by Kelly Ross

When friends, family or strangers first hear that we live in a converted school bus we lovingly call the “Just Right Bus” they’re typically quite intrigued in the basics. Does it drive? Where do you buy a bus? Do you live in it full time?

If our encounter is more than a few minutes we typically get a round two of questions that are much more specific. Do you have an air conditioner? What about hot water? Where do you go to the bathroom? Where do you keep your (insert any random item commonly found in homes here)?

It’s the “where do you keep your…” question that I’m going to attempt to answer in today’s post and possibly a series of posts if this idea takes off. Some tiny homes represent the epitome of minimalism with maybe one of two of each item essential to living. Although we’re quite minimalist compared to most homes, we definitely have stuff that we could survive without, but choose to live with. This post is about what, where and why we keep certain items, specifically books and towels.

Before moving into the bus I went through my extensive book collection and whittled it down to a select few that held deep sentimental value. Worn from use or so full of handwritten notes I couldn’t bare to part with them. The rest are borrowed, rented or purchased digitally on my Kindle or iPad.

Chris, on the other hand, is in his third year of medical school and every semester he has to obtain more and more textbooks. These textbooks are neither cheap nor small and go against everything many people believe the Tiny Home Movement represents. Though he tries to use to digital texts when possible, they cost just as much (sometimes more than used books) and he had to acknowledge that he studies better from printed text. His books are also typically used across different semesters so selling them before he finishes school wouldn’t be wise either. It was a simple fact from the very start of our conversion that we needed a permanent bookshelf to store our vast medical library.

We built a 7’x 3’x6”, 8 shelf bookshelf right behind the driver seat of our bus. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk in the door. Other than books, our bookshelf also stores our board games, CD’s, some office supplies and an entire shelf is dedicated to wineglasses (which are stored when we travel). Straps are placed across the front to hold items in when we drive and it was designed to have a 6” depth leaving plenty of space next to it for our drop leaf table and two stools. This area acts as our library, desk, board game table and TV stand when we watch the laptop from the couch. Though we love our bookshelf, it’s starting to get quite full and we’ve already started planning additional shelves in the bedroom area of the bus.

Seems silly, yes, but a lot of people seem to wonder where we keep our towels and how many we have. We got married about a year before we decided to pursue a tinier lifestyle so many of the items that came with us were wedding presents that we had carefully added to our registry. That includes our 4 large bath towels. We store two of these and 2 dog/mess towels on the top shelf of the driver side closet. The other two bath towels are “in use” and hang from a hook near the water trough bathtub. We also have an additional 2 beach towels in the couch storage area. Do we need 8 towels? Probably not, but they’ve come in handy when I’ve neglected the laundry or had a spill. Also, they fit. So for now and until we get something else that requires their space this is where they will stay.

It may be possible for you and your family to live in a tiny home with just a handful of printed books or one towel per person. Or perhaps our library and towel collection are much to menial for you. Either way, this is just a snapshot of how we actually live in our tiny home. What we did was acknowledge the things we wanted to keep and found a space for them that works. If you do the same I guarantee your home will be Just Right for you too.

What other stuff would you like to learn about that lives in our bus?

Kelly Ross is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings. She lives in a converted school bus that is neither too hot nor too cold with her husband and two dogs. You can learn more about Kelly and her “Just Right Bus” at her website or Facebook Page.

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