Live a Routine Life From Out of Your Car!

I’ve written posts before about How to Live Out of Your Car, but when I had written that post, I was traveling – not actually “living” in one location with a job and a routine life…  This post, however, is about how to actually live an ordinarily routine life from out of your car!

In this post, I’ll explain how I did it, and how this is completely different than traveling with your car.

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BEST FOR


The single traveler types (with no kids) who happen to be in one location longer than expected…

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OLD ROUTINE


Think about how little time you actually spend in your apartment… You work all day, go to the gym, get drinks with friends, run errands, etc. By the time you get home, you only have time to eat dinner and perhaps watch TV for about an hour or so before you have to wake up and do it all over again… Your apartment sits there, empty, most of the day… You’re paying for a place to “live”, but most of your time there is just sleeping!

Doesn’t this seem silly?!  It does to me! So here’s my story:

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MY STORY


I was living in Seattle for about four months and had a pretty sweet deal… I was living in an amazing house, in a great location, with great roommates, for a very reasonable price, on a month-to-month lease (so I was free to up and travel if I ever wanted to).  I loved the house and roommates so much, that I decided to stay the entire four months.

When the lease was about to end, I started looking at other apartments… but, compared to the house I just lived in for four months, I was honestly sad looking at other apartments – none of them even came a little close to how awesome that house was… So…

I became “homeless” (by choice) and I’ll describe, in detail, how I do it and why I love it!  I looked at apartments, but I didn’t love any of them.  They were all just “ok”.  I’m not picky (obviously), but I just didn’t feel like being in one place, often, where I didn’t absolutely love it… OR, I didn’t feel like paying for a place and then being away from it the majority of the time because I didn’t absolutely love it… Either way, “homeless” was the way to go!

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I’ve lived out of my car a number of times while traveling around the U.S. and Canada, and I finally perfected it!  It has come from years of trial and error and brainstorming and I’m about to share all of it with you right now!  See how I can comfortably live out of my car (sleeping, food storage, arrangements and designs, etc.), read all my tips about how to make this life-style the preferred choice, AND find out why I feel more productive, healthier, better dressed, and cleaner by living out of my car!

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MY NEW ROUTINE


I sleep mostly at friends’ houses or in my car (and my car is actually really comfortable – see below)…  In the morning, I go to a café, eat breakfast/lunch, and get work done… Whenever I’m bored or hungry, I leave the café and either get food or make food in my car… Later, I go to the gym, workout, and shower… At night, I meet with whichever friends want to meet up for dinner/drinks and then crash at a house of whichever friend feels like dealing with me that night… If people are busy, I really don’t mind (in fact, I kind of like my alone time at night in my car).

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SLEEPING


Years ago, my biggest complaint when sleeping in my car, was that people could see me sleeping in there (which was always awkward)… I used to have the length of the car split into two parts: half was my sleeping area and the other half was for my bags, clothes, and other stuff…

After casually joking around and then, later, seriously brainstorming – I decided that instead of splitting the length of the car into “left and right”, that I should split the space into “top and bottom”.  As cars are right now, there is no “top” on the inside of the car to put stuff so this might be hard to imagine for the first time, but try!

Imagine the seats of your SUV are down so the entire back is, basically, flat.  Now imagine a “shelf” at the bottom of the windows that goes across the back… So if you open the hatch in the back, you would see a wood plank going across the car (from window to window)… and if you squat down so that the plank was eye-level, you would see the space underneath… Got it?  See pictures below for a visual!

So now, the same space is split in a completely different way… Why? Because this way, I can store all my stuff on TOP and I can sleep on the BOTTOM.  Why?  Now, when people look in, it just looks like a packed car and no one will ever know I’m in there!

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WHERE TO PARK


Night Time – The primary concern is safety.  Park in a well lit public place with a relatively big parking lot (small lots are more likely to have towing).  Walmart is a great place, supermarkets, malls, etc.

Morning – Although no one can see me when I’m sleeping, I still have to come out of my sleeping area in the morning… Because of this, I avoid places that I know are most popular in the morning such as cafes and convenient stores (those places usually have smaller parking lots, so you should avoid those anyways).

