Tips For Downsizing to RV and Tiny House Living with Your Family

For the last 9 months, my family of 5 has lived in less than 200 square feet without losing our minds. In fact, sharing this tiny space with our 3 children has actually helped us thrive in our lives, gain greater traction in our business and work, and feel closer as a family.

As a coach, I often talk with mamas who are interested in living tiny. We talk about the benefits as we as some of the fears that arise when considering such a counter-culture move. In this practical guide to living tiny as a family, I am going to share with you the benefits of making the leap to full-time RV or tiny house living, the potential issues that may arise (and how to overcome them), and how to thrive in your new smaller space.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

Reasons to Consider Downsizing to a Tiny House or RV
  • You’re trying get out of debt

  • You want less house responsibilities, but still want to “own” your home

  • You’re interested in traveling the country, on your terms

  • You’re in a period of transition

  • You crave a closer bond with your family

  • You’re ready to stop trying to keep up with Joneses and live your life, in alignment with your values

We chose to move into our Lance 2185 Travel Trailer in the spring of 2018, and we currently have no plans to move out of it anytime soon. Like many of you, I bet, we were drawn to the idea of a simpler lifestyle, of living minimally and without debt. We also wanted to limit our housing liabilities as our last home was a major fixer-upper that drained our bank account and left us perpetually stressed. (There’s nothing like a major gas leak in your home, requiring ALL of the lines to be replaced, when your newborn is 5 weeks old and your husband is across the country officiating his brother’s wedding!)

We also found ourselves in a period of transition, while also desiring to see more of the United States, and so living in an RV just made sense to us. You may be drawn to living tiny with your family for different reasons, but they are all valid.

Benefits of Downsizing to a Tiny House or RV

Right away, we saw immediate benefits and knew that we had hit the jackpot with this lifestyle. Some of the benefits we found are:

  • Lower overhead costs (no utilities, cheaper campground than mortgage, no major repairs—yet!)

  • Freedom to roam and have new experiences with our kids, as our jobs allowed it

  • Easier to keep our tiny house clean so we can spend more time living our lives

  • Closer relationship with our kids and each other from spending so much time together (this one is also many people’s fear, so stick with me as I’ll address it here in a moment)

  • Smaller space requires less belongings, which equals more money in the bank

The benefits of downsizing to a tiny house or RV are huge! (Pun totally intended.) We were amazed at how much our quality of life improved by choosing to move into a travel trailer and travel the country as a family. You may experience some of these benefits as well; many families find that they truly blossom as a family by living tiny together.

So why don’t more people choose tiny living? Glad you asked.

The Downsides to Downsizing to a Tiny House or RV
  • Lack of privacy as you are in a much smaller space

  • Wear and tear is higher on tiny homes, especially RVs as these are not designed for full-time family living

  • You’re together ALL the time, and it can be hard to get alone time. This might be hard for introverts that crave quiet, alone time

  • Campgrounds in certain parts of the country can be just as expensive as a mortgage (but there are ways around this)

  • You will have to deal with others’ opinions of you, especially those who may disagree openly with the way you are choosing to live

Let’s Make a Plan for Family Tiny House or RV Living

So let’s say you’re ready to jump right in with living tiny with your family. Wahoo! I think it’s an awesome choice (obviously!) I want to see you succeed, and while I cannot cover EVERYTHING in one blog post, here’s some things to start thinking about right now.

Some questions to consider:
  • What version of tiny living are you drawn to and why? Some options are: stationary tiny home, travel trailer, RV (Class A, B, or C aka a motorhome), a bus, a boat, or a 5th wheel

  • If you want to also travel while living tiny, what forms of remote or passive income can you draw on to support yourself?

  • If you have kids, will you stay stationary to keep them in school or are you willing to homeschool?

  • What are your goals with living tiny and how will downsizing to a tiny home support your values?

Explore the Tiny Home Lifestyle Before Committing

I highly recommend exploring the tiny home lifestyle before committing. This ensures that you are as prepared as possible for the leap and create the best chance for success. Here’s the thing: it is a HUGE change for most people to live this way, and you need to honor the fact that the transition can be overwhelming. By doing the research upfront, you are less likely to panic if the transition is hard in the first few months. Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Follow other living tiny or full-time RV travel families on Instagram Some popular hashtags to explore are: #fulltimefamilies, #homeiswhereyouparkit, #tinyhouseliving, and #homeonwheels

  2. Read up on living tiny, whether that’s books, blogs, or even a magazine. A few good choices are: the Tiny House Book Series by a series of tiny living authors, a Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV by Alyssa Padgett and ROVA magazine.

  3. Attend a tiny living convention, such as: Tiny House and Simple Living Jamboree, Tiny House Conference, or a Full-Time Families Meet-Up

  4. Seek Advice from someone who is currently or has lived the tiny house lifestyle with their family

Taking the Leap

You will never know though until you take the leap and try living tiny for yourself. The benefits are numerous, and downsizing could radically change your life! We are so grateful for how close our family has become, the places we’ve seen, and the money we’ve saved. I am so less stressed living this way, and I finally am living in a way that reflects my values of simplicity, time in nature, and close connections with my kids and husband. I want the same for you.

If reading this has you all amped up for living tiny, let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

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