Almost a month has passed since we have moved back into our fifth wheel. Jeff and I have been busy unpacking, getting settled, going through boxes we haven’t seen in over a year and finding just the right place for all of our vintage treasures. (We still have a nicely sized storage unit full of our things that needs a good cleaning, but downsizing all of those things will happen in time.) Jeff’s new job seems to be going really well too, he comes home happy and is learning a lot about RV’s. This new job will definitely give him some great experience to take forward if we were to move out of state or go on the road again.
These last few weeks we have been slowly remembering how to live tiny and acclimating ourselves to a new routine. Everything is different when you live tiny, your water heater is smaller, the counter space is slim, and the walls are thinner. It takes less time to clean up the fifth wheel though, but just as fast as you can clean the place it can become cluttered with the minimal square footage. We love it though, living more simply has been one of the best decisions we’ve made.
So far we’ve had fairly good luck with trailer and everything running well after sitting for several months. We had fixed all the leaks and water damage, and haven’t really had much rain or anything since to ensure there aren’t anymore. (But the snow is coming!) Our heater is working perfectly, it’s so nice to have it this year and not have to use space heaters again. We bought a new shower head specifically for RV’s that helps save water and works with the water pressure so you can have a longer, warmer shower. It’s amazing!! Our plumbing has always been a little troublesome and we were so happy we weren’t having any trouble, until a few days ago. Our piping under the toilet clogs very easily and seems to clog now every other day. I’m sure we will eventually figure it out but at this point it’s really frustrating and kinda gross.
Jeff has found a job, he’s on his second week of work. It’s the perfect job for him, Wilson’s RV , working as a RV Repair Technician. Now that he’s working, we can now move our fifth wheel somewhere. We were lucky enough to still be in contact with the property manager for the neighborhood we parked the trailer at before we left on the road. I called him and it just so happened that our exact same spot had became available around the same time Jeff was offered the job, we felt very blessed. We will be moving back to Boise this weekend and can finally start living in our fifth wheel.
With the move coming up so soon it got me thinking about the big move we did just a year ago. Just over a year ago we were selling our big beautiful country home and making some big changes in our lives. Jeff and I decided to live a more simple life, and downsizing was our first big decision towards this. A year ago we transitioned from 1700 sq. feet to just about 275 sq. feet. We lived in our fifth wheel for about 5 months until we left for our adventures in Vanna, were then on the road for 6 months and have since been staying with Jeff’s parents. So, although we may have learned to live closely together in the van, we haven’t lived in the fifth wheel for quite some time and will have to get reacquainted with tiny living. I am reminded of the feelings we had after closing on our house, pulling the beastly trailer over to our new neighborhood and then laying on the floor looking at Jeff saying, “We’re actually doing this”. So many emotions and butterflies running through, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our little place is all ready! It’s absolutely adorable and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Jeff did a fantastic job with the renovation and we’ve collaborated quite well with the designing aspect. Our next step is to of course move in, Jeff is currently job hunting since we’ve taken a break from our road adventures. Once we have cash flow, we will be able to find a spot to park the trailer and move in. We still have a lot more downsizing to do too. No photos or decor have been unpacked since we sold our big house and I know we have a ton of boxes to go through. We’re both very excited to get moved in and start living tiny. (*Crossing fingers Jeff finds a good job soon!)
We moved into our fifth wheel last October after we sold our big country home. We had been looking at trailers for weeks but by the time we sold the house it seemed as if we had run out of time and needed to purchase one quickly. Jeff found ours on Craigslist for $2,000, which we thought was a pretty good deal. The fifth wheel is a 96′ model, faded teal carpet, padded window coverings, carpet in the bathroom and awful wallpaper galore. It pretty much looked like the nineties threw up everywhere.
