Small Space Living: Tips for Small Space Living for Travel Nurses

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By The Gypsy Nurse

August 4, 2021



Tips for Small Space Living

So, you’ve decided you want to take the plunge and decrease the square footage of your home; that’s what we did anyway. We renovated a 1971 Airstream trailer to our liking, got rid of a LARGE amount of our items, made space for the dog and the cat, and hit the road. It has been a life-changing, eye-opening event in our lives. For the most part, it has been extremely rewarding, but there were a lot of sacrifices that this lifestyle requires too. Here are our tips on how to make the most of tiny space living, especially with your furry friends in tow.

Plan Ahead-

This one is BIG. This started as soon as we decided we were going to renovate the Airstream. Our layout was meticulously thought out to maximize space and storage. Our bed flips up so that much of our larger items can be stowed underneath. For you pet owners, especially cat owners, you’ll want to think of where their things will go (i.e., the litter box). In anticipation of living in a tiny space, we actually decided to toilet train our cat. Lucky for us, she loves a good food-driven bribe and was willing to do anything for some tuna. If that’s not your cat’s style, you’ll want to find a good storage area for the litter box to slip into and help keep the smell to a minimum.

We had some friends that kept it behind its own cute curtain, which was genius for keeping it out of sight and the smell contained! We also recommend trying to plan your meals ahead of time. If you go with a trailer, the fridges tend to be tiny. We have found that we can cut down on wasted space and food by planning out our meals a couple of days in advance so that we only have what we really need.


If you’ve decided you want to take the leap into the world of small homes, this is another big one. It’s also hard! We had to take a good look at all of our items, Marie Condo style. We went with the system of “If it hasn’t been used or worn in over a year, then it’s out.” I’m a total sucker for “it’ll be back in style eventually” and therefore always love to hold on to clothes longer than necessary. However, for the sake of our tiny space, I got rid of soooooo many garbage bags full of clothing. It was heartbreaking but totally worth it when I saw just how neatly all of my clothing now fits into place.

We also did this for kitchen items too, we were very guilty of having far too many drinking glasses and coffee mugs. We had to be realistic and realize we weren’t going to have 10 people over for breakfast in a tiny space, therefore limiting ourselves to our 4 favorite mugs on the road. To this day, two years in, we’ve only ever needed 4 at a time. So go make some money on eBay, and sell that stuff, baby!

Small Space with Pets-

If you’re like me, your pets are your children. Therefore, the tiny space must incorporate them as well. How much space can a cat actually take up? Your dog doesn’t need too much, right? These were both things I had thought prior to making the move, but boy, was I surprised. For one, now that we are in a smaller space, our cat likes to make her presence known. She’s everywhere I want to sit. In my bed, on the toilet (remember that toilet training thing?), yelling at me to feed her.

I adore her, but it can be a lot. It definitely helped when we gave her a designated space. We made space by the window, put her food nearby and one of her toys, and now she gravitates toward that area. I still find her everywhere I need to be because, ya know, cats… but she mostly hangs out in “her” space now. Combined, our cat and dog have their own cabinet in the trailer of just items for pet use. Food, brushes, shampoo, flea and tick treatments, a colorful collection of bandanas. It definitely helps to have all of their items in their own location so that they aren’t mixed in with ours.

We also keep their vet records on hand in their own files. If you’re planning on traveling in your tiny space, this will be especially important as many parks require this information to be readily available. If you are like me and have an allurement toward fluffy pets, you’ll want to keep a lint roller on hand. I can never seem to walk out of the house without a fresh layer of fur on my own clothing, no matter how many times a day we brush them. Keeping a lint roller handy has been truly lifesaving.

Go With the Flow-

I know this may seem contradictory to my first tip of “planning ahead,” but what this life has taught me is you truly cannot plan for everything. There are going to be wrenches thrown into your days. The best thing you can do is, take a deep breath, smile, and try something new. We’ve had countless times where things have gone wrong. Most recently, our two-year-old water heater abruptly stopped working. As frustrating as that was, we ended up getting a gym membership so that we could shower and now find ourselves working out at the gym on a daily basis. That was never the intention, but it was a welcomed change in our life. We’ve become true believers that everything happens for a reason. If you’re finding yourself craving living in a tiny space, well, there’s probably a reason for that too, so I say go for it!

We hope you found these tips for small space living helpful. Are you currently living in a small space or RV? Do you have any tips to share with fellow travel nurses? Comment them below.

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