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CLOTHES


How It Differs From Traveling:
Traveling is usually consists of 95% backpacking/hiking clothes. Routine usually requires nicer clothing because you have to go to work… You’ll need more clothes and nicer ones at that.  Therefore, more of a formal closet area is a bit more necessary to feel at “home” rather than just traveling

I made a little closet area – complete with hangers for nice clothes, a bag of gym clothes, etc.  I found a thick stick outside and cut it to the correct length to fit between the two holes in the car’s ceiling!  I use half to hang clothes on hangers, and the other half to just through my tank tops on… under the tank tops, I have my duffle bag of miscellaneous clothes that I can care if they get wrinkled (like all my gym/hiking clothes).

I really like this system because I can reach all of my clothes from inside the car.  It’s like a “walk-in” closet!  I can comfortably go through what I want to wear and change right there in the back seat without anyone knowing I’m there!

Note: I used to have drawers in the back of my Jeep to keep all my clothes, but this really was annoying day-after-day because I had to get OUT of the car to access my clothes that were IN the car… Practice makes Perfect! CLICK HERE to see my first trial car living!

 

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WHERE THE EXTRA STUFF GOES


All the clothes that I don’t need on a regular basis, I keep in the very back [where it’s harder for me to reach from the backseat].  I also have things that I used months ago that I no longer use such as my snowboard, boots, snow pants, etc.  This stuff that I’ll never use during the summer months, I put in the hardest place to access: in the back, on the bottom…

Basically, you want to set it up so that things you use often are at an arms-length away and accessible… The less you use something, the further away it should be from the front and backseat…

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FOOD / KITCHEN


How It Differs From Traveling:
Able to cook some things at friends’ houses

Basically, all my food is in a cooler on the passenger seat in the front.  Sometimes I make hard boiled eggs and other easy things at friends’ houses and then keep it in my cooler… I rarely put ice in it – I eat stuff fast enough that it can stay a day or two at room temperature… Although, with the summer months, ice is not a bad idea.  Don’t just throw ice in there though.  I found that the best way is to get a huge zip-lock bag and then fill it with ice if you eat at Subway or something… that way, when the ice melt, you can easily take the bag out and dump the water (instead of water getting all over your food – most of it won’t be in water proof containers).

CLICK HERE to read more about how to set up your “kitchen” area.

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SAFETY


For the first time in my life, my car was broken into while living out of it in Seattle.  Luckily, I wasn’t in the car at the time!  But nevertheless, they broke the passenger window and took two bags of mine and all the electronics in the center console.  Yes, it was stupid of me to have bags in plain view, but I honestly wasn’t even thinking like that… but I sure do now!

After that incident, there were a few things that I tweaked in my arrangement in order to protect my stuff.  You have to realize that your home will be right in the open, on the street, for all to see.  You need to protect it the best way possible.  Learn from my mistake and my corrections!

One of the major things that I rearranged was the cooler in the front.  I used to have the cooler on the floor in the front and then I could throw my “every day” things on the front seat when I get into the car… this was a mistake because things on the seat when you’re out of the car for a second, can be easily taken!  So what I did was I put the cooler on the front seat (off the floor). This way (1) there is room on the floor to store a few things that no one can see because the cooler is blocking it, (2) the huge cooler in way of the window deters people from breaking in, (3) it’s a reminder to me to get my stuff off the top of the cooler because now it’s higher and at eye-level every time I leave the car, and (4) with the cooler on the seat instead of the floor, it leaves more room for the front seat to be move up and makes a lot more room in the back!

I also cover the back windows so that people walking by can not see all my things!

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ENTERTAINMENT


After working at cafes all day, working out, then getting ready for the night, most of the time I’m hanging out with friends… but if all of my friends are taking it easy due to having to get up early for work, I’m perfectly ok with entertaining myself in my little house-on-wheels!  What I do:

  • Watch TV/movies on my computer or smart phone.  If I’m lying down and watching, I use headphones and then eventually just go to sleep…  Other times, I really like sitting in the driver’s seat and eating dinner while I watch.  When I sit in the front, I plug my smart phone into the Auxiliary port so that I can eat while I watch my shows with surround sound.
  • Work on some projects like sewing my jeans or anything else I’m working on.
  • “Clean House” / Organize my car – put clothes away, separate dirty from clean, etc.

