Not a dig@the lifestyle (that would be dumb, since it’s mine!) this post is for those interested in both sides of the MH story. I feel we are fearful of seeming “critical” on social media these days, but there really is a vast difference between being a dick or stating things you’ve experienced / observed.
I think there’s gotta be a few things we ALL have found take some time to adjust to, when moving to full time MH living, and this is my list:
SPACE (or lack of)
Actually I wonder if I should use the word chaos, rather than space, in the ‘headline’. Cos while I kind of knew the ‘chaos” aspect could be an issue for me, I truly didn’t know how much of one it was to be, ‘til doing it.
I have seen so many people discuss downsizing as they prepare for this lifestyle, so I think it is a biggie for many of us.
When you buy a motor-home it is probably gonna be EMPTY! So, when you view the pics, it looks so spacious and you go “WOW, that is so cool! Look at that! I SO can live in that!”
Then ya buy it and fill it with your life!
I do not have a lot of ‘doo dads’, nik naks etc. I am not a junk / treasure or trinket collector. I don’t have stuff that needs a sill, shelf or space on which to perch. Or perhaps I should say that if it isn’t useful (OK OK, we prolly need to leave the animals out of this k! hehe) or used often: it is gone-burger. I don’t have a single thing hanging on the walls. Except for soap dispensers and a towel rail! I sold / stored my art collection – am doing the minimalist thing there, for sure!
As you can imagine, a tiny space gets chaotic / messy very easily. I went from quite a large house, complete with high stud, 200 or so sqm I think it was (I also had a ton of space outside too) to 12m (in entirety!) I can reach the ceiling of my “home” without even having to tip toe, in my “house”, I couldn’t reach the ceiling using a ladder!
Neatly tying in with the small space chaos thing is this: I have seen many people say “oh it’s so easy to clean a MH ”. Well to them I say a big giant (albeit slightly envious) “hooey!” And Imma chuck in some bollocks for good measure 😉
Granted, my assortment of animals does not make having a spotless living space thing, thaaaaaaaaaat easy. But I am not merely talking about clean, I am talking about tidy, ordered.. non-chaotic.
Cos when you have less space, you generally need to *upcycle* said less space.
“Eh, wot, I hear you say?”
Well let’s see if I can explain with some examples:
When I lived in my house, I had a couple of spare rooms, they were nice. Complete with big beds, all made up ready for visitors. They had a couch or arm chair, a chest of drawers, bedside tables, lamps etc.
I did not store my laundry basket, my office supplies, dog food bowls, (dog) fish oil tablets, baking trays / cooling racks, wooden chopping board, bag of onions, eggs, bread, 5kg bag of walnuts waiting to be shelled, electric fry pan and sandwich press on the bed in my spare room.
I do store these items (and more!) on the top bunk (“spare bed”) in my MH.
Nor did I store my office chair on my drivers seat (I didn’t have one in my house tbf, haha) or my vacuum cleaner, mop & broom in my shower alongside my shampoo, conditioner and such.
In a house, most items have their space – where they ‘belong’. In a motorhome, every space must be useful, and of course we all use ‘em differently but this is something I have to say I do struggle with at times.
And I have OODLES of space / storage compared to some MHs, which makes me SO glad I opted to get the biggest I could.
Stuff is a biggie!
You will get rid of stuff you should keep and you will keep stuff you don’t end up needing. Probably self-explanatory. Luckily, I had stored the bulk of my stuff, so when I realised I *could* use my sammie press or my electric fry pan – I simply hauled ‘em out of storage and bought them aboard.
And I store that stuff on the top bunk next to the office supplies and dog bowls 😉
One of the things I kept too much of was linen. I think 2 sets of sheets is probably sufficient and I prolly don’t need my 10 bath towels but they fit in the cupboard (and are good quality ones!) so they’re staying!
Some additional points going to feature in my “I don’t hate it all the time” post are simmering and include how you have to answer questions from people who just don’t get why you would willingly recreate the cramped feeling of the dorm room you had at boarding school .. 😉
It can be .. hard entertaining in a MH. I guess that’s why so many have awnings, so everyone can sit outside / spread out. But I am a bug-magnet and being outside is a traumatic and exhausting (slap slap jump yelp slap wave: then repeat but add in some cursing) experience! Even walking the dogs I get chomped by greeblies, it is so annoying!
So I can have 4 or 5 people visit (inside) with ease. But add in anymore and it can be a lil bit .. cosy. Esp if the zoo want in on the act 😉 The other aspect of entertaining is that you have your guests seated in your entire living space and by that I mean in your bedroom, kitchen etc. No more can you have a messy kitchen and usher people into a nice tidy living room .. they’re kinda ALL the same space in a MH!
Luckily .. (hmm, luck no – actually, I’ll change that: I shopped around!) I chose a MH with 2 sets of cavity slider doors, so I can shut off the bunk room or the master bedroom .. but for me, it feels claustrophobic when I do that .. so I tend to leave it all open .. And hope people don’t notice that I have a Winnie the pooh blanket on my bed 😃
POOS AND WEES
I think it’s fair to say that something I was not entirely prepared for is that you have to get so very close to your poop.. and to other people’s, too.. No one really can explain this to you, ‘til you’re doing it – they mention hygiene (take gloves and gum boots etc) and they talk of types of loo paper, cleaners / sanitisers etc. They talk etiquette (it’s not the done thing to dump alongside others – and why would you want to!??! Ughhhhhh)
So yeah dump sites and such things are uh.. quite an experience.
