How to Live in a Travel Trailer Full-Time

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More and more people are deciding to give up their big homes and high mortgages to live in travel trailers. Small-space living is nothing new, though with the tough economy and many couples and families facing foreclosure, it makes sense to downsize. The cost of trailer living is much lower than the upkeep of a traditional home, and with some forethought and preparation you can live a comfortable life in a travel trailer year-round. Although your trailer doesn't need all of the amenities listed, they will make life easier and more comfortable.

  • Purchase a travel trailer that will be big enough to live in. Ideally, you would want a trailer that's at least 21 feet long, especially if there will be two or more people in the trailer. The trailer can be new or used, but be sure to have it thoroughly inspected.

  • Search for land to purchase and park the trailer on if you plan to keep the trailer stationary. If you intend to travel with your trailer check out campgrounds where you can park for a night or up to a week or more.

  • Cook meals on a propane stove as this is the cheapest, easiest and most portable way of cooking in a travel trailer. A propane stove can have up to four burners and doesn't take up much room. A two-burner is probably all you will need.

  • Store perishable foods in a propane refrigerator. This will keep your food from spoiling and can provide cold drinks and ice as well. Nonperishable foods can be stored in cupboards or plastic storage bins. An added benefit of keeping foods like flour, rice, beans, and pasta in storage bins is that it will stay fresher longer and bugs won't get into it.

  • Using the restroom will be easier if you have a toilet with holding tank in the trailer. Alternately, you can build an outhouse, though this isn't nearly as comfortable, especially during the winter and in the middle of the night. Campgrounds usually have public restrooms.

  • Taking a shower in the trailer is most comfortable, so try to get a trailer that has one installed. Campgrounds usually provide public showers if your trailer doesn't have one, though if you plan to live in your trailer full time, especially on your own property, you'll want a trailer with a shower.

  • Wash dishes and hand wash clothes in the sink of your trailer if it has a water system with storage tank. If your trailer is lacking in water, you may want to buy disposable plates, cups and silverware, and wash clothes at a laundromat.

  • Store items not in use to avoid clutter and keep the trailer as neat as possible. It's easy to feel claustrophobic if items are left out or you accumulate too many things. Out-of-season clothes can be stored in plastic storage bins and placed in a closet or up on a shelf. The storage bin will keep clothes from getting dirty or mildewed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most trailers are self-contained and very easy to live in, with the exception of electricity. There are several ways around this problem such as using a generator, battery or solar power, or hooking up to electric posts at campgrounds.
  • Before moving into your trailer full time, make a list of the bare necessities you will need to get by including clothes, shoes, bedding, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, food, and activities. Over time you'll discover what you can get rid of and what you need more of.
  • Be sure to check your trailer out thoroughly before purchasing it to be sure everything works properly.
  • Patch up leaks in the roof as soon as you notice them.
  • Never use a charcoal grill inside the trailer since the fumes are toxic.

References

  • Photo Credit Streamlined Motor Homes image by K. Geijer from Fotolia.com
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