It started with tiny homes. Now, add some wheels and you’ve got the newest trend popping up around Birmingham—tiny RV living. Here’s a peek into the journeys of two families in the Birmingham area who decided to pack up their 2,000+ square foot homes and move into RVs full-time.
When I first saw that a former college friend of mine had decided to ditch her 2000+ square foot home and move into an RV with her husband and four children, I was definitely wowed by her guts. It wasn’t long after following her and her family’s adventure that the concept became more and more fascinating.
With cleaning and clutter driving me crazy almost daily, the idea of tiny living sounds like something I could actually get on board with. Well, maybe. Don’t actually hold me to that just yet.
After some searching on Instagram, it turns out that ditching life in a subdivision for a smaller, simpler RV is something many families are doing. Even in Birmingham.
One person’s name you may recognize is Ashley Gann—Birmingham’s only female chief meteorologist from CBS-42. Yep, even Gann has hopped on this up-and-coming trend.
Meet the Families
The Gann family are gearing up to sell their 2,800 square foot home and move into an RV of just 320 square feet—one they have nicknamed “American Honey.”
According to Gann, she and her family are truly excited about their new RV home, stating: “My kids ask me every day, ‘are we going camping today and not coming back?’ They are pumped.”
The Glasgows, a family of six, began living in their RV full-time just three months ago. Nicknamed “The Wildcat,” the family moved from a 2,400 square foot home into a 32 foot 5th wheel camper.
Now that you’ve met the families, here’s a look at what I’ve discovered about tiny RV living.
It Can Open Many Opportunities
There are a number of reasons why someone chooses to venture into tiny RV living. One that both Gann and Glasgow agree on is that it is a great way to live debt-free and save money.
“With the equity in our home, we can leverage that to be completely debt-free or use our home as an income generating property,” said Gann. “Not only are we simplifying our life, we are increasing our earning potential. This allows us to give back more and in abundance to our community.”
But there are many more reasons to choose tiny RV life.
“Living tiny allows us to be completely debt-free, save money, travel more, and teach our children that having experiences, not ‘stuff,’ is important,” said Glasgow. “For us, this is a big adventure! My kids are happy, we are more connected as a family and we have grown a lot through this entire process.”
Tiny RV Living Has Its Own Community
One of the cool things about tiny RV living is that as the trend begins to grow, a special community is formed. This is something Gann has been truly impressed by.
“I didn’t even know it was a trend until we started camping about a year ago,” said Gann. “We are quickly learning there is a world of these RV lifers. It’s awesome. You gain an entirely new community and meet all sorts of wonderful people from all different walks of life. I can definitely see why it is a trend.”
You Have the Opportunity to Travel—No Packing Required
When you decide to go on a trip, there’s always the daunting task of packing your belongings.
But when you live in an RV, packing is a thing of the past. Just hook your RV up to the back of your vehicle and all your belongings can travel with you—no bags required. It’s basically like a backpack on wheel wherever you go.
“We love that we can travel in our home,” said Gann. “If we want to go to the lake one weekend, we can. If we want to spend some time in the woods or seeing Alabama’s waterfalls, or visit the space and rocket center, we can! And we can stay as long as we want for the fraction of the price of a hotel.”
One of Gann’s favorite parts of tiny RV living is being able to experience new outdoor adventures.
“I love being able to open the door into a new place, a new sunrise or sunset, a new lake view, or a wooded campsite,” said Gann.
You Can Travel, or Not
When you first think of living in an RV, you most likely think about camping or traveling the open highway as you move from one destination to the next.
What I found interesting about tiny RV living is that you can travel, or not. Gann and Glasgow both have their own unique plans for RV life.
Gann and her family plan to park their RV at different campsites for about a month at a time, then hook up the house and move on to the next place.
Glasgow and her family have created their own special spot on family land to park their RV.
One thing they have done that I absolutely adore is they have built a porch outside their RV’s door to give it a more solid house-type setting.
When the kids are on school breaks, they will try their hand at traveling.
Methods Like KonMari Are a Must
Making the decision to downsize your home by hundreds to thousands of square feet means less space to store your belongings.
This is where learning organizing methods like KonMari are valuable.
Gann is a big fan of the KonMari method and said it has helped her and her family during their transition from large house to small home.
“If it’s a non-essential or something that hasn’t been used in a while, we’ve donated or sold it,” said Gann. “The biggest challenge has been the things that are from our childhood or carry some type of sentimental value.”
But downsizing your belongings involves much more than just clothing and childhood treasures.
“Even our grocery shopping has changed,” said Glasgow. “Because we have a tiny fridge and freezer, there is no room for excess and waste.”
You Can Renovate Your RV to Become an Amazing Dwelling on Wheels
One of the coolest things I’ve learned about tiny RV living is that RVs can be transformed into totally cool spaces to live.
My favorite part about following the Glasgow’s journey of tiny RV living has been watching “The Wildcat” undergo an incredible transformation.
It started as a used RV with lots of faux wood and old-school patterns. But in just three months, it has undergone a full redesign revealing a totally modern, contemporary home.
Here are some before and afters of “The Wildcat.”
“The thing I love most about our new lifestyle is living more intentionally,” said Glasgow. “We were able to design and customize our RV to meet the specific needs of our family. We were very intentional about every item that we brought into our home, so we are surrounded by only things we absolutely love. It feels amazing to have less clutter in our lives.”
What’s Glasgow’s favorite part of the transformation? The kids’ bunk house.
“We were able to design our children their own little space where they are safe and comfortable,” said Glasgow. “We have two children with Down syndrome and we were able to customize their space to make RV life and travel possible and more accessible for them.”
Can you imagine being a kid with your own sweet bunk house space? It’s the perfect place to play, giggle and build memories.
Check out the Glasgow’s fun adventure of tiny RV living at @lovebiglivesmall on Instagram.
RV Parks to Check Out
If you’re considering living in an RV full-time, there are many RV Parks near Birmingham. Here are some to check out:
Birmingham South RV Park
Address: 222 Co Rd 33, Pelham, AL 35124
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8AM-5PM; Sun. 8-9AM, 1-5PM
Hoover Met Complex RV Park
Address: 100 Ben Chapman Dr., Birmingham, AL 35244
Hours: Open 24 hours every day
Rolling Hills Campground
Address: 521 Co Rd. 304, Calera, AL 35040
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9AM-5PM
Smith Lake Park Information
Address: 403 County Road 386, Cullman, AL 35057
Hours: Mon. – Daily, 8AM-4PM