If you know me at all or keep track of me personally or my photography and pet Instagram, you know that I actually adore our travel trailer. I didn’t think I would enjoy living in it as much as I do and as soon as I stepped inside, I felt at home. The inside is beautiful and it looks amazing, basically like those nice fancy tiny homes, and as an introvert, being in just one room with everything you need is an absolute dream! I could talk all day about what I love about the trailer and how I would honestly recommend this lifestyle to those that may be interested in it, but what’s the fun in that? No, this is to complain because that is way more fun! Here’s a list of a few things about trailer life that I find annoying, inconvenient, or just plain hate!
- Society’s Perceptions: Let’s get this one out of the way first, as some of you might already be judging us based on our “choice” to live in a travel trailer right off the bat! One thing I honestly can’t stand about living in the trailer is the judgment of others. Now, it’s easy to ignore and I don’t spend my nights crying over it, but it does get a little old. The word “trailer” holds a lot of negative vibes as it is. Some hear trailer and assume we’ve got an intact “pitbull” outside on a heavy chain, rusted car parts everywhere, and spend our days sitting on a dirty couch in our front yard. Not that I am judging that kind of lifestyle either, but most would call it “white trash,” especially people from my small hometown. Being perceived as trashy actually carries a lot of weight. It can ruin opportunities at jobs or in general social situations and it’s a hard image to remove yourself from. There’s nothing trashy, wrong, or disgusting about tiny living, it’s just a smaller home, but when others don’t see it that way, it can be a little disheartening. Even I had some reservations about it at first. Hearing the word trailer made me immediately recoil, but after finding out just how common RV or camper living is here in Washington state and then trying it myself, it’s a no-brainer now. It can be so easy, cheap, and an awesome way of life.
- Where should I put my shoes?: With no entryway, there’s really no space to put our shoes or coats, which can cause a bit of clutter that frustrates me to no end. Now, I am sure eventually we can find a solution, but the fact of the matter is, the trailer simply doesn’t have a place for it, except outside, and when you come in straight from outside, directly into the living space, you track in the outside with you. Dirt and especially grass comes in easily just on our shoes and is tracked right into our walking paths because there’s nowhere else for it to go. This includes the animals. If it’s raining, I have to stand outside under the awning to dry them off and wipe down their feet because there’s no place to do it inside. This leads me to my next point…
- Easy to clean, easy to dirty: Sure, the trailer is SUPER easy to clean! I can deep clean the entire trailer in about an hour and I am talking every room, everything wiped down, everything vacuumed, everything dusted, everything picked up and organized, dishes done…you get what I mean. The works! Including the bathroom too. I love cleaning the trailer, especially just my everyday cleaning, which takes about 10-15 minutes for the entire trailer. Everything is nice and clean, you wasted basically no time, and you feel accomplished as you look around at your work. While that’s all well and good, the reason it’s easy to clean is because there’s not a lot of space to actually clean, which means there’s not a lot of space to get dirty either and with six dogs, cats, rats, mice…things get pretty dirty. FUR. IS. EVERYWHERE. It’s on everything and can get easily out of hand if we let it, along with dirt and dust. This means the trailer requires a daily cleaning, while a house may not. I have to vacuum at least once a day and sweep usually 2-3 times a day to keep the floors clean.
- Tight squeeze: With not as much square footage as even most small apartments, the trailer has some spaces that are rather tight, making even simple tasks…not so simple. Cleaning can be a challenge when moving around the trailer. I usually have to put all the animals in kennels or outside while I clean or everyone is in the way. Trudging around our small rooms with the vacuum can be a little frustrating as I bash the wall or my own leg. Even something as simple as making the bed or changing out our sheets is rendered nightmare status with the very little room to move we have in our bedroom. The bedroom is easily, aside from the bathroom, the most difficult room to move in. It basically only has our bed and getting the sheets on can be a challenge. This is made especially difficult when we are both home. Two humans up and moving makes all the difference in the trailer. In fact, it’s best for us to do things individually to avoid traffic jams with us and the animals.
- Get a hotel: “You’ll have to get a hotel” is what I will have to tell my family when they want to visit me. While there are places for them to sleep, there’s no way my parents or grandparents will want to sleep in our lounge chairs. While my best friend and siblings may have no issues crashing in the living room, when it comes to other family members, they’ll be forced to get a hotel or find other accommodations that I simply can’t provide. With no table, this also means meals in the trailer are out of the question and limited seating by our own doing to better fit our needs in the trailer, means having more than an extra person or two over is difficult.
