Before we could really call and make our reservations we had to settle a few things. The first that we had no camper (let alone a fifth wheel) to speak of. We had recently sold our trusty pop-up and had not yet decided to continue in the RV/Motorhome/Travel Trailer sector of camping. In fact, the more we get into hiking and as our daughter grows my resolve for us to go back to tent camping has increased. Living in what is essentially a comfortable home on an axle seemed awfully…..well, what am I talking about? We living in a tiny house trailer. It seemed AWESOME!
The backstory here is that my folks own a 30′ fifth wheel camper. It is about 11 years old and is not the coolest or the latest and greatest. But it is comfortable, has a few modifications including a king size bed and suncatcher awning, and it would be free. I promptly called them up and told them our idea. They were excited but somewhat skeptical as they didn’t want me to put my day job in jeopardy or for us to be uncomfortable or regretful a month into our stint. They agreed though and we began making arrangements to move into the fifth wheel just after new years 2014. There was work to be done though. The first was to figure out the budget. The second was to pair down our life again (yes…even from 240 sq.ft. we had work to do in this area). The third was to tell the rest of our family that we would be gone for 3 months!)
Moving From Your Home To An RV
- Finding the money. Our first line of defense was to have an early fall yard sale. We didn’t realize how much we had amassed and just plain didn’t want. And like they say. One man’s junk is another mans treasure. In just two days we sold nearly $900 worth of stuff. This “stuff” included my coveted Hardee’s Rise ‘n Shine mug set from 1984. The whole set sold for $0.50. Somehow I still felt like I charged too much. The RV resort campground we had chosen was going to cost us $1015/month for lot rent (includes water, sewer, and trash/recycling) plus electricity. We were going to need about $3300 for 3 months of living. After the yard sale we were just $2400 away from our goal. Around mid-October I received an unexpected bonus from my day job and we were able to set aside an additional $1000. We were closing in. We then cashed in our change from our cupboard coffee can allowing us to bank another $140. We then saved $200 in November from our monthly budget and $200 in December. To date we still need to “find” $860 but we have until the end of March to do so so we are hoping a small tax return and perhaps some book sales will finish the budget off. As for our groceries, gas, and misc money we are simply using our standard monthly budget as our tiny house is winterized and closed up and our utilities were put on “vacation status” during our absence so we owe no money there.
- What goes with you? Because we live in a tiny house (240 sq.ft.) we felt like our life was pretty minimal to begin with. Upon further investigation though we realized we had expanded some (I built a tiny office that also has storage space), our daughter had accumulated too many toys (we now had indoor AND outdoor toys), our clothes had built up (our closet was expanded in November 2013), and the kitchen had gained more preserved food as well as tools and accessories. We began thinking about out tiny house as a more traditional house; one with 4 separate living areas. We settled on a kitchen, a living room, a master bedroom, and a bathroom. To aid in our preparation we took notes first using Evernote on our iPads until we could actually pull things and box them in December. While we did decide to take our pots/pans with us we decided to leave our commercial size toaster oven, our K-cup coffee maker, our silverware, our dinner ware, our juicer, our fajita maker, and our tupperware. Instead we decided we would use the small toaster already in the fifth wheel, a French Press coffee maker, the Corel dinner ware already in the fifth wheel, an all-in-one blender, and a skillet for any fajita type dishes. The living room was easy. Nothing would go except our engagement photo which has hung in every one of our residences. The fifth wheel already had furniture so we felt it was just fine that way. The master bedroom was left alone as well. The fifth wheel had sheets for the king size bed already. We did opt to do a little modification on what would become the Tiniest r(E)volution’s bedroom. She loves Minnie Mouse now so we bought Minnie bedding and curtains to give her a feeling of her own special space. From the bathroom we only felt compelled to take our razors, our soap, our shampoo/conditioner, the blow dryer, our daughters soap and lotion, our toothbrushes, and Crystal’s makeup. The fifth wheel bathroom had towels and wash cloths so we would need to purchase very little to comfortable with our *new* indoor plumbing!
- Saying goodbye. We decided to tell most of our family about the same time. We chose the Thanksgiving holiday season as most people are feeling festive and quite pleasant from all the good food and vacation from work. We sold our adventure as…well, an adventure. We told them all that while we would be gone physically for a few months we could still keep in touch via telephone, Facetime, and email. Of course we are all connected on Facebook so they would be able to see photos on a regular basis. It actually wasn’t as hard as we thought although most were quite sad at not being able to see our daughter for a while. The grandparents felt like she would be half-grown by the time we returned. We assured them we would give her lots of caffeine and do our best to stunt her growth intellectually and physically. So far we are failing miserably!
As the week of Christmas came upon us we balanced bringing a few new things into the house with packing up the stuff that would go with us. Our daughter got her first bike from Santa (which he kindly told us about in advance!) so we had made room for it. We took her play kitchen and a rubbermaid box of miscellaneous toys (and by box I mean just larger than a shoe box). We packed her books, flashcards, LeapPad, crafting stuff, etc and made room for them as well as for the stroller, the hiking backpack, and a few random things. It seemed we were set. Now all we had to do was move in to the fifth wheel, hitch it up, and put her on the road. Oh, did I mention we don’t own a pickup truck to tow the trailer and I have never actually towed a fifth wheel before?
NOTE: I realize now that this post is going to spread out over several days. Please stay tuned to read Part 3 of our latest Tiny r(E)volution adventure!