Changing aspects of your lifestyle, moving, downsizing, going mobile, whatever the case may be requires adapting to new situations and limitations. Change can be fun, challenging and rewarding in a sense that it inspires personal growth and perspective.
The inspiration for these habits: our major footprint is comprised of diesel fuel consumption (we average about 9.5 miles per gallon) on travel days and that really adds up. We REALLY like offsetting that impact in other parts of our mobile lifestyle.
Here are a few happy habits we’ve developed since going full-time tiny living in our converted bus.
Licking our Plates
It’s like the pre-wash cycle in a dishwasher but tastier and with much less water consumption! Haha. What I mean is that we wash dishes WAY differently now.
To put it into perspective, the average dishwasher uses six gallons of water per cycle. We used to have a dishwasher in our apartment and it was just glorious, I get it.
Now we have very basic dishes and cookware and wash everything by hand (Dr. Bronner’s is our top pick to keep our gray water as natural as possible), which takes time and effort but you develop routines that increase the efficiency of it all, i.e. what you use for which meals, etc.
Our TOTAL water consumption (household & drinking) averages between three and four gallons per day.
I’m not sure how much of that goes to washing dishes, but it’s pretty minimal.
Pro tip for everyone on food: I’ve made different tasty variations of tacos around ten times in the past few weeks. Tacos are the ultimate food: healthy, easy, versatile, minimal cleanup. Let’s all make tacos for dinner tonight.
Rewearing our Clothes, a lot
When you don’t have the luxury of a washer at a moment’s notice you really think about how many pieces of clothing you run through and how quickly you do it.
A high efficiency washing machine uses between 15 and 30 gallons of water per load, older machines use even more.
So our crunchy bus people laundry cycle goes a little something like this:
Day 1: Clean comfort. This is AWESOME. SO FRESH!
Day 2: I’ll wear this all day and still feel pretty great about it!
Day 3: I’ll use this on tonight’s run and air it out for the night.
Day 4: Okay, I can make this work for ONE more hike. Go me!
Day 5: Sniff sniff, nope. Time for the laundry pile.
We’ve done one load of laundry in more than three weeks. This really made us think about how we used to just thoughtlessly change our clothes too often, use things once or just for a few hours, etc.
IMPORTANT NOTE: underwear doesn’t follow the pattern above. We may live in a bus but we have standards! 🙂
Showering Outside, when privacy allows
This was weird for me at first. Also, it’s not the same experience as just leisurely showering in a house with ample pressure for 10 minutes, la de da. Solar showers are a great option in warmer temperatures but they’re MUCH shorter and you’re out in open air so it gets chilly. This goes along with one of my tips in my last post about getting comfortable with occasional discomfort. It’s totally fine! In fact, it’s HEAVENLY after a few days of hiking/running.
Our hot water system and AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL reclaimed wood Japanese soaking tub style shower Ben crafted wasn’t 100% ready for this trip so we get clean in other ways and it’s working out wonderfully.
To put it into perspective, the average American shower uses about 17.5 gallons of water.
For both of us to shower we use five gallons of water or less. Pretty cool.
Using a Composting Toilet Full-Time
Again, this one was weird for me at first, but these things are amazing.
The average toilet flush uses about two to three gallons of water per flush with on average six to eight flushes per day.
A composting toilet uses maybe 1/2 of a gallon of water a month for cleaning purposes.
Prepare yourself, I’m going to talk about poop for a second.
In a regular toilet, #1 and #2 combine and create “sewage” which requires a septic tank/black tank. In a composting toilet, there’s a flap (we call it a hatch) that you can toggle up (which sends #1 into the front tank) or down (which sends #2 into the back tank). You empty the urine periodically and the poop composts over time (about a month of full-time use) along with an enzyme and dried coconut rind. It has a small fan that runs off our solar batteries to keep the smell to ZERO while we’re parked.
Yes, there’s some wafts of toilet while we drive sometimes, but, it’s really not that bad and it makes for some hilarious poop jokes.
Mind blown. I never would have known about this option if we weren’t pursuing this tiny lifestyle. We mulled over the option of having a traditional toilet and black tank but with the logistics of mounting, dumping, and potential for freezing, we opted for a composting toilet.
Replacing TV with more Outdoor Activity & Reading
This was a goal of mine before we left Maine. We weren’t heavy watchers (unless it was things like The Punisher or Stranger Things, OH MAN!), we didn’t even have cable, just Netflix. Still, we watched a solid amount of TV before this trip.
There’s a lot of REALLY good TV out there. But there’s also a lot of really amazing books and landscapes too.
I’ll repeat myself from my last post, human powered outdoor activity is a GREAT way to experience the location you’re in and maintain your fitness goals. Plus, it’s $0/month.
Enjoying More with Less.
This is the overall theme here. My Dad always said, “Find happiness in the little things.” and he was right. I’m finding out you don’t really need a lot to have a lot, if that makes any sense.
Having more TIME to allocate toward things that move you (in all senses of the word) is pretty darn cool. It’s humbling. It makes us think back to the years we were droppin’ major dollars on student loans and pinching pennies to get here. Ahhh. Worth it.
I don’t think we’ll ALWAYS live in a bus, we’ll eventually crave roots, but it’s a great way to experience the debt-free life we worked so hard to achieve and learn new, handy skills along the way.
Sending love from the west! Until next time… check us out on Instagram for daily blabs & pictures of Moose @wilddrivelife
Source on household water usage figures…