The story of how we sold everything we owned (well, most of it!) and moved into an RV in 1 week!
It was March 12, 2021 and I got a text from our landlord asking me to call him to discuss future plans. I knew what those plans were as he had been mentioning selling the house for a couple years now. We knew this was coming but he had been putting it off so that we could work out our own plans. [And I want to make sure to honor him by letting everyone know that he is not one of those terrible landlords that just kicked us out without a moments notice and no care of what would happen to our family.] He kept the rent extremely low when he could have matched the market price. We are forever grateful to them for helping our family have a home in the beginning stages of our life.
So, I told Lacie that we will FINALLY and ACTUALLY be moving. Our landlord has asked us to be out by May 1st so that he can put the house on the market. I was extremely at peace with this, but I assumed Lacie would freak out and stress about what the hell we were going to do. BUT, to my surprise, she took it in stride. We were both at peace and knew that this was a "pushed out of our nest" moment and we could either flap our wings and fly or fall to the ground and... well, you know.
We had a little less than 2 months, we began discussing what we would do. I had started looking at the market in Sun Valley where we were living even though I already knew it would be next to impossible to find something, and even if we did, we would mostly likely not be able to afford it. With no luck in the area, I started searching the Boise area for rentals as well. We had once (or twice) planned on moving there anyway, that is until we decided to buy an Airstream instead. But what little I did find in Boise all had ridiculous expectations for the renter.
We had started to feel hopeless. What were we going to do? We knew we would probably have a transitional period of staying with Lacie's parents down in Shoshone. I hated that thought. Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws, but no one wants to go back and live with parents even if it's their own. Besides the fact that we wouldn't even have our own bedroom, we would have been sleeping out in the living room.
And then, a week or so into the search, I had a thought! "What if we could borrow or rent a trailer from someone to park at Lacie's parents until we find a place??" At least then we would have some privacy and our own space. I mentioned this to Lacie, and she agreed that it wasn't a bad idea. And somewhere along the line the idea came along that we should just buy a trailer ourselves and live in it from here on out. "of course, that's brilliant!" As soon as this idea hit us, we were both 100% on board, no hesitation. We knew deep down that this was the way forward. AND we were both excited about it. IT JUST MADE SENSE. We were planning to do the RV Life anyway once we were done renovating the Airstream. Why not start now?
During this whole process, Lacie was talking to one of her best friends, Katherine, who lives in Boise and owns a Bridal shop. Her and Lacie are always scheming and coming up with random business ideas and wanting to work together. They started talking about Lacie helping out at the bridal shop. Katherine just happens to have a couple acres of land and a hookup for RVs. "You guys can just park your RV on our property!"
So on March 24th, just TWO WEEKS after being notified of our moving date. We headed down to Boise for the weekend to discuss what it would look like to park our RV on their property and for Lacie to work at the Bridal shop. And, oh yeah, in the midst of all this Parker broke his arm while skiing so we also went down for his checkup. And we did a lot of RV shopping. Our intention was to come back to Sun Valley with an RV. We went to a couple RV dealers, and found a style we really liked. We almost bought a brand new one but the price was just out of our budget.
Then my buddy, Vlad, sent me a link to one that is cousin was selling. So I went down to look at it on Friday morning. It was perfect. It had the bunk room in the back for the kids which was a big thing we wanted. So I showed Lacie, and she was happy with the photos and we immediately started applying for a loan. It was a long and stressful process but we finally got approved on Saturday afternoon so we went down on Sunday to do a full inspection of the trailer as a family and make sure it was the one we wanted. We put a deposit on it but we'd have to wait for all the paperwork to go through before we could make the full purchase. So we headed back home with the intention of coming back on Monday to pick it up. But Monday ended up having gust of wind up to 60 MPH! so we made the wise decision to wait until Tuesday.
We brought the trailer home on Tuesday March 30th. Our plan was to be out of the house before the next month's rent was due one April 5th, which was the following Monday. That's right. We moved up the moving date by 1 MONTH! We had 1 week to sell all our stuff and move into a 250 sq ft trailer. 😨
We had quite the challenge ahead of us, and although Lacie doubted we'd be able to pull it off. I knew there was no option to fail. I did not want to pay another month of rent when that would cover 3 months of payments on our new trailer!
To keep or not to keep, that is the question! and the answer is not to keep...
So we had a yard sale, sold as much as we could and gave the rest away. We moved our stuff into the trailer to see what all we could fit and what made sense to keep or not to keep. I'm always on the side of not to keep. The less stuff we have the better. After all, what you own ends up owning you. If it doesn't bring value or have a function in our life, I say get rid of it!
April 7th, two days after our goal move out date, we are finally done. Our house is scrubbed clean and ready for our landlord to sell. We was an amazingly exhausting and stressful process but we did it. With all that we own now contained in a 34ft trailer, we head down to Lacie's parent's house for a week before we transition over to Boise. Lacie starts her new job at the Bridal shop but we need some time to organize everything in the trailer and spend time with Family before we move 2 hours away.