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LITTLE THINGS I DO


(refer to the picture)

  • I use the pouch on the back of the front seats to hold laundry – it’s right there when I change so it’s easy to throw used clothes in there…
  • I put a plastic bag (usually a Subway bag because it’s thin) on the driver’s headrest.  I use this as a trash bag and I put it there because I can reach it no matter where in the car I am (and it’s not in my way).

 

  • I always have bottles of water in the car – one for drinking and for the gym and another that doesn’t leave the car.  I use that one as my water supply in the car (for washing my hands, or if I need a little water to fix my hair, or to brush my teeth, etc.)
  • I keep a paper cup (like a used coffee cup) in the door so if I want to brush my teeth in the car, I have a place to spit.
  • I have a thin rope tied from the front of my car to the back where I hang a dark colored scarf.  I use this as a sliding curtain so that I have privacy when I change as well a good way to block my window so that people can’t see into my car when I’m not there.  I also use this rope as a clothesline to hang my wet towel after showering.


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USE THINGS IN MULTIPLE WAYS


Nothing is for show – Everything is functional and, usually, can be used in more than one way…

Put your clothes to a better use than just covering yourself!  You’re not going to wear every article of clothing you have every day, so put the ones just sitting there to good use!

  • The “curtains” are actually a scarf that I wear sometimes.
  • The mirror ornament is actually a headband I made (from a peacock feather) and wear sometimes.
  • If I want some extra privacy, the curtain I use is actually a wrap-around skirt
  • I fold my vest to fit perfectly into a mini pillowcase – This isn’t really necessary for the car, but I’m just used to doing this from backpacking [where even the space of an extra sock matters].

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WHERE TO SHOWER


When I live out of my car while traveling, I shower at truck stops and campgrounds (CLICK HERE to read all about that life style and how to find those showers).  But when I live out of my car while living a routine life, I simple shower at the gym.  I pay $15/month for a gym membership and this gives me (1) unlimited work out time, and (2) access to a shower any time I want it.

I sleep at friends’ apartments all the time, but not once have I showered at a friend’s apartment… I feel bad using people’s things when this is MY life style; why should someone else have to deal with what I’m choosing to do?  I just feel a million times more comfortable showering at the gym where I know I can use as much hot water as I want and not be rushed because of other people’s schedules.

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THE AMAZING BENEFITS


  • I work more! Every day I work on Hole Stories!  In an apartment, if it were sunny outside, I would have no problem spending my day outside with a beer getting some vitamin D… If it was raining, I would have no problem taking a nice nap… Now, no matter what the weather is, I am forced to go to cafes every morning (to use the restroom and eat) which results in staying for hours and working hard!
  • I exercise more!  Again, in an apartment, if it were sunny or rainy or if I were lazy or tired, it was a lot easier to make an excuse to not go to the gym because I had a place to be lazy.  Now, living out of my car, I don’t really have a place to make too many excuses… I go to the gym all the time because it’s now part of my routine where excuses really can’t happen and it’s also where I shower so…
  • I dress better! This one might not make sense, but hear me out! Living out of my car makes me live hour-by-hour; I never know what I’m getting into until it’s happening… After I workout, shower, and get ready, I put on nice clothes because I never know what I’ll be doing that night.  I could end up going out to dinner, getting drinks at a nice place, dancing, who knows!  Before, in an apartment, I would just leave the gym, shower at home, put on sweatpants and a hoody, and then basically call it a night… lame.  Which brings me to my next benefit.
  • I go out more.  I don’t have a home to be lame in so… If a friend is out, what excuse do I have?  None.  I love not having excuses – It’s like the movie “Just Say Yes”.  A situation presents itself, you do it because, well, why the hell not?

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THE KEY


The most important part and the key to make this life-style work is this: YOU MUST BE INDEPENDENT!  I don’t just mean financially or you live by yourself…  I mean: are you ok with really being on your own mentally/emotionally?  Of course a lot of people like to think they are independent but most people aren’t MENTALLY independent.

Can you go to dinner by yourself?  Can you sit at a bar alone?  Are you ok with not knowing what you’ll be doing in 30 minutes?  Are you ok with instant change in plans?  If your friends are busy, are you perfectly happy entertaining yourself? Can you take care of all your needs from living out of your car on your own with no help from others (eating, sleeping, showering, working, etc)?

