Moving into a mobile home: This is how simple I live with my family

My family and I live happily in an RV.
Christian Axis

Christian Aksense lives in an RV with his wife and two children. Moving from a home to a small space wasn’t always easy, he says.

For Business Insider, he wrote how they were. And above all, learn what they really need and what is not.

There is a particularly important rule: if you buy something new, it is imperative to buy an old one. It’s not a perfect system, but it works well enough.

As of January 2014, my wife and I had a 2-year-old daughter (son was on the way), a house in a Florida suburb, two full-time jobs, and a few additional part-time jobs. However, our mountain of debt was enormous. So we signed up for a debt counseling program and within two years had paid off everything except for our house and a car.

I also had a neck injury at the time when I was still working as a firefighter and paramedic. Up until this point I loved my career. But I didn’t like the idea of ​​spending another 15 years in an office in Florida because of my injury. Shortly thereafter we decided to sell our house and started looking for cheaper housing options. The purchase decision fell on a used mobile home. Moving from home to mobile seemed impossible at first – but somehow we made it through.

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We set ourselves small but achievable goals

Our new home was much smaller.

Our new home was much smaller.
Christian Axis

After we sold our house, we first lived in a friend’s apartment. We stored most of our belongings. After our first night in our motorhome we realized we weren’t the bare minimum. But there was no way to take all our belongings to our new home.

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Debt counseling has taught us the “snowball effect” – paying off smaller debts first, then paying off remaining debts by size. This provides a solid strategy and small wins that motivate you to keep going. We applied the same principle to reduce our physical property. We asked ourselves: Do we really need this, or does it just take up space?

Be honest with yourself: What do you really need?

Even after we had finally moved everything we needed into our small space, we wanted to keep trimming our belongings. Our kids didn’t need a lot of toys, so we let our four-year-old choose their favorites and used our best judgments on the two-year-old. We also sorted clothes and the like if we didn’t need them.

My wife now uses an e-reader instead of buying a lot of books.

My wife now uses an e-reader instead of buying a lot of books.
Christian Axis

In an RV you are also restricted by weight. Most of the trailers have a loading capacity of less than 900kg. It literally looks like a lot of belongings, but the weight is increasing rapidly. And even though we live in an RV, we don’t camp.

So we kept our ceramic bowls, but only four place settings, and then replaced our glass mugs with stainless steel mugs. As an avid reader, my wife bought an e-reader for future book downloads. I have sold most of my tools on Craigslist, other than the ones we need on the road.

We found ways to create enough space for our lives

After downsizing our holdings, we also had to reorganize. Nothing in an RV is “standard size” – the lockers are all odd shapes and sizes – so we use special boxes to hold everything. We use the space under the stairs to the bedroom and the children’s bunk room to store groceries.

Our bed features hydraulic bolsters that lift it to provide storage for bulky clothes or extra bedding. Six years later, we are still looking for new ways to organize. Our growing children have constantly different needs that we adapt to. But having a little more leaves us more mental space for what’s most important.

Our children are also accustomed to the new life.

Our children are also accustomed to the new life.
Christian Axis

Because we live and travel in North America, there are endless opportunities to collect souvenirs. Even if we sometimes treat ourselves with something, we live by one rule: if we buy something new, then something old must go. It’s not a perfect system, but it works well enough for us.

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This article has been translated from English by Klemens Handke. You can find the original over here.

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