When living in a very small space (200 sqft), you have to think of your space differently, to make it most comfortable for you. It does take time to make this adjustment, but here are a few tips to speed you along.
1. Think of your WALLS and even CEILINGS, like you do your floor! When thinking of places to put things, try to think of ways you can make storage on your walls and ceiling. Hanging fishing poles along your ceiling is a great way to store them and keeps them readily available if you like to fish a lot! Or you can put paddles on the ceiling, etc. Anything you can stick to your wall is something you don’t have to store in your limited drawer and cabinet space! Some examples of wall storage include, Knife rack, magnetic spice storage, wall shelves for books, or toys, book bags hung for night time reading, etc. Just think of your walls when trying to find places to store things! And if you are in an RV, like us, the added bonus of this that that you don’t have move a ton of things that usually sit out on the counter before driving off again. They are already stuck to the walls and ceiling!
2. EVERYTHING should have at least 2 uses! EVERYTHING! Gone are the days of having that bulky, specialty item that you only use once a year! There’s no room! So if it doesn’t have 2 uses, you better think of another use for it, or leave it behind! Example: We left our coffee pot behind. Even though we both drink coffee every morning, the maker was huge and took up way too much counter space to leave out all the time, like at home, but was way too much trouble to put up every morning too. And even when put up, it would take up too much room in our limited cabinet space! So we opted to get an electric water kettle instead. It’s smaller, for one, but can also be used to quickly make teas, hot coco, and oatmeal and grits too (We’re from the South, remember?). And it uses electricity, instead of propane, like a regular tea kettle on the stove would use. This is good, cause electricity is included in our camp fees, where as propane is an added expense that we pay for. To make coffee, we put a filter in a holder over our coffee cup and pour the boiling water into the filter. It’s a great cup of Joe and you’re never wasteful by making more than you drink either. Win-Win-Win!
3. Shelves are your friend! When we first got our RV, it had this wide open cabinet with one hanging bar for clothes, and that was it! I tried for 3 years to do something with that space! I put in bins, and hanging closets. But there was still so much unused space! So when we redid that storage, and essentially took over half of it away for desk space, but made shelves with the space that was left, we actually ended up with WAY MORE usable space with the shelves, than we ever had with just the open storage! Shelves also help you stay more organized, by forcing you to SORT your things by each shelf. So if you have some wide open storage spaces, fill that sucker with shelves! You’ll be glad you did!
4. Think of ways to keep floors and counters clear! Not clutter free; CLEAR! When living in a small space, your spaces get way more use, so you need them clear! That area of the bathroom counter is not just reserved for your makeup anymore. It also needs to be used for when the kids brush their teeth, and wash their hands, and to set things on that you fish out of the bottom cabinet. Even little thing becomes huge inconveniences in small spaces. Like, a small trash can left out of the floor, or the dogs water bowl. I promise, you will kick those things 10X a day if they are left on the floor! Not to mention the issue with pets or kids getting into them. So find spaces to put things. We have a roll out trash can under our kitchen sink. We had to sacrifice some cabinet space, but it was worth it to have a clear floor. Even little thing, like dish soap and a sponge are better off in a storage area off of the counter. You think there’s plenty of room, until you start cooking or the dishes are piling up! Your don’t want a fruit bowl, you want a fruit hammock; got it? Plus, if you are a traveler, if everything has a secure space, instead of just sitting on the floor or counter, you have less to move on “moving day”.
5. Make the space an expression of YOU! One of the best things about living in a tiny space, is that you can make it truly yours, and for not so much, cause it’s such a tiny space! When we first went out on an extended trip in our 200sqft RV, we really just left the RV as we bought it. Sure, we put bed rails on the kids beds, and took off those awful window trim boxes and sewed curtains instead. But beyond that, we didn’t really make the space ours. And I really wish we had! It felt sterile and a lot of things just didn’t work for our family on that first trip. Before leaving on our second, extended trip, we really got in there an made the place a home! Our Home! And it felt 1000X better! We painted, refloored, rearranged storage, made new storage, cut huge things out and put new things in! It didn’t cost a lot, and it was fun doing it! You just have to pay attention to what’s not working for you, and how you can change that to best fit your needs. For example, we almost bought a new RV for our second extended trip. We even went shopping. But thankfully, by talking it out, we realized that we were really just wanting a desk in our tiny space, and we loved everything else about it. So, we started brainstorming where we could fit in a desk. This wasn’t easy. In tiny spaces, it can feel like your options are very limited. So we started by identifying areas in the RV that we didn’t really use much. And for us, the biggest area like this was the living room entertainment center. It was a huge space sucker and we only used it to store the TV we never watched! And just like that, we had our desk area, with some added storage shelving even! We all really like being in our tiny space so much more this time around, cause it’s truly US!
So there are just a few tips I’ve picked up that have made living in a small space so much nicer for us! Please share any tips you may have for getting the most use out of tiny spaces in the comments below, and we’d love it if you’d follow our blog as we journey across America!