If you can do EVERYTHING on your own, then when friends invite you to dinner or to crash at their place for the night, then these are just great surprises.  You shouldn’t try this life style and then expect anything from anyone else.  This is YOUR CHOICE, and your choice ALONE.  They say that “beggers can’t be choosers”… well, choosers shouldn’t be beggers.  If you choose to try this, don’t ask for favors.  This is your choice – not your friend’s.

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THE ONLY NEGATIVES


  • Worse gas mileage because there’s more weight in the car.
    Fix: Don’t drive all over creation – do just the few things you need to in the day.
  • Your “house” is no longer a place to invite people to hang out or for a party.
    Fix: Go to their house :)

 

LET’S HEAR WHAT YOU THINK!


Do YOU think you can live like this?  Have you ever lived similarly to this and have suggestions for anyone that would like to try this?

27 comments

  • AH! the bed nook is brilliant! I was up in the air about it, but that seems like a perfect solution!!
    Thank YOUUUUUUU!

  • Bicycle Rick

    Hey,

    Great site. I have lived in my van a lot while traveling. Dodge Grand Caravan’s are huge. I am always with bicycle and ride nearly every day. I like your Ice cubes in the baggie idea. I have always gone with a big plastic box in the cooler.

    I am going to steal your idea of building a cubby on the floor to sleep. I have always used a cot with my stuff stored under it.

    A black comforter over the top of everything in the back —especially 2k-5k bicycles—really makes everything invisible.

  • This article really gave me hope, inspiration and encouragement. As of next Friday, I will be living out of my car by choice. I have grown so tired of paying rent and getting nowhere in paying down my debt.

    I’m in a good position to do this now as I am single with no children or pets, my family lives out of town and stay at hotels when they visit, and my friends ar scattered all over Chicagoland so we rarely visit each others’ homes.

    I’ve put all of my belongings in storage, the last of which will be placed in there next Friday. I belong to a very nice health club where of course I can shower and exercise whenever I choose.

    I’ve already checked out where I will be able to safely park overnight without any problems. I have several back up locations as well. My car is only 3 years old and has tinted windows. I work retail so I can steam my clothes with the steamer at work and appear absolutely normal to everyone. I’ve purchased a small cookie and have my meals planned. I have already started paying down my credit card debt and have $500 set aside for emergencies in case I need a hotel or have a small car repair. My car is still under warranty so that’s a bit of relief. The condition and upkeep of my car are now more important than ever.

    I don’t plan on keeping all of my clothes in my car, just enough for a week. The rest will be hanging nearly on rolling racks in my storage unit. I can just pick up what I need weekly. Laundromats are everywhere near me and some are open 24 hours with cameras and security.

    I have already purchased extra warm blankets for winter and have even purchased an adapter for my car in which to plug in an electric blanket if the need arises.

    I only plan on doing this for 4 months as my debt will then be paid off. I’m excited to finally get to where I want to be financially. I plan on spending a lot of time reading, going to the gym and enjoying all of the great places in my neighborhood that I never enjoyed before because I would sit at home and watch tv. I have my laptop, iPads etc to keep myself entertained. Not planning on sharing my plans with anyone in my life because I don’t want to have to answer a bunch of questions or explain why I’m doing this.

    Wish me luck!

    ~M

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Megan, you’re so Awesome! I’m so glad that my article has motivated you to try this. I wish you the best! Let me know how it goes and what you’ve learned (what to do differently next time, what to avoid, etc). Keep in touch, and rock on, sister! =)

  • wow. It is so hard to find stories from women. I have a job 4 hours away from my parents house and I need to work right now in order to pay my bills. I could live at home for free, which I’ve been doing but I won’t have any income. My parents are paying for my little brothers college and so I know they are already tight. Today I made my first student loan payment. Yay! not. I can’t make payments and pay rent. The only solution is to live in my car. I know my friends would gladly offer me shelter but they are married, and I would just hate to be in that situation. This is also a secret that I will have to keep from basically everyone. My family and my friends.

    Sunday will be my first night sleeping in my car. I’m not thrilled about it, as I consider myself high maintenance but it is nice to see that it is doable.

