Composting on the Road…Help!

One of the best things about staying at the farm was their giant compost pile! Whenever I have access to a compost pile, I am absolutely giddy. You can imagine how many scraps and peels we produce while eating raw…it’s amazing. I try to keep it, so we can dump it strategically, but not everywhere we are staying has a compost pile. We’ve been very blessed that FOUR families have had compost piles this month…it’s been great being able to dump it.

However, this isn’t always the case. We are currently searching for a composting solution that is RV friendly! We found the NatureMill…and that is my DREAM composter! I saw one in person at Dwell Smart in Charleston, and oooooh how I loved it! I want one desperately…but alas, they are a little too spendy for our little budget. If you are looking for a composting solution for a small space, do check it out!

I have also looked into vermicomposting, but found that the temps need to stay in a range that probably isn’t do-able in the heat of the summer. I have even tried collecting it in bags and bringing it to coops, etc. who compost, but most will not take it unless it’s their own scraps.

We need your help! If you have solutions for us, we’d love to hear them. We need a way to store the scraps until we find a compost pile…or, preferably a way to compost it ourselves. C’mon all you green thinkin’ people…I know you have ideas!

Living Deliberately

One of the best things about living in a small space and living on the road is that it helps us to live deliberately. We can no longer float through the day without thinking…everything we do requires us to act with the future in mind.

Water Consumption
There are no long, luxurious showers here. We have a 6 gallon hot water heater, so showers are now “in and out”. There is a quick shut-off valve on the shower head, so you can pause the water to shave, lather, etc. Very handy. When it comes to baths…we fill it up just enough for Bella to get clean and have some fun. After she is done, I will often use her same bathwater and rinse off. Even with these “limitations”…showers and baths in the RV are a wonderful treat. I’m kind of a shower snob…I love good water pressure and HOT showers, and the RV has both. There is also a sunlight in the top, so it’s nice and cheery. Even Matt, who is 6’5″ can kind of shower in it. :) He’s a good sport.

When you know exactly how much water you have in your tank (40 gallons full), it’s much easier to conserve it. It’s not like living in a house where leaving the water running while you’re brushing your teeth has no immediate consequence. I’m always amazed when I go to the bathroom in a “normal” toilet. Sometimes after I flush, I just stare at it as it fills up with all of that water…mind boggling. :) When you flush the RV toilet, it’s just “swoosh!” and it’s gone. So little water. I like it.

We are more aware of what we are putting in the dirty laundry…especially if we’re going to be washing it in the WonderClean. We wear clothing over and over until it truly needs to be washed, as opposed to just taking it off at the end of the day and washing it regardless (3- year- old girls LOVE to change clothes 5 times a day, so this is sometimes a challenge! As I am writing this, she just brought out 3 dresses to get ready for her “party”). We’ve only been producing one load a week…which is WAY less than when we had laundry facilities whenever we wanted them.

I’ve had many people ask me to talk about what we have in our wardrobe now that we have limited space. It’s funny how your perspective changes over time. It seems like we still have A LOT of clothes, but when I compare it to what we used to have when living in our house or even compare it to someone else’s closet…it’s pretty minimal. Matt and I share a small closet and Bella has her own. I keep more than just the bare minimums…especially in the summer when you’re sweating all day, more changes of clothes are nice. We do have some of our winter coats/clothes stored under our bed. Clothes don’t have to take up a lot of space…especially if you store them correctly. We hang everything…and I hang 2-3 skirts on one hanger and 2 pairs of pants on one hanger…a big space saver. We have our shoes in a hanging shoe organizer. Shoes are space killers. So we don’t have many. The key is to pick shoes that are versatile and comfy so you can wear them on any occasion. We LOVE our Chacos!

When you don’t have a regular “payday”…you MUST live deliberately! We don’t have a nest egg stashed away for this trip…we are working (see 2nd question of FAQ) and saving as we go. Our goal is to have 2 months of living expenses in our account at all times, but even that is sometimes hard. An important concept that I’ve learned is the power of DELAY. When there is something that I want…even something as small as a fancy coffee…I ask myself if that is REALLY what I want to spend our money on…and do I have to splurge on that treat right NOW? The answer is usually no. Especially when it comes to coffee…I would much rather wait until it’s a really special occasion (out with friends, on a date, etc) so that I can enjoy it thoroughly and not have it become an everyday thing. We went through a big Dave Ramsey kick and learned how to budget and live with cash…it definitely taught us how to spend deliberately.

Energy Use
After moving into the RV, I learned very quickly how much I love electricity :) I would often forget that we weren’t plugged in and then be baffled as to why my computer wasn’t charging. It’s so easy to take it for granted when have a seemingly endless supply of it in a house/apt. It’s much easier to keep track of exactly what you are using and when. We use it for our computers, the stereo/DVD player, electric tea kettle, and the air conditioner (when the heat index is 105 degrees as it is now…we sure LOVE the AC!). Most of the lights run off of solar/battery…I do have a few lamps that are electric. The small fridge runs on electric or gas, and was brand new when we bought it (so it’s efficient). We haven’t had to boondock (no hookups) very much yet…but I suspect we will as soon as soon as we start the tour. We are looking into getting an inverter and more batteries for our current solar power setup. We do have a generator, but it runs on gas and it’s pretty loud, so we don’t like to use it. We would love to get a diesel generator someday…and then convert it to run on veggie oil.

Keeping House
It’s essential that we are deliberate about housekeeping in such a small space. When I am cooking, I need to continue putting things away as I go to make room for other things. I go through at least 2 times a day and “tidy” things up. I start in the front and work to the back…grabbing everything that is out of place and putting it back in it’s place. That’s key. Everything MUST have a place. It makes cleaning up so easy. If I find something that doesn’t have a place, I either make a place for it, or it goes out the door. I also make the bed every single day…because it’s in plain sight of the rest of the RV. If the bed is unmade, it makes everything look sloppy. When things look sloppy, I get crabby. Crabby mama in a small RV…not good. :)

Family Unity
Speaking of being crabby… when you’re in a small space, it’s so important that you like the people you’re living with and that they are not crabby! Every morning, we have the chance to deliberately CHOOSE what our attitude will be that day. I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is fun-loving, caring, kind, and always in a good mood. It certainly helps set the tone for the entire family! It would be easy to lose patience in such a small space…but we LOVE being together and we are used to being with each other 24/7. I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time together.