Living in an RV with just 420 sq. ft. of space has worked out really well for our family since we hit the road back in May 2017, but it does have some downsides. Shocker right? Here is a list of my top 5 downers about living in a small space (so far).
1. One Bathroom:
Yes, I repeat, we only have 1 bathroom. It is crazy to think that most American households have 2-3 bathrooms – often times even more. I was very skeptical myself as to how can we manage as a family of 5. Well actually, there are just 4 of us who really use it since little man is still in diapers. But still, how would we manage with just 1 bathroom.
I figured we could do it since both of my parents grew up in large families with just 1 bathroom, and if they could do it, then so could we. It was a little daunting at first, but it actually hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. After a while, you just start to learn everyone’s routine and it becomes pretty normal.
Don’t get me wrong, it does get a little cramped. Especially having 3 small kids that all want to be in the tiny bathroom at the same time. When we’re getting ready in the morning or during our nighttime routine it can fell very cramped. Although, I do remember having a large bathroom with 3 kids in our “brick” house and somehow that felt small too. I’d definitely opt for an RV with 2 bathrooms if we had teenagers – there’s no doubt about it!
2. Washer & Dryer:
I hesitated about putting this on the list since it’s not really a “downer” in my eyes anymore. My husband happily took over the laundry duties. Basically, I told him we needed a washer/dryer combo machine in our RV. He said we didn’t have room for it (which actually at the time was probably true) but I assured him we could make room for it since we do so much laundry. Needless to say, still no washer and dryer.
If you’ve ever been a parent of young children, you know how much dirty laundry they create within a couple days. We have 3 kids 5 and under, and I was accustom to doing 2-3 loads a day. Ok, I may have been a little OCD with the cleanliness of laundry, but we still had tons of laundry.
When we lived in a house, I was accustom to washing something after it’s been worn once. Now, I’m not as quick to throw something in the hamper, and I really look over items to see if they’re really dirty. If something does not have stains or smell dirty, it goes back into the closet. The same goes for bath, wait I mean shower towels. Before, I used to wash our towels after each use, and now, we use a towel a handful of times before it gets washed.
I’ll still help out with folding the laundry and putting it away, but Zack does the majority of it now. And I have to say, it’s been pretty nice!
3. The Bed:
We have a queen sized bed in our RV. This is fairly common in RVs since you are dealing with a smaller space. And it’s not that small, but it sure feels like it!
We had a queen sized bed for years, and then when I was pregnant with Milan, I just couldn’t get comfortable. The mattress was getting fairly old in mattress years, and we decided to shop for a new bed. We found a much more comfortable option, and this time, we got a king-sized bed. We had plenty of room for it in our house after all.
Well, we ended up getting spoiled – especially me. There was so much room in the bed, and even when one (or 2 or 3) of the kids crawled in bed, it was still comfortable. Now we are back to a queen, and it feels so small. Crazy that I’m complaining about small considering how we are living, but I loved having the king bed. Besides the kids, Zack has a tendency to steal all the covers in the middle of the night, and I’m the one who gets cold easily!
It’s not just the size of the bed. It’s also the comfort! The mattresses they put in an RV are not really top of the line by any means. Since most people only use them for recreation and not full time living, the RV companies don’t concern themselves with providing comfort first. We have thought about getting a new mattress, but the RV mattresses are a slightly different size. It also seems wasteful. What we have done is buy a pillow top and a mattress pad, and that has helped a ton. We no longer wake up in pain every day from sleeping on a crummy mattress.
4. No Bathtub:
Yep! Our RV does NOT have a bathtub! It was a major blow to the kids and to myself. I mean who doesn’t like soaking in a nice warm tub after a long day?
As for the kids, that’s all they ever knew. They’d been taking baths instead of showers the whole time we lived in our “brick” house. They loved bath time and would spend hours just playing in there after getting clean. Showers really scared them at first, and we tried everything to make it a pleasant experience! So yes, we dearly miss our bathtub, but the girls and I have learned to embrace this new way. Milo is a different story! He still dislikes showers and lets our fellow neighbors hear his frustrations. I think he has a little bit of Linus in him and just doesn’t like getting clean.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some RV’s with bathtubs, but we have heard mixed reviews on them. First off, they are usually small and best for smaller people like kids. Besides that, I guess it’s really hard to get a warm bath since your water heater tank is only so big. By the time you get your bath tub 1/3 full, it’s already running cold water. I mean who wants a cold bath, right? No thank you, I’ll pass!
5. Limited Storage:
No surprise here! We knew storage was going to be a big hurdle when we contemplated tiny living since you’re obviously limited on space. What we didn’t realize was how poorly designed most of the actual storage was in RVs. I guess you don’t really know until you’re living in it.
Much of the storage space that you do have is kind of like a giant abyss. I mean literally an abyss! Take the storage cabinet in our bathroom for example. It consisted of 2 giant deep tall shelves. We actually added 2 shelves, making it 4 really deep shelves. Still, you either have to be a giant like Shaquille O’Neal or stand on a stool and have the arm length to reach into these endless cabinets. I’m constantly getting a step stool and taking things in and out, and then fussing with the mess. It’s Zack’s job to get things in the far back since I just cannot reach.
They just didn’t design the storage right! We estimate our RV has about 420 sq. ft. of living space, which is actually on the larger size of RV’s. So there is more storage, but the storage isn’t functional at all. You have to be very creative in organizing and using each space to its maximum potential.
Now that I’ve gotten the downers out of the way, I will be writing a list of the top 5 bonuses to living in a small space. We will post it on Friday, so stay tuned! In the meantime, let us know what creature comforts you would miss if you started living tiny. For those readers that are already living small, let us know what parts of tiny living have been hardest for you to adjust to.