My family lives in RV — how to use our small space and photos

  • My family of four moved from a starter home on the outskirts of Florida to the Fifth Wheel RV.
  • We had to be honest about what we really needed and then miniaturized our belongings.
  • If you want to buy something to bring your RV, you need to get rid of others as well.

In January 2014, my wife and I had a two-year-old daughter and son on the way, having a starter home in the suburbs of Florida, two full-time jobs, and some additional part-time gigs. But we also dealt with two high-interest car loans and a large amount of consumer debt.

So we enrolled in a debt counseling program and paid off everything except the house and one car in two years. But at that time, I was injured in my neck while working as a firefighter and a rescuer.

I enjoyed my career until then, but I wasn’t interested in the idea of ​​spending another 15 years in Florida at my desk because of an injury.

Shortly thereafter, we put the house on the market and began researching more affordable living options. After that, I bought an invisible used RV site.

Downsizing from a 1,700-square-foot house to less than one-third of that space seemed like an impossible task. But somehow we made it work.

We have set small but achievable goals

Truck pulling RV of big house in front of red rock landscape

I needed to make my belongings much smaller.

Christian Axness


After we sold the house, we lived in a friend’s condo and most of our belongings were in the storage unit.

But after the first night at RV, we realized that we weren’t minimalists. In my opinion, there was no magic of Marie Kondo who could wheel everything she needed for this house.

Debt counseling taught us about the “snowball effect.” First pay off the smallest debt, then pay the rest in size order. It provides a solid strategy and small successes that motivate you to continue to seek more dopamine.

Applying this same principle, we reduced the footprint of the material. For each item, we asked ourselves if our confusion was helping us or just occupying a spiritual space.

Be honest with yourself about what you actually use

We wanted to continue downsizing even after finally putting everything we needed (and some of the things we didn’t do) back into a small space.

For example, we hung all our clothes on hangers that were pointing in the wrong direction, and each time we put them back, we put something back in the right way. After that, I considered donating something that was still late for a few weeks.

Our little kids didn’t have to get in the way of the toys so much, so we asked the 4-year-old to choose what they liked and made the best decision for the 2-year-old. That is, he maintained his inflatable bounce house. ..

What’s a better way to help kids make friends than the sound of a bounce house blower?

Condense the collection as much as possible

Mom standing in front of the RV door next to the dog

To make it smaller, my wife got an e-reader to download books.

Christian Axness


In RV, there is also a weight limit. Most five-wheel trailers have a cargo capacity of less than 2,000 pounds.

It literally sounds like a lot of belongings, but it quickly gains weight. And we live in a camper, but not a camp. We are alive.

So we kept the pottery dishes and metal utensils in only four place settings, and then replaced our glass cups with stainless steel cups that would hit life on the road.

A greedy reader, my wife bought an e-reader to keep a hard copy of her favorite book and download the rest. And I sold most of my tools on Craigslist.

I found a way to make a particular space work

Once it was downsized, it also needed to be organized.

There is no “standard size” RV. The cabinets are all strange shapes and sizes, so we used bins, trays and containers to fit these unique spaces.

The hollow space under the stairs leading to the bedroom and children’s bunk beds is used for food storage.

Our mattress platform has hydraulic stanchions that can lift the bed and store bulky outerwear and spare bedding. In addition, a receiver welded to the front or to. RV carries our bike.

Six years later, we are still looking for new ways to organize ourselves. Our growing children have constantly changing needs for us to adapt, but less leaves us with more spiritual space for what is most important.

Accept the rule of getting one and give one

Kids posing next to a big gray RV house with bumper stickers

Bumper stickers are a great alternative to typical souvenirs.

Christian Axness


When we live and travel in North America, the opportunities to collect souvenirs are endless.

We sometimes indulge, but we live according to one rule. When you bring something in, you have to put it out.

This isn’t a perfect system, as it was when my son offered to donate a math curriculum for a Lego set, but it works well for us.

I also learned that with just a few photos and cheap bumper stickers, you need to remember some of the wildest destinations.

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