DAY 1 OF RV LIFE
The first night in the trailer was great, we were all so exhausted that we slept hard. And then we woke up in the morning and it was 40 something degrees INSIDE the RV. Our furnace had stopped working at some point in the night. Everyone was freezing and the kids came into our bed to get warm. WELCOME TO RV LIFE, FAM. 😂
After some quick youtube searches we do a little investigating and realize it's probably the flame sensor that went out. We borrowed an electric space heater to keep it warm until we can get the furnace fixed. It does the job.
We still have stuff everywhere. We are just using the house for things like cooking, taking showers, etc. The challenge now is to figure out where things go and still get rid of the stuff we don't really need.
We woke up freezing again because I forgot to turn the water heater off, and that with the space heater was drawing to many amps and tripped the circuit in the house, which was also running the furnace in the house. oy vey. haha these are the moments you really feel alive!
yes, you can breath a sigh of relief because I will not be talking about every single day. Mostly cause I can't remember exactly what happened every day, and probably because nothing significant happened on those days.
But, my friends, on Day 5 I pulled out the outside kitchen drawer only to find a puddle of water. That's right. The pipes running to that tiny little sink were leaking right at the sink because of the pressure when the drawer was pulled out. So I decided to just take the drawer and sink out completely as that was a feature we just didn't see ourselves using. I closed off the pipes and not we have more storage space. When life gives you lemons... am I right!?
This was an exciting day for us because our new mattress arrived! We sold our Purple mattress because it was too big and heavy, and also because we learned about it being toxic and didn't want to sleep on a toxic mattress anymore.
We bought ourselves a mattress from Brentwood Home, which is made out of clean, non-toxic materials and so far, we are super happy with it.
There were sliding doors in our bedroom. That's right, I said were. There are not anymore. Lacie's door was pretty tough to get open and I noticed it was because the little piece holding it up was too high. So I moved it lower and as I did this the track started falling out of the ceiling. It was at this point I realized why that piece was so high it was because someone had moved it up to hold the door up and keep it from falling out of the ceiling.
Anyway, the more I tried to fix it the more it fell out of the ceiling. So we said "screw it" (or unscrew it) and took the whole thing out. We are discovering just how cheaply these things are made and are glad that this is only temporary until we get the Airstream done.
On the bright side, we removed about 60lbs of weight by taking those doors out. We have since replaced them with curtains.
Time to move to Boise!
Now that all our stuff is in the trailer we have no idea how heavy it is and the suburban was already struggling to pull it when it was empty. So we asked a friend who has a big truck to pull it to Boise for us. And we are super grateful to Ariel from @her.uncommon.adventure for helping us out!
Before we head out of town, we need to lose some weight by dumping our waste tanks. I made Lacie do it so she could learn the process. It was pretty funny to watch.
2 hours later we arrived to our new spot in Boise. We got settled and enjoyed a good nights rest.
DAY 10 - 17
Now that we are parked where we will be staying for the next year or so we can really get to work making this trailer into our home. We no longer have the support of Lacie's parents house so they first thing I did was clean up the kitchen so that we can start cooking in here. BECAUSE BREAKFAST. 🥞
The kids slept on the couch the first week, mainly because of Parker's broken arm we didn't want him climbing and up down the ladder to get to his bunk, and also because the bunks had no guard rails. That we first priority on the list. So I ran down to Lowe's, grabbed some lightweight lumber, pulled out the skil saw and made the first modifications to our yet unnamed trailer. The kids are super pumped to finally be able to sleep in their new, awesome bunkbeds.
Will Lacie survive?!
I had a shoot scheduled for 3 days so I will be back in Sun Valley for it, leaving Lacie and the kids to fend for themselves. I am sure Lacie will be fine. Right?
Well pretty much as soon as I leave, the gray tank says it is full. How can this be?! We went it entire week without filling it up! Oh yeah... it's because we were mostly using the house. And apparently the water goes by at 2-3 gallons per MINUTE! Something we privileged first worlders don't have to think about. So I am gone, and Lacie has no way of dumping the gray tank because we can't pull the trailer to a dump site, nor do we want to do that. Our hosts suggest we use a port-o-potty company to come suck out the tanks. So I call around and find out that they want around $200 per dump! Ok, that's not happening.
Another friend of ours, who also lives in an RV told us about these portable waste tanks on wheels. Doesn't sound enjoyable. Here's the thing though, Our friends have the dump site on their property, we just aren't parked close enough to hookup straight to it with the sewer hose. So getting a portable waste tank makes the most sense. Just not the most fun thing in the world. But YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO.
