How to: Vanlife Chores

Having a routine in #vanlife is one of the most important things for Zak and I in order to maintain some sort of semblance of normalcy.

Because the van is such a small space (~ 86 sqft), the van gets dirty so quickly. Our laundry piles up, we run out of water, we run out of groceries. We have to empty out our toilet and our grey water. We run out of paper towels and soap. And I’m sure there are a million more things that need our attention. Unfortunately though, not all of these to-dos pop up at once. They just happen when they happen, and if we attend to them as they happen, it takes hours and hours out of our day.

These chores take a lot of time between looking for a place, driving there, completing the chore and driving back. For a little while there, it felt like the only thing that we were doing was chores– and it was taking away from our adventure time. So, the fix?

We have a designated chore day (Sunday), a list of weekly van chores in our phone notes (shown below), and whiteboards so we can erase our chores as we complete them. We also do ALL of our chores each Sunday, regardless of how full the water is, or how much or little laundry we have. This has helped us to establish a routine, keep a cleaner, more organized van, and regain so many hours back in our day. Here is our chore list:

Weekly van chores

  • Sweep 
  • Groceries 
  • Water 
  • Dump (Toilet and grey water)
  • Sink (Lysol) 
  • Febreeze
  • Laundry
  • Update map 
  • Clean fridge (biweekly) 
  • Magic eraser 
  • Recycle 
  • Wipe under stove 
  • Fill up mini soaps 

So, if you’re looking to start vanlife, or have just started, we suggest these simple steps to keep your van under control and get some time back in your day:

  1. Pick a designated chore day. Likely, your chores will take the FULL day– embrace it!
  2. Create (and agree on, if you have a partner) on a list of weekly chores that MUST occur to keep your van clean and both of you happy. Keep this list in your phone notes so it doesn’t get lost.
  3. Get yourself a mountable whiteboard and stick it somewhere you can see. I know this sounds silly, but it helps so much to see each chore and wipe it off the board as you complete them!
  4. Complete EVERY chore on chore day. Even if it could wait, even if you have a ton of water, even if you just emptied your grey water out of necessity. You want to be at tip top condition at the end of each chore day!
  5. Edit as necessary. Part of living life in a van means being flexible. If you find something isn’t working for you: change it! Make it work!

Okay, that’s it for this time around. We just posted a video about how we empty our Thetford PortaPotti 365 on Instagram, if you’re interested in how we deal with that part of vanlife!

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