RV Living: Making a Small Space Work For You

Darren and Amanda, along with their three kids, have been living and traveling full time in their Heartland Bighorn for over a year. Read along to see how they have adjusted and make living in a small space work for their family.

Think About Your Family's Needs

As a family of five, it was crucial to find an RV that best suited us—one that would give each of us our own space and still allow us to host friends and family. We also knew that moving from a large house to an RV would be an adjustment, so we wanted to make the transition as easy as possible for our kids. Our oldest daughter is entering her teenage years, so it was really important that she had her own space.

This RV has an elevated loft space that is perfect for her. She’s old enough to safely climb up, and it provides her some privacy from her two younger brothers. Our two boys are close in age, so they are more comfortable sharing a room. They took the bunk room beneath the loft, which has two individual beds so they each have their own private sleeping space. My husband and I have the main bedroom, which comes with a king-sized bed and a door we can close for privacy.

Make your RV work for you by doubling up on sleep space.

Everyone Has One Large Bin

When we moved into our RV, we knew we would need to downsize and limit the possessions we brought with us. To help prioritize, we gave each child a large, plastic RV storage bin and let them fill it with personal items that they felt were the most important to them. For clothes, we split our wardrobes into summer and winter seasons. We fill our dressers and closets with clothes for the current season, and then use vacuum bags to store the others under our bed.

I used the same storage bin method for our RV kitchen and bathroom and kept one of each type of cooking utensil, and one pot or pan of each size. Since we are a family of five, I kept our full set of flatware. We like to have guests over for dinner, so I knew we would need more than five forks and five spoons. I've also tried to bring multi-purpose kitchen gadgets. We have an Airfryer, an InstantPot and a blender, all of which can be stored under our kitchen sink and can be used for a variety of reasons.

To maximize space, give everyone a dedicated bin or tote.

Keep Your Normal Schedule

Living together in an RV is actually pretty similar to our former home. Our daily schedules haven’t changed much. Only now, we have to account for travel days and our backyard is constantly changing. My husband and I still work and our kids still have their schooling, but we still find time to take vacations and have some time-off. Whenever friends or family are nearby, we can leave our RV parked and go visit them or take a trip. Our kids also have daily chores, just like they did in a traditional house. Our space is smaller, so the chore list is smaller, but we’ve added age-appropriate tasks so they can help with other things, like RV set-up and take down. We also give them a weekly allowance to help them learn money management and work ethic skills.

Resolve Conflicts Quickly

Living small in an RV has made our family bond stronger. We have so much more time together, and we enjoy being with one another more. Do we still have conflicts? Of course, but these issues seem to resolve much quicker now. If someone gets upset or an argument happens, it helps to create some physical space. We’ll go for a walk or sit outside, and clear our heads for a few minutes. It’s really hard to stay mad at someone who is only ten feet away from you at all times. Being in an RV has taught us to communicate our feelings and frustrations right away, instead of retreating to another room and closing the door. You’re forced to deal with your issues and move on. I can confidently say that choosing to live in an RV has been the best decision for our family thus far.

Read the full article written by Thor Industries here.