So I ordered a 36 gallon tank from Amazon and it arrived a day or two after I got back from Sun Valley. Now we can dump the tanks into this tank, wheel it over to the dump site and get rid of it. Now that we have gotten into the rhythm of RV life, we've found that we use about 10-13 gallons of water a day on average. That fills up our 39 gallon gray tank in about 3 days. In that time our black tank usually only gets half full. So I usually make a trip to the dump site twice a week for the gray and once a week for the black. Hey, it's a crappy job but... you know.
Ok, so we are super grateful we found this trailer and believe everything worked out for us to get by the grace of god. BUT the whole reason we want an airstream is because of how much better they are made. After living in this thing for a bit, I am seeing the cheapness of the materials and how it's manufactured. And I get it, this isn't the most luxurious model... anyway, I am just really glad our next home will be built by us and we can make it to last.
This thing also isn't set up for full time living, which we didn't expect it to be, but we need a little more storage space than your average camper. One of the first things I did to this trailer was get rid of that modern device that is the epitome of American laziness and stupidity; the microwave. If you still use a microwave to NUKE your food, do yourself a huge favor and huck that junk in the garbage. But I digress.... Now that the block of wasted space is out, we have a ton more storage in our kitchen. But we need to add some shelves to make it truly useable.
I have become OBSESSED with utilizing ever nook and cranny in this place. Scouring the internet for tips and tricks on maximizing RV storage space. Tearing things out, adding things in. We slowly get things off the floor and into the cabinets. 👍
I don't know if I told you, but our friends property is about 2 acres and most of it is a big pasture with a barn and a chicken coop. They used to have Alpacas on it but they are gone and they just bought horses a couple days ago. We also decided to co-parent chickens with them so we can have farm fresh eggs! The problem is one of the Alpacas some how broke the gate on the coop and repairs need to be made before we can get the chickens. So I made the necessary repairs with the help of Chris (Katherine's husband) and we ran down to the hatchery to get chickens.
Honestly, this place was disgusting. Hundreds of chickens crammed into a dirty hen house with no sunlight, and fed corn and soy... I was glad we were taking some of them away to a better life. We grabbed 6 Rhode Island Reds because they are supposed to lay about 2 eggs a day. 4 Americanos because their eggs are blue, and 2 Barred Rock's because they eat mice I guess?? haha. Anyway, not we have 12 chickens to bring back to the coop.
It was funny watching them come out of the box and into the coop, they had no idea what was going on. We kept them in the coop for a couple of days so they could become acclimated and make it their new home. Once we opened the door to the pasture it took them a while to come out. It was funny watching them because I am pretty sure they have never seen green grass or sunlight before. We used meal worms to lure them out and start their foraging/hunting instinct.
Now the chickens are getting braver and venturing all around pasture. Over the couple of weeks since we've had them we have watched the egg yolks go from a bright, pale yellow to a deep, rich orange because of their change in diet and environment, their eggs are much healthier and more nutrient dense.
Even though I told them not too, Lacie and Katherine bought 3 little chicks (and later went back for two more) for the kids. So now we have babies to take care of. I told them they have to be responsible for them but somehow I end up doing all the work....
Well, we made it! We survived our first 30 days of RV life. There were a lot of challenges, a lot of growth, but also a lot of fun. We honestly love this simpler way of living. I love not having so much stuff. Once you get rid of all that extra stuff you realize you never needed it in the first place. It was all mostly frivolous, modern conveniences. And now that they are gone, we actually feel more free.
The kids play outside more, which is amazing. Not that they didn't go outside before but now they are out all the time and I don't think I have heard a single "I'm bored!". They love their new, SMALLER bedroom.
The hardest things have been just figuring out where to put stuff. (But to be honest, we had that problem even in our bigger house... 😂 ) and it's been a big adjustment to learn to use less water. We shower less(which is actually healthier anyway) and we do dishes differently. We are learning to work with the small space, how to navigate only having one, tiny bathroom.
I am writing this a couple weeks after Day 30, and we are getting into the heat of the summer. Another challenge we encountered, (and of course it happened to Lacie while I was away in Sun Valley for several days) was that it got so hot that our AC kept tripping the circuit breaker on the house. Now this wouldn't happen under most circumstances but since we are so far from the house, we had to run 125ft of cord across the lawn. It was only 15 amps and with the length we lose a couple amps, combined with the heat apparently that is a recipe for disaster. So Lacie had to go through 100 degree weather with no AC. Needless to say, she had to take all our food into the house so it didn't spoil and she also slept in the house until we got a 30 amp cord in the mail. (and those things are not cheap BTW). So all this to say, make sure you have adequate power supply, especially in the summer.
Overall we are absolutely loving our new RV life. It's been a change we have needed for a while. We love where we get to park for now, and we love being in the Boise area. It's not the easiest way to live but nothing good is ever easy. It's not the most glamorous (See day 10-17), but it sure is more simple and free.