We lived in the trailer from October-March, up until we took off on the road. In those five months we were saving up money for our trip and making sure some of our bills were paid so we didn’t do too much to the trailer. We lived with the trashy carpets and I dealt with not unpacking decor and the rest of my kitchen. However, I did make sure we got rid of that yucky carpet in the bathroom. I just don’t understand why carpet is laid into bathrooms?! We also needed some more storage space, so Jeff built us a really nice bed with a storage compartment underneath and while he was at it he tore out the ugly carpet and put in pergo in our bedroom. We chose to use the cheapest pergo wood flooring that we liked for our bedroom as the bed takes up about 80-90% of the room so you can’t see much of the floor anyways. Then before we knew it, it was time to leave for our trip so the fifth wheel was parked over at my dads.
We pulled the trailer over to Jeff’s parents a few weeks ago and demolition started a week or so later. The gross carpet was the first thing we pulled up and the amount of dirt piled up underneath was unbelievable, yuk! I’m just so happy to see that ugly stained carpet gone! We also knew we had a bit of a water leak on the inside of one of the walls, so that was Jeff’s first big challenge to tackle. As he pulled the wall panel off we realized it was more than just a ‘little’ water leak and turned into a much bigger project. He found moldy insulation under one of the panels he had ripped off so he continued to investigate only to find more mold. He ended up replacing two walls and insulation before we started texturing. To ensure we wouldn’t have anymore issues with leaking, Jeff rubber coated our roof and thoroughly went around the outside re-sealing all of the seams.
Icky water damage
One of the walls we replaced
Texturing the walls was the next big step for us to tackle. We had a lot of holes and areas where the vinyl wallpaper was peeling up. I’ve never done any hole patching before, Jeff usually does all that kind of stuff but I learned quickly and had a lot of fun helping. We decided to texture the walls instead of just painting over the wallpaper as the texture gives a more ‘real’ home like feel. It took a few practice tries with the texture before we felt confident enough with rolling it on all of our walls. Jeff handled it just like a pro though! We painted all of our cabinets and walls, tore down the padded window coverings and even painted the couple of the doors we have inside the place.
But, my most favorite project we tackled in the trailer was our reclaimed wall. My dad does a lot of wood working and collects wood from all sorts of places, he gave us some old cedar fencing that was beautifully weathered. The wood came to us already torn apart (thanks Dad!!) so I sanded each of the planks and made a paint wash for a few boards as Jeff cut and nailed them up. The wall turned out so amazing, I’m quite proud of ourselves. I’m actually really proud of Jeff, he’s been working so hard on this renovation and doing such a great job too. There has only been so many things I have been able to help with. Either my back hurts, my hands are too swollen, having a weekly flare up or I’m just too tired. Jeff is an incredible husband, always making sure I don’t over do it and that I’m feeling well. He’s done a great job in our little home, I can’t wait to move back in.
Tearing stuff down
Look at that gross carpet!
Yay! No carpet and there’s new paint
Prepping the reclaimed wood
Jeff hard at work
More photos to come once we are completely finished with the place. We’re getting real close!!
When we bought our 5th wheel, we had purchased it with the intentions of renovating. The ‘bungalo’ as I like to call it is a 1996 model, so as anyone could imagine, it definitely could use some updating. We decided to start on the back of the camper, which is our room. So far Jeff has been able to pull up the 90’s teal carpet and replace it with pergo wood flooring and build us a really neat bed frame that allows for storage underneath, and the dog’s kennel built right in. We then got side-tracked with the bathroom updates when the toilet was replaced. The flooring in the bathroom area was actually getting wet, so up came that carpet. (yes carpet in a twenty year old camper, yuk!) We found this really neat vinyl peel and stick that is grout-able, it looks fabulous. There are plans of course for making our walls a little less 90’s, but just one step at a time.
Winters here in Idaho can be pretty brutal, especially if your little casa is 5th wheel. Jeff spent several weeks trying to get us comfortable in our new mobile dwelling. The heater in the campér doesn’t work, so we bought space heaters and those little buggers run 24/7. At one point it was so cold in the bedroom before we had all the insulation and skirting up our dog’s bed actually froze to floor! However, after all of Jeff’s hard work we are now quite comfortable in here.
