I’m so sorry to all of the people who have been wanting updates on how it’s all gone. We’ve been spending so much time on getting the bus ready to move in, then moving in, then dealing with all of the things we didn’t think about before we moved in, that we’ve neglected to update the blog post. So, to keep it short, we moved in around the end of February, and we’re now experiencing our first winter in the bus. It’s…bracing. However we feel like we’re becoming more resilient and in touch with our surroundings. After all, when you live in a bus, the outside environment is never more than three meters away at any given point 🙂 I’m sure you’re all waiting for some pictures anyway, so here they are!
Not a bad view. You can see our swish air-conditioner on the back. The heating element isn’t much to write home about but the cool will be very welcome in summer. So, to some photos of the inside. First off, the kitchen. The first one is just as we moved and the remainder are after we put all of our stuff in.
I’ve actually found that I’ve been doing a lot more cooking in the bus than I did in the house. I think it’s mainly to do with the fact that my family are all very close by, and so I’m not isolated in a different room in the house, I can cook and still hang out with my favourite people at the same time. Also, being able to see exactly what we have due to the open shelves means I’m more inspired to be creative. I haven’t had many complaints yet 🙂
Next are our sleeping areas at the back. We’ve made some really cosy places and with the block out curtains up, we stay really toasty at night, even in the 1 or 2 degree winter nights we’ve been having.
This is our queen bed for B and me at the back. The girls both have a single bed. Below is the side view of our big bed, with the little medicine cabinet that is on the shared wall between our bed and I’s sleeping nook.
So then on to the girl’s beds. Q is only with us for one weekend a fortnight, so for the time that she’s not here, her bed becomes a play area and a place to keep stuff prior to putting it away, like clean washing etc. Under I’s sleeping nook are tubs that contain all of our clothes. Q’s bed platform is on hinges, as is our queen, and there is storage underneath.
The girls have all of their toys in tubs that stay outside under a marquee, that you can see through the window of our bedroom at the back of the bus. They’re allowed to have one or two (at the most) tubs inside at any given point and if they want to bring a different one in, they have to take out the earlier ones. You can see a couple of tubs on the floor of the living space in the picture above, as they were playing with them at the time. However, normally the walkway is clear, apart from having to step over Snowy the German Shepherd. It’s a big change from their bedrooms being strewn with toys at all times and us having to pick our way through. They’ve adapted really well though with a minimum of pouting.
Below is a close up of our comfy couch, which doubles as another bed, should someone stay over. It’s where we spend a lot of our time this winter and fits all of us on there for watching movies or listening to music. It’s a pretty nice cuddle-space.
We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about redundancies. As we hope to be off-grid completely by the end of the year, and we spent quite a few days last winter without power due to storms bringing trees down and knocking out power lines. In our modern, three bedroom house we were freezing. No electricity meant no lights, no cooking (it was an electric stove), loss of all the things in the fridge and freezer, no heating as even though it was a ducted gas system, without electricity to power the fans, it was useless. So, whilst we’re still on-grid due to one 10amp power lead coming into the bus, we’re currently off-grid for water, thanks to an enormous water tank near our bus, off-grid for gas as we only use a small gas-bottle that powers our stove and cooktop. Within the next month we plan to install a tiny wood stove for heat and our 24volt bus batteries currently power our fridge/freezer and our LED lights. We’ve lost power briefly a couple of times already this winter but our lights and fridge stay on, so we barely noticed. So, once the heater is installed, we’ve only got our solar array to sort out by next winter and we should be completely off-grid and not dependent on anyone else for our basic needs, energy wise. Energy sovereignty is quite important to us.
One of the most recent improvements to our comfort has been to replace the bus doors a couple of weeks ago with a proper door. The original bus doors didn’t seal properly so we were just bleeding heat out at night and also Snowy would barge her way out in the middle of the night to go hang out with the wombat that lives near us and then the doors would be open until one of us stumbled out to shut them. So, I sourced a beautiful old solid cedar door from Gumtree and we had it installed, complete with a dog door for Snowy to come in and out as she chooses. I’ve since painted the wood around it white to match the bus on the outside and we’re paneling the inside with our pressed metal so it looks very medieval. We noticed a great improvement straight away in our heat retention.
So all in all, the transition to tiny living has actually been easier than we envisaged. We had to get rid of sooooo much stuff, and we’ve vowed never to accumulate so much crap again. We know where everything is now, it all has a place and every weekend sees us putting more things away that we thought we were going to need but found out we didn’t. We feel secure that we have a comfortable home (with wireless internet so we can still use all of our gadgets) and are well on our way to being as self sufficient as possible. It gives us more time to spend with the people we love and engage in our community as we’re not trying to service an enormous mortgage or paying a large amount in rent and we feel a deep sense of satisfaction, sitting together on the couch late at night, after the girls are asleep, drinking a glass of wine and looking around the cosy space we’ve created. If you’re thinking of doing something similar, we’d say go for it. We don’t regret it in the least.