- Cats from hell: Whether you have nice cats or demonic ones like me, you’ll have the same issues regardless. With any pets in the trailer, it’s made more difficult than being in a house. The hair alone is proof of that, but the biggest issue we have is cat litter. There is litter on everything. It’s in every nook and cranny of the trailer and is not an easy thing to clean up either. It sticks to your feet and if you don’t sweep frequently, you’ll be sorry. A very large litter mat and heavier, low tracking litter did somewhat help the situation. Our previous litters were simply too light and stuck the cat’s paws. They brought it everywhere and yes that includes all over the counters, chairs, and even our bed. Since the switch, it’s more so in a smaller area near and around the box, but even with the effort we put in to find the best litter for us, the large mats, and even high walled boxes (storage containers) we still find ourselves with a daily litter mess we have to clean.
- Small space, big smells: With such a confined space, a smell can go a long way. This includes the rats and mice if they need their cages cleaned, a dog fart, or even the cats using the litter box. The smells can be rough and unforgiving. This also includes good smells. It’s best to go outside to spray perfume as it’s so strong, it can be harsh on the animals and humans alike. Wax melts require specific care. Too much wax and the smell is utterly overwhelming to everyone. As time goes on, you get used to the intensity a smell can give and learn how to deal with it. We keep the windows open as much as possible and the fresh air helps from the trailer getting too stinky with a good smell or bad. You also learn the best methods to getting rid of a smell quickly or how to avoid them altogether, such as being sure the litter box is cleaned daily and the rats and mice cages are always given fresh bedding. It keeps you from being too lazy and to pay attention to what you put in the air.
- Showering: Our trailer’s water heater isn’t huge. In fact, it’s rather small. This means, you have a very limited amount of hot water before it goes cold and it’s definitely not enough for even a short shower, trust me. The best way to shower in the trailer is in steps. First, you wet everything, then turn the water off and wash your hair. Turn it back on to rinse and turn it off again. Conditioner next, then turn it on if you need to shave anything, but you won’t have enough time to shave anything that takes more than a few seconds, such as your legs, and those have to be saved for outside of the shower. Rinse your hair again, then turn off the water. Wash your body and then turn it back on to rinse. By this time, even with this method, I often have pretty cold water at this point anyway. I have very thick hair and rinsing soap isn’t as quick as I need it to be. Once you’ve rinsed yourself and you’re done, I like to spray the shower down and get out. I shave my legs outside of the shower with a cup of water so that I don’t have to rely on the hot water at all. This is the best method we have found so far, but truthfully, I never feel as clean as I would taking a shower in a house, where I can take my time and actually shave in the shower. It works, it gets you plenty clean, and that’s what matters, but I miss chilling in the shower for 40 minutes and singing or sitting on the ground and letting the hot water just pour on me. Those relaxing shower moments are a thing of the past in the trailer and if you’re a lover of bubble baths like me, you can kiss them goodbye.
- Power: I am not talking battery life, as with full hookups, you’re running on normal electricity, just like a house. What I mean is blowing fuses is very easy and you have to be careful with what you run at the same time. For example, if the air conditioning is on, BEWARE. Trying to run another thing that draws a lot of power will result in a blown fuse. Our Instapot uses a lot of power, so running them together is not happening. You have to turn the air off if you want to cook. Luckily, we try to just use natural, outside air to cool the trailer, more than the AC, so it isn’t a huge issue. It’s still something you have to keep in mind when turning things on or trying to multitask. Sometimes, the trailer forces you to do one thing at a time.
- Laundry: With such a small space and limited power when it comes to wattage and fuses, even a small washer and dryer won’t work for us. This means, we have to do our clothes at a Laundromat. While this honestly hasn’t been that bad of an experience for us, it’s incredibly inconvenient. Picture this, you’re sleeping in bed and the cat throws up on the sheets in the middle of the night, you take them off and clean everything up, put them somewhere out of the way, but you don’t get to wash them right away. In fact, you have to wait until the actual laundry day, as we don’t have time to make special trips to the Laundromat. This happens with anything. If you want a shirt cleaned, but you already wore it, then you’re out of luck because there’s no just doing a quick load when it comes to packing up everything and leaving the trailer to wash clothes. It’s all or nothing so we don’t waste money or time.
If you saw this list of 10 and thought, “Is this even worth it then?” I can let you know right now, YES. It is completely worth it, at least for us. Would we rather live in a house? In some cases, yes, but do I love trailer life and does it actually work well for us? Also yes. Truthfully, it was hard to even come up with this list and I had to actually sit and think about what annoys me because on any given day, I don’t even think about it. Sure, a random irritation from one of these 10 may pop up throughout the day, but in the end, we love trailer life and the beautiful view we get to see from just outside our door each day!
— The Wayfinder