Once every 4-5 weeks (I tried that cheap thin loo paper to see if I could go 6-8 weeks but went back to my nice 3 ply, I’d rather do regular empties than use that nasty-ass stuff thank you!) I haul the manor to the closest dump site and proceed to connect my bus via hoses to the council’s sewer system and dispose of the last few weeks of excrement and such delights.
Now, if you are squeamish stop reading now!
OK .. so here’s how it goes for me:
I pull up to the dumpsite. Tell the dogs to be good and wait. Shut off the water pump. Apply gloves, put gumboots on and sally forth..
The tank locker is opened.
A hose is connected to my “waste” tank and then placed into the hole in the ground linking to the council system.
Sometimes the system / location is cleaned by me before using, cos some grot has left it nasty. Sometimes it is just ready to go ..
The “open” lever on my black tank is pulled and I trot upwind – as fast as I can.. I can move quite fast at times, it turns out 😉
I was at this exact stage last “run” when someone came around the MM and asked if they could dump their cassette at the same time.
I said “by all means, please .. uh, help yourself / have fun” .. while taking a few more steps back .. (they’d driven in a car and didn’t wanna sit and wait for me to finish .. generally if another MH pulls in behind you, they go do the refill potable water thing down the road first .. ) But she was clearly not fazed or in a hurry.
What was gorgeous was the slightly awkward chit chat she attempted, while she sloshed her poos and wees into the drain alongside mine (Oh I TOLD you not to read if squiffy heheh) 😃
So yeah, dump sites and an almost “new-born Mum” type of obsession with all things faecal isn’t something I’d fully comprehended, prior to buying a MH.
I touched on how many people say that it’s easy to keep a MH clean.
Rotten liars! hehe
I did not plan on cleaning for a minimum of 1-2 hours a day, when I got my MH. But that is the reality of it for me.. Yes, I hear ya: “duh, woman you have a zoo on board” Would I be without my zoo? Hell no..
And so I have adapted / accepted & try not to lose my mind completely (esp as this has been the wettest winter ever!) and instead have developed ways of minimising and handling the mess.
I had a cleaner, before buying my MH. I also had a robot vacuum cleaner. And those 2 things made life very nice for me.. I have neither now! If I had space, I’d chuck a wee (no poo tho!) pity party 😉 cos the cleaning thing really does get a bit tedious.
But something to think about, when embarking on this lifestyle. For example, can you vacuum for 2 hours or 2 minutes, before your batteries give out on you?
TEMPERATURE (and the weather)
This is another subject I am sure not all of us think about before embarking on our new lifestyle..
I often say my bus is like a menopausal woman. We can go from pleasantly cool to melting down – in a matter of seconds, it feels like. It’s a tin can on wheels, go figure! Also, since buying my MH I have become obsessed with the weather. As already mentioned: this has been the wettest winter in history (cheers, universe: You suck!) and I got mine during autumn so haven’t even seen what summer will be like .. but the words “omg horrid” come to mind? I guess we shall see!
On a plus note, it is easy to heat a small space, and with my diesel heater – warmth was no problem over winter, it was lovely and toasty aboard the MM.
One thing I have learned is it is easier to keep the ambient temperature down, rather than try to cool the bus down. So, on a hot day: draw those blinds / shut out the sun and you might survive – very much reminds me of living in PNG, in that regard.
I am curious about how bad cooking could be in summer? Not done a summer in the MM yet but I think I can see why so many motor-homers have BBQs. i.e.; cook outside. I baked a quiche yesterday, and it wasn’t that warm of a day. But the bus heated up rather a lot! Think my bread making experiments will be a 100% winter exercise 😉 Even using the stove top warms the bus up quickly! Lots of salads and sarnies ahead, obviously!
What bought on this negative post?
Well .. a few things but the main one is that I belong to a few online Motorhome groups / forums. And they are an amazing source of advice & expertise (plus as an unexpected bonus: I’m making some really neat friendships!) But every now an’ then I see a post that leaves me .. gemfloxed..
A new member will post: “Considering buy a MH for full time living, appreciate your insights.”
Some replies will be detailed, insightful and it’s obvious a lot of thought has gone into the comment. Others will be short / to the point, and yet others will contain a cutesy quote about life being short etc.
So yeah I suppose the post doesn’t leave me perplexed, moreso the comments that follow.
Cos no one ever admits that sometimes living in a motorhome sucks!
i.e.; no one mentions the things they had to adapt to . . the things they struggle/d with.
I get the whole “don’t be negative” thing. But seriously, there’s a vast difference between being pragmatic or real/honest, vs. waxing lyrical about how wonderful everything *always* is. Somewhere in the middle is what I try to deliver, if I comment on these types of posts.
The comments (chucked out like minties at a lolly scramble) kinda go like: “Oh just do it!” “You only live once!” “Life is short!” or my all time fave: “Don’t over think it”.
But for me, I wanna say: “Omigosh.. think think and think some more, please, people!”
Hence this *negative* post!
Cos from where I sit? I feel it’s really important to understand, (just like living in a house without wheels), there are challenges to face. It aint always a laugh a minute. It’s not just picturesque sunsets, happy hours, strolls around scenic spots or e-bike rides thru gorgeous glades.
Sometimes it can suck..
Anyway, I am on the brink of rambling so will shut up and post this. If you’re reading, and are motorhoming, what is something you’ve learned that you didn’t even consider before embarking on this lifestyle?
Please post it in the comments .. Wouldn’t it be great to share, and help others with these insights!
BTW, did you know that the square footage of an average MH is a mere 7-9 times larger than a coffin? Just thought I’d share that random snippet..