Waves of grain

Full Time tip #2 – Space is everything

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich Leave a Comment

Continuing my thinking about Full Time living in an RV, one of the big issues for many people is space.  My Airstream in 25 feet long and 8 feet wide.  If it was completely gutted that would give me 200 square feet of space.  It’s not gutted, so you have less working space than that in the footprint.

AirstreamLayoutCabinetsThe image above shows the floor plan of the Airstream.  I’ve added in a few red ovals to show the cabinet storage area available.  These overhead storage areas plus the two little wardrobes accounted for most of my active storage.  I say active storage because things in these cabinets were used regularly.

In addition to the cabinets and wardrobes I also have some storage under the bed and under the couch (at the front of the Airstream).  Those two storage areas are for stuff that I don’t use constantly.  Books, seasonal clothing, climbing shoes…..they all went under the bed or under the couch.

As you can see, there’s not a lot of room to accumulate clutter in my little Airstream.  For pack rats out there, full timing could be a nightmare.  For well organized people who don’t require lots of stuff this could be an interesting lifestyle.

Today’s tech helps to make full timing easier

Just in the past decade we’ve seen a lot of development in the tech world.  And a lot of the new innovations out there actually help to make full time RV’ing easier.  In my case, Apple products filled my Airstream and took very little space.  Those products covered entertainment and work needs.  Here’s the short list on my tech:

  • IMac:  The IMac is my digital hub.  It’s used for photo editing (work), communications (work), as a TV and media storage system (entertainment), sometimes for gaming (entertainment), and it used to be used a lot for blogging.  All in a slim package that fit nicely on my dinette.
  • IPad:  The IPad replaced my old laptop as my “TV” in the bedroom.  From the IMac I can stream my whole media library onto the IPad.  It’s also used for work (Photography and Database), as a portfolio, and as a book repository.  With the Kindle App I have been able to download favorite Photography books and store them all on a device smaller than a single book.  Talk about space saving!
  • IPhone:  Well, everybody knows these little devices.  Communication, entertainment, work……covers it all.
  • Verizon MiFi:  My portable internet.  It’s a tiny device.  And it works wherever my phone works.

Not long ago you wouldn’t carry an entire movie collection around with you unless you had a ton of DVD’s.  Those take space.  Today one portable hard drive can store a ton of movies, tv shows, music, etc.  How much space have I saved not having DVD and CD cases filling my cabinets?  A ton.  And as I noted above, I’m not lugging my books around any longer.  They’re in the IPad.

Beyond computer technology there are many other innovations out there to help manage storage needs.  For storing my clothing I used Eagle Creek Packs.  These handy little packs help you compress more clothing into less space.  They’re helpful for organizing my wardrobes and cabinets.  And I’ve used them for years for other little extras when I want to store things in convenient packages.

Of course, Rubbermaid storage containers can also be found throughout my cabinets.  One for flashlights and small camping items.  Another for paperwork.  More still for other odds and ends.  The sizes available can help organize a small space easily.

The more you own, the more it owns you

One thing I can say about full timing is that it really made me evaluate what was necessary in my household.  Things brought into the Airstream were evaluated before I purchased them.  With little room available I always looked for items that were “Swiss Army Knives” (served more than one purpose).  If something is a one trick pony it often doesn’t make it into the Airstream.

I will say, it’s nice to not be tied down by a ton of possessions.  Living small means you can pick up and go quickly and easily.  And it means you’re not tied to a location simply by the stuff you own.

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