearby. We eat mainly fresh produce and meat, and with minimal space for storage, having a store nearby is essential. The other habits we learned while living in the tiny space have been useful as well. We are still spending plenty of time outdoors and efficiently utilize what space we have available to us. No doubt, we’ll continue to learn how to adjust to the space in our full-time RV. We’ve seen plenty of great ideas that other RVers have shared and if we take advantage of them or come up with our own, we’ll definitely share them with you.
What is the smallest space you have lived in? What tips do you have for living in a small space? What products have you/do you use for storage that have been helpful?
Wanna read more articles like this, stay up-to-date with our journey, and even win some prizes? Sign up for our newsletter at the top of the page.
*Disclaimer. Full Time Canada is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. If you purchase something from Amazon, it helps us fund our journey – so thanks, we appreciate it!