The Motorhoming Years

Minimalism – Living in a 24 m2 Space.

The second instalment of our time motorhoming in New Zealand.

In my first post on our motorhoming years, I  mentioned that our motorhome was called PurrInn.  This was the name given to her by the first and only other owner.

Why PurrInn?

The previous owners had two cats, who went tiki touring into the bush [on leashes to save the bird life] and other destinations around New Zealand.  To make a living on the road more amicable for all concerned, the toilet door had a cat flap.  It was established for the said felines to use their litter box, not the actual toilet seat though their owners at some point entertained the idea of a training session.  The cats were not in the least interested in playing games or in being a source of entertainment for their human owners.  The litter box stayed, and the cats still retained their dignity.

During the first year of ownership, we managed a few weeks away, we still had the farm though it was now up for sale and work.  PurrInn became a refuge we sought to dream about what we were going to do in the future.

Miranda - “Rays Rest” - Coromandel area

It was to be motorhoming until we find that next forever home without wheels.   That was the plan back then!  With all good intentions, they do change and are adjusted as time goes on.

It was now in 2008.

How on earth did we downsize from a spacious home on 14 acres to 24sqm?

It was not a hard decision to leave this part of our lives behind, as the place was like pouring water into a bucket which had a hole in it.  Our life changed when the Squire was made medically retired, and a significant question played heavily on our minds.

What were we going to do next?  What was the next challenge?

We sold the farm, the tractor, mowers and a few other objects of value.  Gave away our furniture to charity and kept a few clothes, plus household items and a few sentimental things.

Believe it or not, our small space had everything [minus a washing machine, though many motorhomes do carry them] a home has, just in a compact way.

Here are a few specs that were in PurrInn:

The Bedroom

  • We had 5 large draws all in one set of chest of draws, a shelf, cupboard and wardrobe space the width of the motorhome at the back of our bed.
  • The queen-sized bed had bedside tables with one drawer each.
  • With an extensive storage area underneath in which the bed on board could be lifted with the assistance of gas-filled rams.  This space was used for objects that weren’t needed daily, such as sun lounger chairs.  It was also suggested that this space would be suitable for toys when “niece sitting”, more on that subject at a later stage.

Clothes for all seasons were able to be accommodated.  Though we changed this setup a few years later when we gained a lockup, this made life a bit more manageable.  It suited our love of minimalism.

View from the bed

The Bathroom

  • This space was situated in between the bedroom [at the back] and the living area.
  • On one side of the passage were the sink and large mirror, storage underneath said sink and one long oblong mirror attached to the wall beside the door to the shower.
  • On the opposite side of the sink was the entrance to the toilet and shower.
  • One flushable toilet – activated by pushing your foot down on a pedal by the bowl.  Pipework was attached to the black water tank underneath and to the side of the vehicle.  All had to be certified to gain a certificate to state we were “Self Contained”.  Without that sticker, we would have been very limited in where we could park up for a night or longer.
  • The shower was placed in the same cubicle.  This can be a problem for many, especially those that are working fulltime.  It wasn’t a problem for us.  If we had a choice, this would not be our ideal setup in the wet area.

The Kitchen

  • A full stove that made more than one roast dinner and cooked a few fish.  As with most motorhome stoves it was gas, as was the four cooking rings.
  • We had 8 pull out draws in total that could be pulled out, and all space was usable with most kitchen utensils, even an electric blender and toaster [used on sunny days].
  • All draws could be locked and believe me; this is important when moving around corners.  Nerves have been frayed on numerous occasions when they have not been secured, as the noise is deafening and sounding very much like a blown tire.

The Lounge

Amusing to think we had a lounge in a motorhome.

  • We did, it considered two x 2m seats with storage cabinets under each one.  These of these stored The Squires tools for all those “could happen, best be prepared” moments.
  • The two leather seats [drivers and passengers] were reversible and were used as part of the lounge.
  • It was a very versatile area, with a socket in the floor area, a pole could be placed in it with two different size table tops.  Mainly used for eating meals during inclement weather, entertaining nieces while recovering from elbow surgery and using our computers as there were power plugs by the dashboard.


  • There was another socket in the middle of the two long seats in which a pole and the same tabletop could be utilised.

Outside Storage

  • On either side of the vehicle 4 outside storage lockers.  This housed more of the Squires required tools, black [sewage] and grey water tanks, gas heater, batteries and generator [this was made redundant when we upgraded our solar panels].

With the roof storing our solar panels, which were increased, the longer we were on the road.

The possibilities of what can be achieved when setting up a 24 m2  space are endless and sometimes literally requires thinking outside the square and using every small area to its full potential.  Using this technique will make a very usable living space.  We had a rule if any given object did not have more than one use, and we did not use it.  Out it went.  Then, of course, came the excuse for a small shopping spree, just to replace that one thing.


What do we do now?

Once we had a buyer for the property, we decided to spend the next 6 weeks in PurrInn to adjust to living in a smaller space.  Which kept the house tidy with the end result being that we were more comfortable in our motorhome than, the home.  The next stage required patience and time to move onto the next phase of our lives.

At this time, a close friend and work colleague of the Squires had succumbed to cancer.  His funeral was the same day we signed the property over to the new owners.  Then our beloved “Blue” had his last run around the property before he visited the vet to be put down.  Unfortunately, he had a sickness, and would not be a suitable candidate to be rehoused into a new family.

