How to Stay Sane Living Tiny with 6

We have 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 baby and 2 boxers living in our converted city bus. So, as you can imagine, it turns into a hot mess in about 3 seconds, several times a day! There are a few things I have learned that help everyone stay calm, cool and collected about said mess, and by everyone I mean me (Jessica).

To start, I do not handle clutter well. Our old sticks and bricks house was 1,100 sq ft, but had NO storage. It was very frustrating. I was always stressed trying to find room for all our stuff and spent my days piling junk together and moving it somewhere else in the house, then only to remove it the next day. It was a lot of fun. So, with this experience of clutter I was a bit nervous to move into roughly 250 sq ft with my crew and our piles of junk. So, let me start with the first (& probably most important) part of staying sane.

Get rid of your stuff! Sounds easy, right? Yeah this was much harder than I anticipated. I am a minimalist at heart and get a thrill out of donating things to others. Our 3 year old regularly ‘takes things to Goodwill’ in his play! So, yeah, we spend a lot of time decluttering 🙂 I expected the decluttering part of our journey to be the easiest for me, but man oh man was I wrong. There simply was too much stuff! And we were not hoarders by any means. I was actually told several times before we moved that we didn’t own anything, lol! I loved hearing that. But when it comes time to have that house 100% empty, it is shocking how many more tiny little annoying items you are faced with.  (Practical tip #1) A great suggestion I read a few years ago was to empty out a draw a day (or week). This helped me greatly when we were approaching selling the house and I was overwhelmed with how to handle the move. I would pick a draw and 100% empty it and go from there. (Practical tip #2) Another suggestion: Make a pile or take note of certain items and set a time frame (3 days, 1 week, 1 month) and if you do not use them within that time frame, they are out!

Secondly, pick up as you go. This might seem like common sense, but I am experiencing the importance of it like never before. If the kids are playing in our room, then I try to make sure those toys are put away before we move to playing outside or running errands. Also, this relates to laundry and random needed items. I no longer can do laundry and fold later. I fold and put away our laundry right away, as a simple laundry basket makes a big impact! Done with the hotspot? Go put it where it belongs right away instead of leaving it for later. Finished with the scissors? Put them in the appropriate drawer. AKA – don’t be lazy! (Practical tip #3 ) Another way to put it: touch it once. Less Junk More Journey gave that tip recently and I love it. Don’t waste your time touching things several times.

Kitchen messes. Is it just me or are these the worst kind of messes?! The aftermath of preparing and eating meals is actually my #1 struggle so far on the bus. (Practical tip #4) I have drastically simplified my meals since moving on and I think that is here to stay. I love baking, but so far the mess has not been worth it (I cannot believe I am saying that). Part of it is also our stage of life. With 2 littles, I barely have time to get the baking done, let alone clean up the accompanied mess. So I am hopeful to get back to more cooking and baking once we are out of the littles phase! To reduce dishes, I am doing my best to finish dishes right after meals, and have everyone use the same utensil and plate/bowl for every meal. (Practical tip #5)It is summer now, so I am also focusing on summer salads that only require chopping and one bowl for preparation. (Practical Tip #6) And, of course, instant pot all day every day! Also, if you cook a meal, make sure it lasts for more than 1 meal! I have always tried to make this a reality but Keep Your Daydream reminded me of this in their most recent video and it is so true. Don’t go through the energy and mess of making a meal, for it to only last one meal. Make an extra serving and freeze it, or use that extra serving to turn into a salad or wrap the next day. Or simply eat the same meal the next day. I like to make the same meal, but the first night its a taco and the second night its a burrito 🙂 Just save yourself some sanity and make your effort go farther for you.

Next, you have to take your organizing seriously. We have lived in the bus for about 3 months and I am still working on organizing. I am taking my time trying to figure out where everything fits, makes the most sense, what angle it can sit at to take up the least amount of space. If you are well organized, and take the time everyday to maintain the organization, then the days flow much smoother. (Practical tip #7,8,9,10) Find storage containers that make the most sense for your space, add lighting so you can see further back, install a pull drawer to utilize the whole space (pull out drawers are THE best), add in smaller containers within your larger containers to manage the larger storage. Get creative for your space! Should you hang something to clear up counter space? Should you reduce decorations so a smaller space appears less cluttered? Should you add more color for an energizing pop? Have fun with the organizing!

Lastly, and very importantly, everything has it’s place. I have heard this a lot throughout my life but always lazily slid by not really abiding by it. I always knew it would be best and help maintain the house but now in the bus, I absolutely cannot get away without implementing this 100%. We still have not found a place for everything as some of our storage is still being built, and it is making things pretty challenging! When everything has its place, the drawers stay organized, you don’t take 30 minutes to find the tape, the kids know where to get their toys and clothes and don’t hound you to help them find what they need, and things are not annoyingly just sitting out on the counter (my pet peeve). Yes, it takes time and effort to ensure everything has its place, but I say spend the time organizing upfront instead of annoyingly searching later, because the time will be spent regardless!

These are just a few ideas and there are so many more. I highly recommend watching Less Junk More Journey’s video 7 Tips for Decluttering a Small Space, great advice in that video!
Do you like organizing or dread it? Do you have any great ideas to share? We would love to hear!

2 thoughts on “How to Stay Sane Living Tiny with 6”

  • I can totally relate to the love of decluttering. This article was great and I know I will be on the journey of having too much stuff soon! The move from 2300sq ft to 750 was hard enough.

    • Love meeting other minimalists 🙂 decluttering down to an RV is not easy, but we are a pretty quick drive and we can have a decluttering party if you need help!

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