Living Out of My SUV

Let me be upfront here for anyone unfamiliar with my journey – I am living OUT of my car, not in it.  Not full time yet, anyway. I have myself a 2010 Toyota Rav4 named Ame who rocks my world.

I have mostly been staying with my mom while I search for a van, which means I sleep, shower, cook, and use the restroom at her place.  I did not move in to her house, though.  As you will see in the images below, I keep little more than a storage tub inside her home; the rest of my life stays in my car.

I could have moved in to her place, but I didn’t see a reason to.  Living out of my car has been nothing but comfortable from the very start, and has only made me even more sure of my goals to move into a cargo van.  Not only am I not imposing on anyone, but I always have everything I need with me.  I can go anywhere on a whim and not worry about packing a bag.  I don’t even worry as much about what I wear on a daily basis because I have my entire closet with me and I know I can always change if I’m not comfortable.  When I don’t stay with my mom I stay with a friend or at the beach.

The vast majority of what I have in my car is clothing.  I have five bins that divide my wardrobe into: cool tops, cool bottoms, warm tops, warm bottoms, and etc. (PJs, hiking clothes, raincoat, swimsuits,…).  My undergarments are separated into smaller bins that nestle inside the larger ones, and are covered with my bath towel and beach towel to provide privacy since my windows are uncovered.  These bins stay in the trunk space of my SUV, along with my pillow, sleeping bag, and 2 blankets.  My car also has under-bed storage, where I keep my shoes (yes, I have way too many shoes – 10 pairs in my car alone) and some emergency equipment.


A sixth bin containing odds and ends (dishes, my childhood stuffed animals, coloring books,…) lives in my back seat.  On the floorboard of my back seat are a camping chair, a water jug, rat cage & food, and lots of books.  (You can see a shoebox near the far door that is full of books, plus the nearer box of books.)  This setup means I can absolutely have passengers in my car.

As you can tell, I’m not even close to being crammed in with all my belongings.  In fact, it only takes me about 2 minutes to move the bins around, fold down my seats, and assemble a bed for nights when I don’t stay with my mom or a friend.  I’m 5’2″, so this space is just long enough for me to lay flat in.

The only things I do not keep in my car (or in storage) are a tub of non-daily toiletries, items that I haven’t made time to list on my Etsy shop, my old and practically dead laptop, and my extra makeup/accessories that I don’t always use.  My laundry hamper is a pillowcase, and clothing that I have worn but are not dirty have a spot on top of my toiletries tub.


The final facet of my “stuff” set up is my backpack, which I keep with me at all times.  When I go inside for the night it comes with me; when I leave my car behind somewhere I bring my backpack; when I am in my car or at work, it is on my passenger seat.  My backpack contains everything that I use every single day, which only includes toiletries, makeup, my planner, and a book.


My routine is pretty average, with all of this.  Whereas you might wake up and go to your closet to get dressed, I wake up and walk outside to grab my clothing for the day.  Where you might grab your toothbrush from beside your sink, I grab mine from my backpack.  I wake up, get ready, go to work, enjoy activities and friendships in my free time, and eat a lot of produce and cookies.  It’s all very simplistic and keeps my mind at ease.  My life couldn’t be more normal.

For anyone wondering about the other 75% of my belongings, I rent a small storage space (I think it’s 5×15) to house my furniture and everything that I don’t need now, but will want/need at some point in the near or far future.  Most of these things will stay in storage until I eventually settle into a stationary home, but some of it will come out into the van with me once I’m ready for it (cookware, games, winter clothing, general supplies,…).

So, there you have it.  How a girl lives perfectly comfortably without a permanent address, and saves money to travel.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like my life is on a pretty solid track, and the happiness I have in my heart couldn’t possibly be false.

P.S. I would like to give a special shout out to my mom and friends for giving me a space to rest my head and keep my body clean.  Not only am I glad to have these niceties, but I am also eternally grateful for all the extra time I spend with you as a result of my pillow hanging out on your couch.