Van life and the minimalist lifestyle seems to be all the rage these days. Even downsizing from our fifth wheel RV to an even smaller motorhome has us rethinking what’s necessary thus, taking on the van life and minimalistic approach. What we’ve found in the process is we’re actually happier and less-stressed! But, this van life and minimalist attitude requires us to shop differently. So, here’s our collection of van life shopping hacks to get you thinking.
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Minimalist Shopping Hacks for Smaller RV Living and Van Life:
Here’s our minimalist lifestyle shopping tips and hacks we learned along the way to make living small a little more manageable and more serviceable.
Shop at Dollar Stores
Dollar stores can be a big catalyst for van life and minimalist concept; not just for cost savings but also a great one-stop-shop for smaller-size and lesser-quantity items. You can find single rolls of toilet paper and smaller bottles of household cleaners as well as personal hygiene supplies and even pet supplies. You can even find single plates, bowls and glassware.
You can also shop for your holiday or seasonal decorations at the dollar stores! They’re inexpensive and much easier to part with when the holidays are over. At the end of each holiday, we simply donate them.
More van life shopping hacks! From shampoo and conditioners to soaps and household cleaners, you can buy your necessities in trial-size containers. They take up less space and most importantly to van life and RVs, is weigh less! And since you’re mobile, restocking is as simple as parking your van or small motorhome or RV at the grocery or big box store.
Oh and don’t throw away those empty containers! When you visit friends or family, kindly ask if you can refill them from their economy-size containers. And be nice by leaving a buck or two on the counter to show your gratitude.
Another van life shopping hack is to opt for travel pocket size tissues instead of buying a bulky box of facial tissues! We keep single packs in our glove box, backpack, Emergency Go-Bag, and our tiny RV bathroom.
Mini-mize by mini-sizing your booze!
Know when to say when isn’t only about personal consumption when it comes to booze. Instead of buying big bottles of your favorite liquid snacks, just buy a pint or a few nips.
Wine companies are now packaging single-serving bottles too! These are great because they fit perfectly in your tiny RV or van refrigerator. They are also easy to pack in a small cooler to take to friends’ campfires or outings. And it goes without mentioning, buying smaller quantities will be one less headache the next morning too!
Why pay hefty prices for a 4-pack of alkaline batteries when you may only need just one battery? And besides, the others will sit in a drawer taking up valuable space and adding weight not to mention, leak corrosive acid.
Instead, get a rechargeable plug-in station that recharges AA and AAA batteries. Just simply plug them into your 110V outlet. And when you’re boondocking, you can use a power inverter DC 12V to 110V AC car inverter to plug into your cigarette lighter and charge while you’re driving.
Pre-made Deli Trays
When we had our fifth wheel that had a big residential refrigerator, it was easy to stock up on produce. However, now that we have only a 6 cubic foot RV refrigerator, storage space is premium!
Then it dawned on me while I was at the grocery store recently. I priced all of those whole food ingredients, figured in time for washing, cutting up and all the storage space they would need. Those pre-made smaller deli trays of cheese, fruits and raw vegetables are practically the same price and convenient!
Now, I’ll buy one or two and repackage the contents individually (because those trays don’t fit in tiny fridges) into smaller containers or bags.
Now our produce is readily available and I didn’t have to do any of the work or waste precious water cleaning them!
They are also perfect for easy-grab snacks for travel days and much healthier between meals. We also take them to our Harvest Hosts overnight stays to go with our wine, brews and booze! <—-(Psssst! Click on that link for a 15% off discount!!)
I’m talking about buying your bakery items! You can buy single rolls, bagels, cupcakes or muffins in the grocery store bakeries. You only buy exactly what you need!
Oh and, your waistline will thank you because there’s not a dozen whatevers staring back at you.
Single Serving Size
Buying single-serving size food products are great for tiny RV living (and our waistlines!). They take up minimal space and weight in our tiny motorhome. Check out these healthy single-serving foods:
Miniature Kitchen Tools
Why stock big kitchen tools in your tiny motorhome kitchen when you’re only cooking for just yourself or two? No need for a gigundus ladle, potato masher, or one-use tools.
Store only what you need and ditch the rest. Learn how you can use your kitchen gadgets in different ways. Personally, we love our silicone kitchen tool set because they are easy to clean (requiring less water!) and they don’t scratch our dishes, bowls and cookware. And besides, those bright colors just make ya wanna cook, don’t they?
Ditch your multi-piece set of measuring spoons and get one of those multi-measuring tools for your RV kitchen or galley! And don’t forget to stock your kitchen tool set with an affordable set of collapsible measuring cups which will save space.
Collapsible Kitchen Essentials
Since we mentioned those collapsible measuring cups above, you may also want to add to your collection because space is premium in your tiny RV kitchen, tiny house or even boat galley!
Turkish Bath Towels
When we moved into even our former fifth wheel, I simply didn’t have the cabinet space for bulky towels. Then, I saw these Turkish Bath Towels that were actually bigger in size yet, when rolled, they took up the same space as one single terrycloth bath towel.
These super absorbent, lightweight towels are imported 100% cotton, machine washable, and a whopping 70″x39″! Their blend of Turkish cotton yarn is mildew-resistant, naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and odor resistant. So, we use them for showers and the beach!
You can also get those in smaller, colorful hand and dish towels.
So, as you can see, downsizing and living minimally doesn’t have to be painful if you know how to shop. With these RV lifestyle and minimalist shopping hacks and tips, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your van life and mobility in your small motorhome, camper or RV without sacrificing use and style.
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