On Wednesday, I put together a list of the top 5 downers of our small living, but it’s not all about the downsides. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits to this lifestyle. Here is a list of the top 5 bonuses to living in a small space.
1. Easy cleaning:
Who out there would love to reduce the time it takes to clean their house? (I’m assuming everyone is nodding yes). Well, if you reduce the size of your home, you have less space that needs cleaning. As a result, you can add a lot of time to your day. This benefit has been huge!
I used to spend so much of my time cleaning when we lived in a “sticks and bricks” house. Before we had kids, we would spend a whole day of our weekend just cleaning and doing yard maintenance. Once kids came along, I decided to stay home. You would think that would allow me to just spread all that cleaning over the week, but not so fast. Kids make huge messes! So, keeping a clean house just got 100 times harder.
Before we hit the road, I would spend all day on Friday and much of the day on Thursday just getting the house clean before the weekend. And that was besides the daily cleanup of disaster after disaster. I figured that we could all spend more quality time together as a family (which we did), but it was exhausting.
Now that we are living smaller, cleaning is taking much less time. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of cleaning to do. We do have 3 kids after all! What we have found is that the small space gets messy quicker, but it’s also so much quicker to clean. Imagine having all your floors moped and vacuumed in less than 15 minutes.
2. Less clutter:
You might think that with a smaller living space, clutter would be worse since you have less room to put all your stuff. Well, when you’re living in an RV, you can only carry so much weight, so you can’t just fill it up with stuff. Instead, you just need less stuff. After all, even organized clutter is still clutter.
We had always tried to stay a bit lighter on stuff, but when we were getting ready to hit the road, we started to minimalize a lot more. How much stuff did we really need anyway? What we realized is not that much. As we sorted through all our belongings, we asked whether we are really going to use something over the next year. If not, it was gone. We didn’t even get a storage unit.
What we have found after living in a smaller space is that we are not consumed by our stuff anymore. This time of year is known for “spring cleaning”, but this isn’t even a worry for us. Since there is no room for clutter, there is no reason to sort through all the clutter. Less really is more!
3. Home is where you park it:
This slogan is fairly popular in the RV community, but that’s because it’s so true! The conventional idea of a home is the house that you buy – remember, it’s the American Dream. But we have found that a true home is wherever we park, as long as we’re together as a family.
We have always loved the idea of being able to live on the beach. There is just something so relaxing about life on the beach. Well, in the past, we would take a vacation to the beach which didn’t always feel like a vacation. You only have a few days to do all these fun things at your destination that you barely even enjoy your time at the beach. For the past couple months, we’ve been able to live that beach life and actually enjoy it!
There is also so much more of this country (and the world for that matter) that we can look forward to exploring as a family. When you don’t have a big house and all that stuff holding you down, it’s much easier to imagine.
4. Save money:
This is one of the main reasons we decided to go tiny in the first place. Housing costs are usually the biggest part of any family’s budget by a large margin. We wondered if we could reduce our overall monthly living expenses, and as a result, save more money.
There is some debate out there in the RV community on whether or not you actually save money choosing to live in an RV. It really just depends. It can cost as much or even more than a regular house if you are moving around a lot. For example, campground and RV parks charge a lot more if you only stay a few days or a week at a time. Also, if you are driving around a lot, your fuel costs can really add up (gas mileage is not that great when you’re RVing). On the other hand, if you stay somewhere for a month at a time, the cost is much more reasonable. Boondocking (camping for free but living off your own water and power) is another way to save money.
So far, we have been able to save money (or spend less) by living this lifestyle. We usually prefer to stay in an RV park for a month or two at a time. This serves two benefits. First, we usually only spend between $500-650 a month to rent a spot with full utility hook ups. Second, we can relax and actually enjoy exploring the local area (like relaxing on the beach). On average, we figure we have been able to reduce our monthly expenses by around $2,000.
5. Quality Family Time:
This is the big one! We really wanted to spend more quality time together as a family. After all, your kids grow up so fast, why not take some time to enjoy it.
When we were living in a “sticks and bricks” house, we realized that at this age, the kids really just wanted to spend time with us. They didn’t spend time in their awesome rooms loaded with cool toys. No, they wanted to be doing whatever we’re doing.
We figured that if we reduced the size of their rooms, it wouldn’t matter that much, and we were correct. Since there is less of the cleaning and clutter to worry about, we can spend more quality time together as a family. As we roam around the country, we are able to see and experience cool new places together as a family.
I think the kids are getting so much more out of this way of life than in our suburban lifestyle, and it is truly the greatest benefit to this path we have chosen to explore.
What luxuries would you be willing to give up in order to simplify your life? Are there any benefits that you feel you are missing out on by living a more conventional lifestyle? If you are living smaller, what other bonuses have you found? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.