Packing Up for Tiny Living

We dived head first into this new life by buying a bus, now we have to figure out how to fit into a bus and enjoy a life of minimalism.  It was time to downsize again, but in a much more extreme fashion. Our plan is simple:

  1. Buy  a bus

  2. Pack everything we own into the bus

  3. Glamp across the country

  4. Stop in the Midwest

  5. Convert to a Tiny Home

  6. Travel Full-time

But each of these steps is a process within itself.  Our bus is less than 300 sq ft, so we had to start by getting rid of a lot of stuff.

Minimalist Wardrobe

When you put yourself into a situation like this, you realize there are a lot of things you hold onto that you really don’t need or use.  For both of us our wardrobes were such places. We’ve been keeping clothes from 20 + yrs ago, just in case we put on weight, or lose weight, or need that green dragon jacket.  Well, the fact of the matter is that these clothes are just sitting there taking up space. Don was the first one to dive in and pair down his wardrobe with a minimalist approach.  These are the steps he took:

  1. Take all your clothes out of the closet and put them into a big pile. 
  2. Go through the clothes one piece at a time.  If they don’t fit currently, have holes in them or you haven’t worn them in years just get rid of them.  Forget about the “some day” and the “maybe if”, rather hold onto the clothes you really love, feel comfortable in and wear regularly.  You’ll probably find some pieces you get sentimental over, that’s okay. As Marie Kondo says, if it sparks joy then hold onto it!
  3. As you go through your clothes organize them into piles.  What you will keep, what you will donate and what you can turn into rags.
  4. Pack away your clothes neatly and assess what you have left .  You may find the first time round you still kept more than you really need.   

I followed Don in this minimizing process. We both lived with these choices for a little while, then found we didn’t miss the clothes we got rid of and were able to minimize even more.

BuyNothingProject.org

We continued this approach throughout our condo.  We organized our things into what we would keep (and could fit into the bus) and what we would pack away to store for our future home.  We donated and sold a lot of furniture and only held onto a few things as our free storage place is not that big, and paying for storage over a couple years seems like a waste of money.  With so many things to get rid of, I was happy to be a part of the Buy Nothing Project.  

Buy Nothing is a social network on Facebook of your neighbors.  You give, receive, lend, share and express gratitude while getting to know your community.  It’s definitely my favorite Facebook group. If you are not a part of this group yet, I highly recommend you join!  If it’s not in your neighborhood yet, start it up! I was so happy to give away kitchenware, furniture, arts and crafts, clothes, jewelry and much more to the group and see their joy at receiving something they wanted for free. We too were able to benefit from this group in sourcing things we needed.  It’s mutually beneficial, saved us money and best of all prevented a lot of waste. We loved getting to know our neighbors, I only wish I had found this group sooner! 

Rehabitips for Eco-Conscious Moving

Moving can create a lot of extra waste, so we did our best to reuse and recycle wherever possible. These are our tips:

  1. Save all your mailers/bubble wrap envelopes from packages and reuse them for packing fragile items
  2. Reuse boxes.  Collect the boxes you receive packages in, or ask in your local Buy Nothing Group for other peoples boxes and bubble wrap from packages they receive.  A lot of stores will give you their boxes after they receive their deliveries.  Craigslist is another good source for free boxes.
  3. We kept old bedding, towels and clothes to use for extra padding in packing.  With some items we even used our current towels and bedding. You have to pack them anyway, so why not use them instead of bubble wrap.
  4. Save junk mail newspapers and paper grocery bags for wrapping fragile items
Moving often becomes like spring cleaning, you run into household hazardous waste items you have kept as you didn’t know how to dispose of them properly. So take this time to find a hazardous waste recycling center and dispose of these items responsibly.

Moving Day

We planned to move in our bus cross country, so we packed all our belongings into the luggage bays below and the back of the bus.  Then with a little help from Don’s brothers we built a temporary wall in the bus. This wall helped keep our cats out of the box area and secured things in place for bumpy roads.  In the front of the bus we could fit our King size bed, a table and a couple coolers for food. With those securly bungie down and all our overhead bins secured, that was all we needed for this glamping trip.  

I got set up in our Jeep with our 3 cats for the drive, Don in the bus and off we headed for our week long drive to the Midwest.

 

Up Next
We drive to the Midwest and learn the ups and downs of buslife!

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Buy Nothing Project
Buy Nothing Project offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.

​​Earth 911 Recycling Search
​​With over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings, they maintain one of North America's most extensive recycling databases.

Fact Check

Marie Kondo  - KonMari Method

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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