    I have a small hatchback and so I plan to use my backseat as my bed. I’m going to purchase a car mattress. My trunk can be accessed from inside my car and so I plan to use that access point to get to clothes. I am going to just pack clothes for 3 weeks and then I will drive home and swap out my wardrobe. I’ve purchased mesh window shades for my car windows for privacy. I’m going to get a solar charger that I can use to charge my cell phone.

    I have a picnic backpack. The inside has a cooler, thermos, wine coolers on the side, plates, utensils, and napkins. I can store food in that and anything I need to stay cold or room temperature. I will work as a teacher and so my clothes will have to be semi-casual but since I am subbing, I can probably recycle outfits as long as I teach at different schools. I live in a college town so there are plenty of libraries and cafes where I can go during the day.

    I have some concerns that worry me. As a lady, I’m worried about that “time of the month”. What happens if I have to use the bathroom in the middle of night. How can I even cook or keep food in my car without it smelling. What do you tell people when they ask where you live? My life hasn’t always been easy and so I am accustomed to having to do whatever it takes to survive and get ahead. Living in my car is the only way to live rent free and be able to take care of my responsibilities. How can people judge me if I am just doing what I have to do so I can survive. I know that people are much worse off. Some people live in shelters and they are homeless and jobless. I am neither. I don’t feel like for me living in my car is a choice. Either I live with my parents for free but I have no job. Or I can live in my car, work, and pay my bills. There isn’t an in between for me. Is there anything new that you’ve learned from your experience that you would like to share? Have you even been approached by the police?

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Hi! I’m so glad your found my post helpful/inspiring =) How’s living out of your car going so far? Are you still doing it in the winter months?

      As for “that time of the month” – I never found that, or even using the restroom in general, an issue because I would always use a restroom at the gym or a bar (or wherever I was right before bedtime), and then as soon as I woke up in the morning, I would walk to a coffee shop to do some work (and I would use the restroom there to do my business, wash my face, and brush my teeth). Walmart is also a good option for this – Walmart is open 24 hours and the parking lots are well lit (both ideal for optimal security). Also, Walmart always has the restrooms directly at the front of the store and no one even notices or cares if you just walk in to use the restroom and walk out (in a small local cafe, that might be a little awkward and frowned upon).

      I’ve only been approached by the police while traveling and parking in parking lots that I wasn’t familiar with. But whenever I was actually living out of my car in one city, going to work, and had a routine, it was never an issue.

      I never actually cooked in my car while living in it in a city – I’m really good at sticking to inexpensive food and purposely eating half of it so that I always have leftovers (pizza, Subway, pasta at some restaurants, etc). Even when I live in an apartment, I always find myself soooo busy with work (just to pay for the apartments and bills, which is kind of ironic), that I never have the time or energy to cook even at home… So it’s just really my life style (no matter if I’m in a car, an apartment, or traveling) to always eat out and have left overs.

      Let me know how you’re doing and what you’ve learned – I’m super interested! Rock on, my fellow teacher friend! =)

    • I have found cans of ready to eat foods helpful such as ravioli, soups, stews, fruit, and many of these can be bought for cheap. Because of their small size they can be packed any where. Also sandwich wraps are easy. Lunch Meats can be stored short term in a cooler and tortillas pack well. Condiment packages are easy to find and store.

  • hi! Thanks so much for the info, I am going to live out of my car by choice as well. Everyone thinks I am nuts, but i spend so much time in my car comuting it is as if I already live in it. Thanks again!

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      No problem! I know the feeling and actually really like that feeling! Thanks for reading and commenting! =)

  • Hey I love your article, thanks for the information. I am choosing to live in my car too, moving to the bay area soon. I was wondering how you built your bed frame?

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Thanks a bunch, Pascale!

      Well, I’m really not a builder. Basically, I just drew up a rough sketch on a napkin sitting in a diner one morning, took some measurements, tweaked the sketch, bought some wood, and put it together. I then put it in to see how it was looking, and tweaked it some more. More or less, trial by error – but it works just fine! And since then, I have painted it black so that it is even less seen at night (even though most of it is covered up with stuff).

