Minimizing Children's Wardrobes for Tiny Living

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Minimizing Kids’ Wardrobes for Tiny Living

…or life in general

By Stephanie Byrnes

Absolutely one of our most asked topics from our time on the road was about how we downsized our belongings for a family of 6 into 200 square feet. So, I thought I would tackle one piece of that puzzle by talking specifically about children’s clothing. Let’s just say it’s no easy task fitting 4 little girls’ outfits in one 2-foot closet and a few baskets, but WE DID IT! And since buying a home, we continue to constantly evaluate our clothing situation as it comes in for the girls to try to minimize because let’s be honest, LAUNDRY CAN BE OVERWHELMING! The only way I have found to reduce the stress of the laundry needs of a family is to create a capsule wardrobe—even for your CHILDREN.

If you are looking to minimize your children’s clothing to travel, live tiny, or just reduce stress, I have 6 tips for you. These are the result of trial and error and necessity! We have to continue to remind ourselves regularly to monitor the amount of clothing coming into our home because girls’ clothing is just so GOSH DARN CUTE!

  1. Make a list of how many items you want of each category of clothing

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Let me put a disclaimer before I get started here in saying, the NUMBER of items of clothing that I am going to list is NOT set in stone. This number should vary based on your children’s likes. My girls specifically love pretty dresses, so you will see a lot more dresses on our capsule wardrobe list than maybe your daughter would want. In fact, one of my daughters has MORE twirly dresses than the others because she basically ONLY wants to wear dresses. The important piece here, especially during our time on the road, is that we have 2 weeks of clothing at all times. No more. This guarantees my girls have enough variety that they don’t just entirely wear their clothing out, but also cuts down on storage.

A sample list for summertime clothing for my 8-year-old daughter is:

  • 5 dresses

  • 5 shorts

  • 5 pairs of leggings/capris

  • 5 nicer tops

  • 4 athletic tops

  • 5 pairs of bicycle shorts

  • 1 jean

  • 1 light jacket

  • 1 cardigan 

  • 2 bathing suits

The key here is NOT the number, but it needs to be based on what your child likes to wear regularly, and it should prepare you for a variety of situations. Use that knowledge to make your list of 14 outfits, and then STICK TO IT. This list should lead you when you are weeding down their clothing. It helps to include your child in this if they are old enough to care. Even if you love 10 of their dresses, pick the top 5 (or whatever number you decided on) and sell or donate the rest. It’s hard, but you CAN DO IT!

2. Choose a Laundry Detergent that Can Keep UP

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We choose a high-quality brand available at Walmart all over the country like Persil® ProClean® Discs™ because it removes the stains my girls are notorious for getting all over their Matilda Jane dresses. It helps, too, that these discs are easy to throw in a laundry bag and bring to the campground laundry mat without lugging around a heavy liquid detergent bottle. When you know you will be washing every article of clothing at least once every two weeks and that you might not have control over the type of machines at the laundromat, you know you need really great detergent.

3. Do not delegate some clothes as “play clothes” and “nice clothes”

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Because my girls don’t have “play clothes” and “nice clothes”, it’s especially important that the detergent we use can remove the food, mud, and dirt that is bound to show up on their clothing at school or on adventures. (Hence why we use Persil®.) I know this is an unpopular practice here, but hear me out. When you are limiting the number of clothing that your children have, I think it’s important to make it as versatile as possible. This means dresses CAN go on hikes in our family. Now, while we were traveling, we never had the need for a fancy ballroom gown dress for our girls, so none came with us. Had something come up while we traveled that we needed one, I would have gone to get one. But my girls know they can wear anything in their closet anytime they want as long as it is seasonally appropriate, and they are still going to be comfortable for whatever we are doing that day. Obviously, I wouldn’t let the girls wear their athletic clothes to a nice restaurant or a White House tour, but otherwise they are free to choose from the small amount of clothing they have available.

4. Don’t get stuck on everything being neutral

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This is my biggest pet peeve when I read articles about creating capsule wardrobes. There’s so much information out there that says you should make your capsule wardrobes solid colors and neutral so that they can interchange easily. And if that is your child’s style, then GO FOR IT! But my girls LOVE patterns and colors in their clothing. Keep your basics (leggings, shorts, shoes) neutral, but let those babies live in COLOR as long as it sticks to the list number.

