Can't Take It With Us: Considerations of Power & Space.
Here's a thing I don't think I ever thought about before starting off on this whole "let's live on a bus!" adventure: How much power does this thing I'm about to plug into the wall actually use?
And now I have to think about it for every single thing we own that requires a cord and a power source to work, because once on the bus, I won't have the luxury of an unlimited supply of electricity. One day, I'll rely on the sun to give me all the power we need and then it will be up to us to manage that gift appropriately. While we are planning on outfitting the bus with full solar (and maybe even a little wind power for education sake!), there's still going to be limits on what we can run.
With this in mind, we are paying close attention to what electronics are necessities and which are easily replaced by non-powered alternatives.
This fancy (anytime you read this word, go ahead and hear "FAN SAY" in your head to experience the full effect of me talking right at you) specialized shoulder heating pad can easily be traded out for a rice sock heated in the oven. (Because there is no microwave, y'all.) (Did you hear that? I just shocked some people.)
I'll go ahead and keep shocking folks with this one...I am damn near 40 and I have no idea how to properly wield a blow dryer. I don't even know why I have one. But I'm giving up. It's not going to happen and I'm never going to learn at this point. I've survived this long without catching pneumonia from going outside with wet hair, surely I will find some other reason to perish. Goodbye, blow dryer.
It's completely insane to think about how much money I spent for this iPod dock way back in the day (about $150) versus how much I spent for the rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that I got to replace it (about $20). And the new, much cheaper one sounds better! The dock connector made this one obsolete and the new speaker can be charged and then unplugged and taken wherever. Bonus...the new speaker takes about half as much space as the old one.
Speaking of space. Specifically closet space. While the average American female has an average of 103 items in her closet, I know that we as a family of 5 (sometimes 6), don't come close to 500 - 600 total items of clothing. I'm really tempted to count to find out exactly how much I have in my closet, but I would be safe in betting that even if I counted each individual sock, I'd still have nowhere near 103 items. I keep only enough clothes for each kid to last them about a week. Jake is slightly more high maintenance than the rest of us since he has uniforms and all the required military accessories, but even with his ever-growing collection of gun/hunting/military themed t-shirts, it doesn't come close to 103.
Still. We've got room to improve. With kids constantly growing out of things, and me (thanks motherhood) with an ever shifting weight/shape/size, we have a stuff to clear out.
I was thinking our growth chart (which IS coming on the bus!) might be a fun way of keeping track of just how much clothing is *not* making the cut. So here's half a foot of clothing that will not be taking up even an inch of space on our 35' bus.