Living in a tiny home may come with a trade-off of less cleaning time but also results in quickly accumulated clutter. As a family of six, including four cats and a dog, we understand the challenges of keeping a small skoolie tidy and organized. Allow us to share our top six tips for effectively managing clutter and maintaining a clean and organized space in your skoolie.

How it started

February 6th, 2021. When I say we threw, we literally shoved everything we needed for our family in this bus. Bins and stuff littered the floor, and our kitchen table and sink were full of items. The chaos that resulted from this haphazard packing created an overwhelming and stressful environment for our family.

The chaos that resulted was overwhelming and created a stressful environment. The combination of a multitude of people in a small space, technical issues, and the mess, led to high anxiety and shorter tempers. It was at that moment that we realized we needed to take control of what we could and that was the mess and clutter.

The immediate chaos and lack of organization caused by our hasty departure in the school bus conversion created a stressful and overwhelming environment for our family. The cramped living quarters, technical issues, and clutter contributed to feelings of anxiety and frustration. It was then that I realized the importance of addressing the mess and clutter to improve the livability and functionality of the bus.

How it is going

It involved carefully evaluating our possessions and getting rid of anything that we no longer needed or that didn’t serve a specific purpose. We also implemented systems for storing and organizing our belongings, such as using designated drawers and shelves for specific items. This process wasn’t easy, and it took some time, but it has made a significant difference in our quality of life on the road. We have more space and less stress, and our home on wheels feels more like home as a result.

If you would prefer to skip straight to the products that help us to keep our bus organized; then scroll now! Don’t worry, I won’t take any offense if you do this 😉

Downsize

One of the biggest challenges of living in a small space is the constant battle with clutter and excess items. To truly stay organized, the first step is to downsize by purging unnecessary items. This is an ongoing process and requires commitment. One effective method to use is the Konmari method, which we have used successfully in both our home and bus. By reducing the number of items we have, we are able to more easily and effectively organize what remains.

A space for everything

Having a specific place for everything is the most important component to keeping a tidy and organized bus. This means all the way down to your bus keys. One of the benefits of a skoolie build is the ability to customize your home on wheels and create storage solutions that fit your specific needs. And even if your build is not completely finished, modifications can always be made to incorporate specific storage solutions.

For example, in the kitchen, instead of having a variety of boxes and containers cluttering a drawer, create specific storage for your pantry items and use uniform containers to make the most use of the space. This will not only make the pantry more visually appealing but also make it easier to maintain and find what you need.

Another useful tip is to have a catch-all basket for items that you need to put away as soon as you walk through the door. This could be a place for your wallet, sunglasses, and keys, so that they’re not left lying around and can be easily found when you need them.

Overall, having a specific spot for everything will make it easier for everyone in your bus to know where items go and make it more likely that they will be put away correctly.

Compartmentalize

Another example would be in the kitchen. Instead of having a utensil drawer where everything gets jumbled together, use a tray or divider to separate different types of utensils. This makes it easy to find what you need and prevents things from getting lost in a mess of utensils.

By using smaller, compartmentalized storage, you can better keep track of your items and maintain a tidy space. This can be applied to any area of the bus, from clothes to electronics. The key is to take the time to think about how you use the space and what items you have, then create customized storage solutions for them.

Put it away the first time

This principle applies to everything in your bus, from dishes to clothes to tools. By putting things away the first time, you reduce the amount of clutter and the need to constantly organize and reorganize. It may take a little more effort in the moment, but in the long run, it saves time and energy and makes it easier to keep your bus tidy and organized.

Implementing this method also makes it easy to maintain the bus since everything has its proper place and is easy to locate. With this method, all members of the family, including kids, can get into the habit of putting things away, making it easier for everyone to keep the bus tidy.

Work together

It takes a village in order to keep a small space tidy and organized. In order for this to be a long-term solution and sustainable; everyone has to work together. Otherwise you will find yourself constantly frustrated and fighting an uphill battle.

Sit down with everyone that lives on your bus, and have a conversation about your expectations and needs. Interestingly enough, even though I initiated this conversation, everyone was in agreement. By taking the time to communicate from the get-go, we eliminated a lot of frustration ahead of time. And in the end; everyone was happier and more relaxed once we were living in an organized bus.

Being that a bus is a tiny house; it tends to get messy quickly! But, working together also means it can get clean just as quickly with everyone chipping in!

Daily routine

A daily routine composed of these 5 steps is what helped us to maintain a tidy bus. We would end every night with a family clean-up. That meant that collectively we would pick up/put everything away, vacuum, do dishes, dust, and a quick clean of whatever requires attention. That way each day ends and begins with a spotless bus. I can’t tell you how good that feels and how much it positively impacts our moods.

When you begin each day with a clean bus, this means that the only part left is to utilize the O.H.I.O method and work together. Combined, these allowed us to keep the bus tidy and organized. But simultaneously, this prevents the feeling that all we do all day is clean.

Before we implemented these firve steps, we always felt like we were cleaning. Small spaces get dirty quickly. So every time we turned around, we were cleaning again.

Now, instead of cleaning multiple times a day; we limit cleaning to 1x a day. Then throughout the day we simply pick up. This way we really get to enjoy the entire reason we chose bus life; to be present, spending time doing what we want to be doing.

My favorite organizational products!

I can talk and talk about all the reasons this method will help you to to maintain an orgazined bus. But at the end of the day, what you really want to know is what products will help you to do that more easily:) Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered:)

Listed below are both exact products I’m using in my bus, or a similar idea if I happened to purchase something locally. While these certainly aren’t are, they are some of my favorites!

I have included these affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  I understand that you have lots of options when you shop.  When you choose to shop using these links, it doesn’t cost you anything, helps support our blog and I appreciate it!

Entryway

The entry way in a skoolie is all about containing the chaos of shoes and outerwear and keeping it clean!

Kitchen

You can never have enough kitchen organization! Don’t even get me started on all the options for drawers! However, here are a few of my favorites!

Cleaning

I love these amber bottles for the vinegar/water mixture we use in our DIY composting skoolie toilet. The metal baskets I use for all sorts of cleaning items such as swiffer duster refills, or vacuum attachments. And this vacuum…hands down THE BEST vacuum for bus life. Cordless means its easy and quick to use. The variety of attachments make it perfect for both cleaning the whole bus, or in small areas!

Bathroom

Kids

Organization for kids is all about compartmentalizing. I love these storage packs for separating kids toys. These wall hanging bags I put in the kids bunks to hold their tiny personal items such as glasses, the remote for their LED lights or chapstick. Then these shelves are perfect for kids bunks to put books, or other small items.

Clothes

These packing cubes are the easiest method to keep clothes separated and organized in bus drawers. Each family member has a different color for all their clothes. These make it easy to find items without everything getting jumbled inside a drawer. These cubes also make it easy to do laundry and put away again afterwards.

I hope this helps to give you a few ideas on how you can enjoy the benefits of bus life while simultaneously keep your tiny home tidy and organized!

Looking for more organizational inspiration? Make sure to check out more organizational ideas below!

XO,
Morgan

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