5.  Only own one laundry hamper

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Again, I know this sounds a little crazy, but it CHANGED OUR LIVES when it comes to keeping our laundry in check. In the camper we only had room for one hamper, which means I HAD TO DO LAUNDRY at least once every 3 or 4 days because we literally had nowhere else to store the clothing. In our home, we continue this practice of one hamper because I know when it’s full, I have to wash and dry or we will have clothing all over the floor. This still happens sometimes, but the inconvenience of it pressures me GET IT DONE. When you can’t hide laundry in many laundry baskets, you do laundry more frequently. When you do laundry more frequently, you don’t have A NEED to have more than two weeks’ worth of laundry for each person.

6.  One-in, One-out Method

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Who out there has bought something off the Walmart sale rack for your cutie pie because it was just SUCH A GREAT DEAL? I know I have! But this gets tricky when you are limited on space or you are simply trying to stay within a more minimized wardrobe. If you just can’t pass up items you find shopping because you love it so much, simply be prepared to STILL STICK WITH YOUR LIST. This means if you bring a new dress into your home or RV for your daughter, one dress needs to go out. Not only does following this rule keep you from stressing over the laundry busting at the seams, but it also might encourage your spending goals, as well! If you don’t have any items at home that you like LESS than the item you want to buy new off the rack, pass it up.

You can do it!

I know downsizing our children’s clothing can be one of the hardest tasks when trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle or moving into a tiny space because everything they wear is just so PRECIOUS on them, but it really brings such freedom! Let me know questions you have, and please share your journey in downsizing if you follow these tips to reclaim the amount of clothing in your home—tiny or not!

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to shoot me an email at ouradventurediaryblog@gmail.com or message me through Instagram at @thosebyrnesgirls .

What No One Ever Told Us About Art Museums

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What no one told us about art museums

And why Arkansas should be added to your summer travel list

You know I’ve been mad gushing over our little town over on Instagram , and it’s long overdue that I spotlight this slice of heaven we call home. So pardon me for a hot minute while I share one of the unexpected reasons we fall hard for this place on the daily. Because when you have all the things of a major city, while getting to dabble in nature and the cost of living allows you actually LIVE, you know you’ve hit the JACKPOT!

Bentonville, Arkansas, may not be on your radar for travels this summer, but as a local gal I’ve got a must-see that will leave you living your best life, as the cool kids say—especially if you actually have to bring some of those cool kids along with you.

Boasting the headquarters of Wal-Mart, this town is nestled in the hills of the Ozark Mountains and brings people from around the world seeking employment with the multi-billion dollar corporation. With such a diverse population comes some really fun interests and offerings in what might otherwise be just a small, rural town in the South. Specifically the newest American Art Museum that breaks all the expectations of what immersion in art looks like is a real gem in the area.

Crystal Bridges American Art Museum is unlike any art museum I have been to. From the children friendly spaces to the mixture of traditional and modern art exhibits to the 120 acres of trail systems surrounding the property, Crystal Bridges seems to center around the inclusion of all people—from the art connoisseur to the amateur.

Experiencing art outside on the trails echoes the museum’s mission to incorporate nature and include all types of visitors

Experiencing art outside on the trails echoes the museum’s mission to incorporate nature and include all types of visitors

  1. The building itself is a work of art

The museum itself is a work of art with its natural light pouring in everywhere you turn and a courtyard surrounded by water, clearly displaying its desire to interact with the Ozark Mountains its surrounded by. The vast American art permanent collection is always free to the public, including world renown artist Chihuly scattered throughout the trails and even in the water of the courtyard.

Chihuly in the water surrounding the property that can be seen from the numerous windows throughout the museum

Chihuly in the water surrounding the property that can be seen from the numerous windows throughout the museum

The architectual design allows you to view outdoor exhibits from indoor and on the trails outside

The architectual design allows you to view outdoor exhibits from indoor and on the trails outside

2. Art doesn’t have to be intimidating with the right tour guide

I also visited some of the visiting exhibits that require a ticket, but are well-worth the experience! The Nature’s Nation exhibit is inside the museum, and while it is a more traditional art experience, the art itself is diverse, ranging from artifacts from Frank Loyd Wright’s homes to the photography of Dorothea Lange. And while I am admittedly not an art expert and often feel intimidated trying to decipher the artist’s meaning in a piece, our inviting and welcoming tour guide broke down each piece in such a way as to help us understand the artist’s purpose in representing nature throughout history. This exhibit runs until September 9, 2019, so if traveling here this summer, make sure to stop in before it’s gone!

