I’ve noticed a lot of hype around simplified living lately: travel trailers, tiny homes, van living, etc. With that being said, I’ve had a handful of people ask me if I still like living in a trailer, to which I would immediately correct them and say, “I don’t like it. I LOVE IT!!” Below are a few thoughts that immediately come to mind when someone asks what makes me love it so much:
Better Relationships: several months ago I was at an appointment and my doc said their family of 5 used to live in an extremely small house out of state, then moved to Texas and built a massive house. He said they were so much closer and in-tune with each other when they lived in their old home. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I do. You will truly learn how well you work with someone when you’re living in such a tight space. Being present has never been more real. There’s very little privacy, we are always in each other’s space, and we talk more often. That may seem odd, but having multiple walls to split us up created literal boundaries, and I realize more every day what a wonderful team we have. Braxton and I have always worked well in the field together, but it’s been really fun to grow in our relationship at home too.
Within Arm’s Reach: this item is self explanatory and I LOVE IT! Other than walking out to the shed to do laundry, I’ve got everything I need right next to me. As I sit here at my breakfast table (the only table), I can access my water tower, coffee maker, all food, and my sink by taking literally one step. I can also turn on surround sound with one click, or sit on my “front porch” (steps) just as easily.
Lighting: one of my biggest pet peeves is a dark home. The first place Braxton and I ever lived was in a single bedroom apartment on a really sketchy part of town - it had 2 windows total. If ever I felt depressed in my adult life, that was it. We literally lived in a den, but thankfully we weren’t there too long. A home without windows is no home for me! I need sunshine in my life. I have windows EVERYWHERE now and I never close the blinds. Side note: we live on 800 acres so I don’t worry about privacy whatsoever.
Shedding the Excess: I think the idea of simplifying our lives can be daunting. It means letting go of the multiples or going without some items, finding more efficient ways versus having access to all the ways (cooking, cleaning, storage, etc). Holding onto stuff has been proven to be an emotional act at times, and the more extreme cases result in the TV show “hoarders.” I remember when I was younger and I was going through lots of therapy, I would collect everything - empty shoeboxes, thousands and thousands of stickers, stuffed animals, and even save AIM conversations on my computer. There’s something about letting go that humans struggle with and it’s a form of coping. Now I can be honest with myself about needs/wants and let go. That’s been really cool to experience!
Exercising my Obsessive Compulsive Ways: I have LOVED finding ways to be more efficient/frugal. Example: I do not need every kitchen tool (pot, pan, slow cooker, etc) when I have a portable Traeger that can do almost anything. Or combining my luggage with my camera bag using the Vanguard Alta Fly 62T - I can literally remove the “guts” where the camera equipment is stored and it immediately becomes a rolling checked bag - you know, because airports are my second home!
Budget Friendly House Makeover: although I haven’t started this process, I have SO many ideas that I’d like to bring to life within the trailer. Painting cabinets, building shelves, replace curtains, new furniture, etc. Usually this would cost a fortune, but in a space this size, there’s so much flexibility! Braxton doesn’t know about ALL of those ideas yet, but I plan to slowly put the bug in his ear :)
More Time Outside: due to the small space, I find myself enjoying more time outside. With less distraction indoors, I’m naturally outdoors more often. We recently built an archery range right as you walk down our steps and it’s our favorite place to be now. We also put an old basketball goal up for some friendly games of HORSE, then hung a hammock in the trees behind the trailer for a peaceful spot that’s tucked away.
Anything but Tied Down: My dad always said my momma was “flighty” and that I get that from her. I have a constant craving for adventure and seeing the world, which is what’s led me to travel to 11 different countries by the age of 29. Being home humbles me, but it’s the “what’s next” that consumes my mind. For that reason, I absolutely love being able to hook up and go when we want. Honestly we haven’t taken the travel trailer anywhere yet but it’s the thought that I CAN if I wanted to. Also, I’m in the process of shopping for a rooftop tent for my truck so that’ll come in handy more so than hauling a 5th wheel. I do not like feeling tied down to anything; I like to run and go when I please, so rather than having to sell a house and deal with all the chaos of moving, we have a home that follows us. I like that!
Better Routine: small space means things get messy FAST. It has helped me have more of a routine to prevent that. My mom always says “start every day with a clean sink” and my dad raised me to make my bed every day. Those two things alone can completely change the feel of our trailer, so I make an effort to do those at minimum. In turn, you feel accomplished at the start of your day because you’ve already completed two tasks. Even if you don’t live in a travel trailer, try to implement these into your daily routine and see how good it feels!
Of course it wasn’t all perfect when we first got situated. It was a completely different way to live. Below are some of the setbacks we’ve had so far:
Mice: while we’ve only had a few, we’ve had them. I never even considered how easy it could be for them to get into the trailer. We’ve learned to keep the mouse traps locked and loaded, and I will gradually begin to put all food and medicine (they loved the cough drops) in plastic containers to help this situation.
Toilet: getting in the habit of using less toilet paper and more water to flush has been a learning curve. When we first moved in the toilet would clog all the time!! Now we have zero issues.
Moisture: still learning how to effectively keep moisture out of areas - mainly the bathroom and within the refrigerator. There’s a lot of condensation which isn’t ideal for obvious reasons.
Storage: our trailer actually has more space than most, but we’ve had to be creative along the way. I find myself keeping more items in the bed of my truck (I have a Diamondback truck cover so I don’t worry about theft or anything getting wet) to help with space. Also, we are a little spoiled because we have a tiny shed next to the trailer where we have our washer/dryer, meat freezers, etc. I would recommend this to anybody that can swing it!
Maintenance: shortly after moving in, we had this awful boiled egg smell that we couldn’t get rid of. Apparently this is really common among travel trailers for various reasons, but very preventable with the right care. For us personally, it ended up being a rod that has to be replaced once a year no matter what.
Vibration: learning to adapt to the vibration of someone simply moving. They don’t have to be walking around for you to feel them in the trailer. That was annoying at first but we’re both used to it now!
Small oven: we had to replace all of our pans to fit in the mini oven because the standard sizes won’t fit. Again, just something we didn’t realize until I went to bake some veggies. We rarely use the oven anyways ever since we got our portable grill that we store under the trailer.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a few under each section, but the experience will provide more feedback and I’ll be sure to keep everybody updated! In general, I’m in love with this life and it fits us well right now. It’ll be perfect until its not, and when the time comes we’ll adjust like we always do! Isn’t that the key to life anyway - to roll with the ups and downs? :)