It was not an easy time at all.

Though perhaps it was the most motivating time of our life to get out and enjoy it while we still could do so.  No experience is perfect, and no lifestyle is the better one amongst them all.  The one where it feels right for the people concerned is the right one.

While dealing with sadness over the deaths of Don and our dog called Blue, we managed to sort all the practical things that come with selling up.  Once all that was completed, and goodbyes were said.

We were ready to leave.

As corny as it sounds we had “Born to be Wild”, Steppenwolf, blaring from the stereo as those wheels moved us down the driveway and onto the Highway of a new start to exploring NZ and the wider world.

A sense of freedom overwhelmed us.


56 thoughts on “Minimalism – Living in a 24 m2 Space.”

  1. Wow, much bigger than Reg! I do miss motorhoming – some much easier than a caravan or camping. Perhaps I’m getting old?

    We’ve toyed with the idea of a smaller campervan but the pull-out bed is a pain. It’s all a compromise and hard to find a van/MH that fits all your needs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely not into camping, as the Squire would find it to hard, due to his back. You are right Nilla it is a compromise and how big your budget is!. Some very cool ones in Aussie 🙂 If we listened to our heart more than our financial practical head we would get another motorhome, though smaller, in a flash!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your motorhome sounds and looks very spacious and comfortable. No doubt I could live in a home on wheels like that. I should actually calculate our square footage or meters one day, whenever we move in Zesty! I’m jealous of your full-on bedroom. Having everything else being smaller, I can live with! The pull-out bed is our compromise to have 19ft camper van.

    Our roof is small as well, in between vents and the AC-unit, but we hope to one day integrate solar panels as well.

    What’s a “lockup”?

    Having a four-burner stove is luxurious! 🙂 I remember the importance of renting a fully self-contained camper van on our three-week trip on the South Island a few years ago. It allowed us to camp for free the whole duration we traveled around the island.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it! Less is more as they say. Less certainly works for me. It sounds like it wasn’t an easy transition to make and I can understand why. Seeing Instagram pictures and the like of alternative ways to live make it all look so easy and wonderful but don’t necessarily show the emotional side of the descisions that are made to get there and how difficult it can be at the time. Bravo to you both, you are an inspiration with your ‘pragmatic let’s make it happen approach to life’. Fond memories indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so nice that the two of you are on the same page with regards to your lifestyle. I often hear people say “My dream has always been to (fill in the blank) but my husband/wife has no interest”. Sure, you can do some things alone or with others, but switching around your whole living situation would be hard without the other’s buy-in. I always enjoy reading about your current adventures and it’s interesting to know more about what led to your current “career” as global housesitters!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sense of freedom, as much from doing things your way as it is being on the road, isn’t it? We felt it too when we moved to the farm even though we had just signed up to the biggest mortgage of our lives and more work than we could imagine. We thumbed our noses to the world (and the council) and did it the way we wanted to, too. All it takes is the courage to step out and you guys have got courage in spades. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And I am in awe of your adventurous lifestyle. Your nomadic lifestyle wouldn’t suit everyone, probably not for us but look at what you’ve done and where you’ve been. I love reading about your adventures. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow…That was some downsizing and what a great adventure I have friends who travel around Europe in a motorhome and love it…A very enjoyable read Suzanne 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t do it, Suzanne…I like space…I have friends who live in really tiny places and I love them they are cute and lovely but I would go mad…I love space around me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It is a gasp-worthy notion that you moved from a large house and 14 acre farmstead to 24 square metres of living space. I am a keen follower of a programme called ‘Tiny House Living’ and am always fascinated by the process of extreme downscaling but yours was a downscaling on steroids! But true nomads you both are (how fortuitous that you found one another, I must remark) which is a rarity in this modern age. Although this is a liberating read in terms of the sheer volume of decluttering and the intense freedom you so clearly felt as you cast off the shackles of a house with foundations and drove away in your home on wheels, I also feel the emotion of certain aspects of the transition and the final reckoning with your new lifestyle. Bravo! It’s a privilege to share your experience at some level 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Osyth, your comments always make me smile! Funnily enough I too am a fan of that programme when we get a chance to see it. Not every household has the same TV settings! It proved to be a positive move from large to small and we certainly have not looked back and regretted it. The Squire and I as teenagers lived in the same small rural town for a few years. I always think he was the one that tooted his horn and nearly made me fall off my bike 🙂 We met in another town many years later.


  8. It is very liberating downsizing. Though we didn’t sell our house we rented it out while we lived in a Toyota Hi Ace camper van while we travelled around Australia. I love minimalism. Have you got a house yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Motorhoming is a great way to travel. Travelling around Australia is something we want to do more of after a couple of tastes renting a motorhome a few years ago. No we don’t own a house at the moment, though we will buy another one in the future. The big question is when?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a journey!
    Isn’t it amazing to realise what you can live without and how much we can compartmentalise into a small space. Great story Suzanne, thanks for sharing this special time in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think we could manage it – my husband is a bit of a hoarder! I guess the trick is to be quite strict with your rule – if not more than one use get rid of. And I bet you guys are mean tetris players after using every little available bit of space up for storage!

    Liked by 1 person

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