Nature’s Nation is a temporary exhibit with a wide variety of mediums curated to explore the progression of nature throughout the U.S.’s history

Nature’s Nation is a temporary exhibit with a wide variety of mediums curated to explore the progression of nature throughout the U.S.’s history

3. Art can be PLAYED with

No doubt it’s the Color Field exhibit that I enjoyed the most, however. This contemporary exhibit is found all over the outdoor walking trails and is truly an engaging experience. From the bright colored inflatable pieces that you can TOUCH (yes, I said TOUCH) to the oversized wind chimes that you can ring to a rainbow color grid that you can watch change to grey at sunset, you feel truly free to PLAY here. This makes it the perfect experience to include the whole family in. Children move about the trails and get their wiggles out through sensory stimulation, ensuring it’s an experience the whole family enjoys.

Color Field exhibit is a temporary exhibit for the summer of 2019 and such a unique experience to engage with art outdoors

Color Field exhibit is a temporary exhibit for the summer of 2019 and such a unique experience to engage with art outdoors

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4. Museums can be FUN!

The day to day of Crystal Bridges is enough to add this American museum to your must-do summer travel list, but if you happen to be visiting on a Saturday in the summer, don’t miss the Forest Concert Series on the trails! This magical experience includes live music immersed in the trees under twinkle lights. My husband and I brought our goldendoodle, put up a couple of folding chairs, and relaxed under the canopy of trees as music filled the air. No coolers are allowed into the concert, but there is a food truck with yummy food and alcoholic beverages. This is absolutely another family friendly event that parents and children alike adore, or it makes the perfect unique date night like we had with our pup! Check out the rest of the summer concert series events this year here, but even if you don’t recognize any of the bands playing, the outdoor concert experience in the forest is worth the trip.

Your friendly four legged friends are welcome on the trails and for the summer concert series in the North Forest

Your friendly four legged friends are welcome on the trails and for the summer concert series in the North Forest

5. Museums can be kid-friendly & delicious

Other areas I loved poking my head into included the creation area for children to make art, as well as the museum’s exemplary restaurant, Eleven, that is on site with gourmet and unique foods.  Our entire weekend at Crystal Bridges felt enlightening and unique, while still casual and family friendly—a combination that is hard to find when traveling with a family!

Gourmet food on site at the museum’s restaurant,  Eleven

Gourmet food on site at the museum’s restaurant, Eleven

Building a Virtual Business on the Road

How We Brought Our Business on the Road

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Building a Virtual Business on the Road

Pete and Jordan Jones

 

The story of how we built a location-independent business goes back to when Pete and I first met.

We were working cushy corporate jobs - great salaries, benefits, company car, paid travel - and we were completely unfulfilled. We learned really quickly that you couldn’t pay us enough to do what we hated, and that more money and more worldly “success” wasn’t our top priority.

We were surrounded by people who were chasing more money, more promotions, nicer cars, better apartments, and lots and lots of more stuff.

And honestly, we just didn’t feel like we fit in. We wanted more out of our life - and that “more” wasn’t anything we could buy.

So after about a year of dating, we quit our jobs, left our New York apartments, and backpacked across South and Central America. It was during that trip that our mindsets and perspective on life, fulfillment, happiness, and travel radically changed. (We wrote a whole blog post about how that first adventure changed our lives!)

At the time, we started a blog called Quarter for Your Crisis to document our travels, experience, and stories of those we met along the way. We had no monetization plan, no marketing strategy, and no income. We had simply saved up money for the previous few years to be able to go on this grand adventure.

That backpacking experience was the first time we ever met or saw people who were making money and building businesses on the road. It opened our eyes to the world of digital nomads and planted a seed to start something of our own.