As were getting more settled into our new place, we’re finally able to start thinking about our big trip. We plan on heading out in June, so this gives us plenty of time to save up to our set goal of cash and find our vehicle. We’ve already decided that we won’t take the 5th wheel given the expense of gas, therefore we’re going to look for a van or maybe even a very small RV. We have a handful of national parks and forests we want to visit as well as family through out the U.S, so being able to save money on gas is definitely worth the cramped quarters. Traveling in a van or a tiny RV will force us to get outside of the vehicle more and explore. This is also one of the reasons why we chose to down-size and move into our 5th wheel. Our old home was so big, we sometimes didn’t see each other or we wouldn’t even use one half of the house for months. Now that we’re in the 5th wheel, we use every inch and every corner. I also think just in the few months we’ve been here, we’ve already grown closer.
After hours upon hours of craigslist searching, used and new lots, we finally found a 5th wheel and for a hell of a deal too! We started going through our things, deciding what we really needed and what wasn’t necessary to keep lugging around. The biggest and probably the hardest thing for us to do was to figure out what to do with the “micro farm”. Jeff and I both have a soft spot in our hearts for animals, and we had a handful of pets. With the array of animals, most of our friends called the house a zoo! We had 5 tortoises, a few fish tanks, a total of 6 chickens and ducks, a rabbit, a canary, a cat, a dog and a small parrot. We definitely knew the dog, cat and bird were staying with us. Our dog only weighs about 12lbs and she’s the princess, the cat and I had been buddies since before my husband I even started dating so there was no question there, and my parrot, well I just wasn’t going to let him go, he’s precious to me. We did find great homes for everyone. The tortoises even went to a local reptile rescue and that made us feel good knowing they went there. It was a bitter sweet feeling, but it was one step closer to new journey.
Downsizing our things was hard at first, trying to decide if something is really worth taking up space. The 5th wheel we bought was 31 feet in length and we estimated our total square footage with the slide was about 275sq feet. Big change for us coming from 1700sq foot! I think I went through my clothes alone three times before we actually moved into the 5th wheel. I am happy to say however, we both are able to fit our clothes into standard sized rubber-maid totes. Of course this isn’t bigger items like coats and jackets, but we did do a good job. (I had two closets of clothes in our old house) Since we did only have a short time to get the house ready for selling and to minimize our things, we ended up needing a storage unit. I’m sure we will be able to get rid of a lot of things in storage since by now we haven’t even noticed these things are gone.
So, we officially moved into the 5th wheel around the first of October 2015. We’re renting a lot in a really nice mobile home park which allows RV/campers. The neighborhood is in Boise, right in town and such a big difference for us being right in town. We had been living in the country for a few years and were quite use to the country living life style. Our first few days we were without power, leaving us to use a generator just so we could run the lights and maybe the tv but it wasn’t enough power to heat up a shower. We like camping, but this wasn’t what we were thinking of when we decided to move. Once we finally got power, we started to settle into our new lifestyle quite well. There have been few things we’ve had to get use since moving into a tiny ‘home’, but surprisigly the space hasn’t one of them. The space is actually nice, no stairs to climb, less to clean and once we start, it’ll be way easier and cheaper to remodel than a standard sized home. A couple of the things we’ve had to learn; cooking on a propane stove, mastering the water pressure in shower and how to not blow the breaker when the space heater is running at the same time while the toaster oven is going or even the blow dryer! The outside sound changes took some time getting use to. We were use to hearing chickens, donkeys braying and tractors plowing. Now, we hear sirens, motorcycles and the trucks bringing in new shipments for the stores we live right behind. But, I don’t jump up and look out the door at every loud crash and boom sound anymore. We were also quite surprised how dusty it gets in here and how long the smells from cooking simmer through out the place. But these are all things worth discovering as we move forward. I laid here one night after we first moved in and looked at my husband saying, “We’re really doing this!”