We packed it all up...a whole house. Kitchen utensils, Christmas decorations, grandma’s piano, the Furman family table, my extra photography props, dishes, file cabinets, an extra engine, tools. All of it, everything we didn’t NEED and Everything we weren’t planning to use and enjoy went into a storage unit.
Because the house we had hoped to buy and we were living in was being sold for out of our budget. Because every house we looked at online was under contract within a day. Colorado’s housing market is on the rise. We needed a place...a place we could afford and still set money back to buy our own place.
So we went to look at them. The whole time I’m thinking we are crazy. This won’t work. Not for a family of 5. Our salesman (hint, its not a house we were looking at) was amazing. We rode around on a little golf cart, he went over our concerns, showed us options that would best fit our family...and we found the one we loved. We bought a camper. Yes, you read that right. We bought a camper. Our family lives in a camper. Is this our forever home? No. But it allows us to save for a place of our own, while putting what would be “rent” money towards owning our camper.
One big question we are always asked is “how?” Well, by simplifying. Our kids have only a few toys (each girl a doll, Camden his legos and Star Wars action figures and some stuffed animals). They also have their books. That was a hard one for me to let go, I am a former librarian, and they are just too valuable to pack away in storage. Plus they provide many adventures for us within this tiny space. We simplified clothes, shoes, toys, crafts, hobbies and just put what we knew we would need and use in the camper. We sometimes have to go to the storage unit to get something (winter clothes etc.), but for the most part all we need is here.
It has been hard to share this part of our story. I’m always afraid this part would be seen as a failure to many.
I run my own business and I’m scared this detail will automatically mark me as “unprofessional”, because I don’t have a studio space. My business is all run through this 38 foot camper. It's not easy. I have to go get items from storage and wash them before sessions, I have to edit in my bedroom on my bed (a desk would be so much better on my back) or at the kitchen table using my IPAD (color isn't very accurate so those details are always done on the computer where my screen is calibrated). I rent spaces during the winter for clients, or go to clients homes (This has actually been ideal for new parents with newborns, saves so much time and they can finish getting ready while I capture their newborn). As my business grows, I do continue to dream about a studio space, but for now this camper is enough.
But let me invite you into our “home”.
One thing I was adamant about was light. I can get claustrophobic and needed light colored walls, floor and counters to ensure the camper wouldn't feel like it was closing in around me. I needed space, not a lot of objects blocking the floor so that I could easily maneuver around with 3 energetic growing kids.
This is the front door and living/Kitchen area. (there are windows on all the outside walls. I know some folks like dark, but I LOVE light.
Those sandals are now replaced with Mud boots... and probably won't be sandals until we see some green show up. I cannot wait for spring and warmer weather. We have had some adventures with the colder weather, that I will share later Im sure.
The full size fridge was a huge selling point for this camper. I am so glad we didn't settle as that thing and sometimes the outdoor fridge both are full almost all the time. It gets low about when we need to go get our groceries.
We have moved the crockpot to under the cabinet when its not in use (which is rare...), and the paper towels hang on the wall by the thermostat, helps open up more counter space when baking/cooking.
Plants. I love to be outside and garden. I am thankfully able to have some green to bring inside. These pots get moved around a lot. I need to find a more permanent place for them, the Spider plant is now on the bathroom sink to add some color, and I kinda like it in there. The two skylights give it plenty of light and its thriving.
Our washing machine. This alone was a fun journey inside the camper. We did 4 weeks at the laundromat, then I decided to just hand wash...finally we were able to invest in this washing machine and I LOVE IT!! Plus it saves water, and does a good job. You never appreciate anything more until you have to go without.
The food booth. Jon and I sit on one side while all three kids sit on the other. In this picture its my editing spot (IPAD is synced to my computer so I can be around the kids and still work). We have always made it a point to eat meals at the table together, we also do Homeschool at this table. Cookies can sometimes be seen cooling here, as well as crafts and laundry.
Our couch, this folds out into a full size bed for when we have company. My husbands side of the family is all out of state and a few of them have stayed with us. We love being able to still host family when they come visit.
The kids room. It has a door!! We wanted the kids room away from the front door, so that the blast of cold air in the winter wouldn't wake them up. Then we loved that their room had its own door so Jon could get ready for work in the mornings without waking up the kids. Their room is on the end of the camper while our room is at the other. Sometimes when the kids flip in their beds, we can feel the camper move.
See all our stories? I am so thankful for this TV nook in the kids room. While it doesn't house a TV it does hold many adventures. We love this a lot this winter.We wanted bunks for the kids, but were open to a loft where they could all share a bed. I am so glad we found this camper. It just "Fit" all our needs and wants.
Here is Tulie, our Standard Poodle. She sleeps in the kids room, and sometimes just comes to hang out in here to avoid little feet.
Our Bathroom. We looked at one camper with 2 bathrooms, and sometimes we come close to wishing we had two...so far we have made this work, but I would like 2 bathrooms in our future place.
I still need to get pictures of our room...But I have to clean it up first (reorganize things so that its not so cluttered).
These pictures were obviously taken in the fall...thats how long I have been scared to share this. We have since, moved things around to open up more space (the longer we have lived in it the more we find ways to save space). We got a paper towel holder that goes on the wall, the crockpot is only out when its in use (which is a lot). I narrowed down my cookbooks to my absolute favorites, and we may have added more books to the kids library....we did. There are still some improvements we would like to make, and Im sure we will as time goes on. But for now, it feels like home. Which is good, because we are still in search of the place God wants us to be.
If you have any questions about our journey in living in a camper I would be happy to answer. We are getting close to reaching our 1 year mark of living in the camper full time, and its been an adventure!