Most likely, if you’re reading this blog, you may be feeling the same way about RV life. There are so many incredible people and families who are full-time RVing and making it work in a million different ways. Today, I want to share how we were able to grow our business idea into a company that now supports our full-time RV life.

Starting Our Business the Old-Fashioned Way

Once we returned to America, we had severe reverse-culture shock. We knew we didn’t want to go back to New York City, and we weren’t ready to dive into another corporate job. We figured we had already taken this huge plunge in leaving our jobs, so why not try to make this whole entrepreneur-thing work?

I still joke to Pete that our business is an experiment gone right - and here’s why.

The summer that we returned, we were living on a small 7-mile island full of mom and pop shops. These businesses made almost all of their money in the summertime from tourists, and yet very few of them had websites or any social media presence.

We decided we’d start building websites to support the small businesses in our town, and we started a Google sheet of those businesses who could potentially need our services. Once that list reached over 50 businesses, we threw up our own website, printed out some flyers at the local library, and started knocking door to door.

We simply showed up, introduced ourselves to business owners, and asked how we could get them online - and some of those folks took a chance on us two crazy kids.

Since that first summer, our business has grown almost completely by word of mouth and referrals. We’ve been blessed to serve some incredible clients - but we also learned a ton about what we didn’t want to do in our business.

Pivoting and Building Your Ideal Business

That first year in business, we said “Yes” to everything that came our way. We were hungry to grow and learn, and we pretty much taught ourselves anything we didn’t know.

We quickly learned what we loved to do - and what we didn’t.

And while all of those experiences were an important part of our journey, if I could encourage you to do anything in your entrepreneurial endeavor it’s this: NICHE.

Know exactly WHO you want to serve, HOW you want to serve them, and WHY you’re the best one to serve them.

Almost four years since we first started our business, and we’ve finally found our niche and expertise. We help wedding professionals and creative entrepreneurs build purpose-driven lives + businesses (you can learn more here!).

We still take on a limited number of web design projects, because I genuinely enjoy that piece of our business, but we mainly focus on marketing strategy, and even more specifically, Facebook and Instagram ads. It’s our jam, and we totally love helping our clients grow their businesses online!

Transitioning Our Business to the Road

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When we started our business, we served mainly local business owners. Once we decided that we’d be going full-time in an RV after our wedding (aka once Pete convinced me that I would love it… he was right), we knew we needed to make some changes in our business model.

We started off boarding some of our local clients and working with clients across the country. We hosted less in-person meetings and started setting expectations that we’d talk over Skype, Zoom, etc.

Setting those expectations with our clients really helped with the transition on the road. We also started putting better systems in place in our business and narrowing down on our services even more. We found that packaging our services in specific ways helped us not only attract our ideal clients better, but it gave us the confidence to close more of our inquiry calls.

Some of our favorite resources we use to run our business more efficiently on the road are:

  • Drip (our email service provider)

  • LeadPages (landing page builder)

  • Zapier (automations)

  • Wave (invoicing)

  • Bench (outsource our bookkeeping)

  • Showit (website builder)

  • Zoom (conferencing, calls, and webinars)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Working from the Road

Living in an RV has completely transformed our lives and businesses. As scary of a move as it can feel like, it was honestly one of the best chances we’ve ever took on ourselves and our business. RV life has grown us in our marriage, our faith, our business, and in ourselves.

In our business specifically, it’s made us take a hard look at the different parts of what we do and really focus in on what serves us and our clients best.

It’s also hard not to be constantly motivated when all you have to do is look outside your window to be reminded of why you chose this lifestyle!

Plus, picnic table offices are pretty sweet too :)

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Most days, we start with a slow morning routine. We’ll wake up between 6-6:30, and we’ll spend 30-60 minutes praying and doing our devotionals. We’ll make breakfast, and take Russ for a walk or to the dog park for about an hour before we get started with our work day. We’ll usually take another break mid-day to make lunch and walk with Russ, and another in the evening to take Russ to the park and workout. Most nights, we’re grilling, doing some work, and ending the night with a good book!

 

RV life means that we get to have a super flexible schedule with our work and lifestyle. The biggest thing we have to consider is timezone and how it will affect our client meetings. We use Calendly to schedule our calls, which integrates directly with our iCalendar and automatically updates for which time zone we are in - huge win!

