You remember that time the house fell apart. Well we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that. We’ve been back in the house for a little over a month now. There is still drywall to touch up and flooring to carry into the bedrooms (among other things), but we’re in a livable space again and we’ve even had a working kitchen sink for a few weeks now. This is a big deal, folks. We’re feeling pretty fancy over here.
Now that our permanent RV-dwelling days are behind us, I’m finding some time to go through all of our photos and reminisce. We ended up spending 4 months in the RV, mostly in our yard, while we renovated the house. We celebrated Christmas, New Years, two birthdays and the birth of Springtime in what Serai affectionately calls “our house with the wheels”.
It’s not exactly how I envisioned us using the RV, but I should have known. Perma-camping is in the McLellan DNA after all. Sean and his grandparents lived in an RV for years (yes, YEARS) while they built their log home in the woods. Compared to them, we’re RV-dwelling lightweights.
All in all, it was a great experience. The kids were really awesome and we all adapted surprisingly well to living in a small space. When we started making plans for extended family road trips, I wondered if we’d go crazy living in an RV with 4 kids for a month or so on the road. This was a very solid trial run. One month in the RV is going to be a breeze.
As I look back over the time though, there are a few key things we learned about renovating/living in some sort of temporary dwelling. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share:
1. Focus on the positive.
Of all things in the Big Fat Hairy Deal category, renovation and being temporarily displaced from your home to another safe and well-maintained living space really doesn’t register. In the grand scheme it isn’t a big deal at all. There’s just no point in getting bent out of shape about it. There are lots of really great things about it though if you choose to focus on those things. We didn’t plan for it right at that moment, but having everything fall apart meant that we got to do a lot of really cool renovations that we weren’t expecting we’d be able to get to for a long time. All the ugly things in our living room left at once. Hurray!
There were also lots of things to be enjoyed about living in an RV too. Watching movies piled up on the couch beds…seeing how cute my kids are in a booth at breakfast…less to clean and keep up with – those are all great things. Sure, we could focus on the things out of our control or the more stressful elements of it all, but what’s the point? We would just be stealing our own joy.
2. Keep clutter to a minimum.
I found that the only times I wanted to go nuts in the camper was when the kids found their way into the house and dragged enough stuff out into the RV that I couldn’t take a step without stepping on something Let’s talk about instant, nonsensical rage. That was me tripping over toys encroaching on all available floor space. Regular cleanout sessions and daily maintenance are especially crucial in small quarters.
3. Make it homey.
The kids and I decorated for every holiday in the camper. We hung colorful banners and just made it feel fun and inviting. We brought in lots of throw pillows and blankets, put essential oils in the diffuser and turned on the music. Little touches go a long way toward making any space one you want to spend time in.
4. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give yourself a time limit.
Life must be lived in the moment and taken one day at a time. If there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s that construction will take longer than expected. People would ask me when we were going to be able to move back into the house and my answer was always, “whenever everything is done.”
I did so well with this until the very end and then I really saw the truth in the statement above. Sean was getting ready to head off for a guys trip to the Azores Islands and I decided that it would be really nice to be back inside the house before he left – i.e. a deadline was set. Uh-oh. Without an end date in mind, living in the camper really didn’t bother me, but as we got close to his trip and I could see that things weren’t going to come together for my self-imposed deadline, I got really antsy and stressed out about not getting back into the house. If you find yourself in this position, don’t do that to yourself! One day at a time. It will be done when it’s done. Tell yourself that and repeat.
Is there anything at all you can do about your situation beyond what you’re currently doing? Probably not. Some things just happen. Other things just take time. Try to have a sense of humor about it all and just relax.
We dropped in on the RV the other day after not seeing it for several weeks. It has been in the shop for repairs since it also decided to try its hand at water damage (it would seem the house and RV had a chat and decided that would be such a laugh!). Serai ran in and did a little girlie dance and squeal over how pretty it is and how much she’s looking forward to living in it again soon. I’m glad they have good memories of our time in it so far and I do too. It wasn’t an adventure we planned, but it was an adventure nonetheless and we always try to embrace those when they come along.
House interior photos will be coming as soon as we get the backspash installed in the kitchen. Can’t wait to show you the transformation!
Hope you’re having a wonderful week!