The biggest obstacle of working on the road for us has definitely been internet. There are no guarantees at campgrounds, and many parks that say they have wifi do not have a strong enough connection for us to reliably work from. We carry a Verizon Jetpack and use Mifi when we need to work while driving or parked at the RV. Otherwise, bad wifi usually means we’ll seek out local coffee shops and libraries to work from! Sometimes, we even work from dog beaches :)

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In Park City, we actually hosted a live webinar from the study room at the local library - and it worked perfectly!

The only other obstacles with running a business so nomadically that we’ve been working hard to prevent are managing client expectations and payments.

For expectations, we work hard to develop great relationships with our clients. We use Voxer to stay in contact for our coaching clients, and we always make sure our clients know about our lifestyle. We try not to be on the move if we have client calls, which means we try our best to block schedule out our call and coaching days.

For payments, we use Wave Apps for invoicing, and Honeybook for our CRM, both of which allow for online payments which makes it super easy for ourselves and our clients. We do have some clients pay us through PayPal as well.

There are definitely a few things that need to change about your business when you hit the road, but if you prepare a little ahead of time, set up the right expectations with your clients and coworkers, it can be a pretty seamless transition!

If you have any questions about specific business topics or how we run our business on the road, feel free to shoot us an email at hello@peteandjordan.com or send us a message over on Instagram! We’re always happy to connect with fellow RV Entrepreneurs :)

Camp Hosting: A Good Alternative for Income on the Road

Hi! We’re Lyndon and Chelsea Miller, and we live in a 18 ft. vintage camper named Norma. After getting married in 2015 we decided we wanted to travel the world and get a new perspective on life, so we quit our jobs, sold our stuff, rented our house out and bought our Norma.

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That was two and half years ago and it feels like we’re just getting started! We’ve done many things on the road to make a quick buck, but one of our favorites is camp hosting! We are forever indebted to our cousins for finding us this sweet gig. They met a couple our age that was camp hosting in their hometown and helped us get involved. Since then I have signed up for www.workingcouples.com to check out other campgrounds offering camp host positions, as well as www.coolworks.com. Our current position as a camp host is with a campground that is very seasonal from late May to early September. We are located at 10,000 ft. in the Rocky Mountains, so we wake up to crisp mornings-and in the early season sometimes snow! We get quite a few wildlife sightings such as bears, moose, deer, and big horned sheep. The campground we help care for is composed of 25 sites and 5 pit bathrooms with no electric, water hookups, and limited cell service. Needless to say, it’s pretty remote. There’s a large lake in front loaded with trout and the view is gorgeous.

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With this setup, we get paid minimum wage for 80 hours a week between the two of us and a free place to park with water and sewer. We calculated that we probably work 10-15 hours of physical labor a week, which generally means cleaning the sites and restrooms and completing paperwork. We try and take Monday and Tuesday completely off to explore our area, and simply keep things maintained around camp during the week. Weekends sometimes bring the occasional responsibility to solve a problem for a guest or answer some questions that may happen at any time-day or night.

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This kind of work involves people skills for sure. There’s a fine line between knowing when to let an issue go and when to address it. For example, some issues may seem minor to a guest, but can pose a real threat to our campground, like leaving trash out or  hanging hummingbird feeders that attract bears. Another time when we may have to intervene with our guests may be if a camper takes someone else's campsite on accident, and then we have to be the one to tell them that they have to move their RV. Delivering those kind of messages to guests is never fun and is why it's essential that camp hosts know how to work well with people. And at the same time, camp hosts need to know how to let people have a fun and an enjoyable camping experience. We have to discern what is important for safety and the experience of others and what is a minor issue that won't truly impact anyone else.

We often hear from many campers how young we are, and it seems that the majority of camp hosts are older and retired.  However, we always wonder why more people our age don’t do this! Every campground is different but if you love the outdoors, want a place to park your RV for free, and possibly get paid to work right where you are, why not? It takes patience, people skills, getting your hands dirty, and the occasional late night wake up call from campers or wildlife, but as Lyn always says, the reward is hard to beat!

Follow Lyn and Chelsea on Instagram. Photos above are property of Tessa Woodcock.