      I’m actually in the process of building a different frame for the same car… Maybe I’ll make another post about this new one! =)

  • I thoroughly enjoyed your article. My tip is about how to go to the bathroom. Sometimes you can’t just run into the nearest McDonald’s. So a friend taught me this trick years ago. If you’re driving down the road and you are unlucky enough to have to go to the bathroom You pull off in a wide spot. You park your car at an angle. With the front end closest to the road. You get out and go around to the passenger side. You open the front passenger door. You sit on the edge of the door step and urinate. This way cars coming toward you cannot see you because the passenger door is open, Blocking their view. Cars coming behind you cannot see you either because the rear of the car blocks their view of the passenger door. I hope I explained this so that you can understand. It is a fantastic tip and I’ve taught it to all of my daughters. I own a Dodge Caravan.

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Well that sounds very handy! I will test this out and experiment on my next road-trip. Thanks for the advice! =)

  • Living in my car was great! The best memories in my life were of that time period. But I never did learn how to meet a woman that was okay with this lifestyle… hence I’m still single to this day, having missed out on my prime dating years :(

  • This is awesome! I’ve been intentionally homeless a few times, seven or eight years ago. I didn’t have as much space so I always slept with friends. I loved it and I miss it sometimes now that I’m married and have a business with supplies that require a lot of space.

    One thing that touches me is seeing all the comments from folks who have also done this and had positive experiences. When I did it, I had a lot of detractors who said things like “you don’t respect yourself if you live like this” or ” how dare you choose homelessness when it’snot a choice for so many” etc. It’s so refreshing to see attitudes seem to be changing!

  • Hi, I spent two yrs living in my car and learned a lot. A few suggestions. A 5 gallon bucket, sand and clay pot makes a great off grid fridge by just keeping the sand wet. A can stove/heater placed in a glass baking pan with sand let’s you cook and heat with twigs for free. Bubble wrap applied to the windows helps keep you warm in the winter. My bed was a sheet of plywood attached on a piano hindge onto a 2×2 frame so I could lift it up and use the storage under it. I attached a curtain rod under the plywood, attached netting on to all 4 cornersere I could drop the top of the netting and accesslall of my clothes hanging on the rod. (Attached hangers with key rings where they stayed in place) when meeting is attached back to the top all my clothes laid flat against the plywood and the bed closed they were out of site and out of the way. The storage under it I put milk crates. They held blankets, shoes, and other personals. Hope that helps someone.

  • Hi
    I’m going car camping for the weekend because….its just me….and I can’t find they key to my caravan and I’m working a christian festival.

    Reading articles such as yours to prepare getting my SUV all ready…great post. Xmel

  • I lived in my car for a couple of month last summer, now i rent an unfinished room in my friend basement for the winter (it’s cold in canada).

    I have a dodge caravan 2005 with the stow and go seats, best car ever. I could put all my things behind the back seat and get ridesharers when i wanted to change city. At destination. I was hiding the seats, unrolling my twin size bed, putting my curtains and i was back in my mobile home.

    Anyway, here what i have to say :

    Sleeping : Last summer i had a futon bed, and i was putting my things all near the back door, from the floor to the roof. That was giving me enough place to sleep, but also to live in my car. I often had friends coming for a beer before going out, so we were just sitting on my bed. I also had some sleeping there for the night, completly wasted. It’s nice to have room.

    Where to park :
    I was living in big cities, most often in Montreal, and i parked wherever i wanted. Mostly downtown, i was almost always 2 streets next to where i was going out. Elseway, i had a bike strapped on the roof of the car to go where i wanted to (i could also lock it on a fence next to the car). A car in a parking lot look suspect, a car in a street with appartements look normal.

    Clothes :
    Rolled up clothes in milk crates are the way to go. You can also stack the milk crate on the front seats to make even more space at the back.

    Where the extra stuff goes : If you got that much stuff you don’t need (like snowboard stuff in the summer), you might wanna think about those big box to put on top of your car. I paid $20 for mine. Ugly, but usefull.

    Drugs, pills, nailcutters and most other small things are in the glove box.

    Food/Kitchen : I cook outside of my car on camping gear most of the time, but i also got a bunch of friends in different cities that gave me the key to their place. The deal is that i can go there when they are not there, cook, take a shower and whatever, but i have to do all the dishes. That’s awesome.

    I used ice in a super good cooler. Ice Block last longer than little piece. Masson jar keep my food dry. Those are the only recipient i trust in a cooler. They also are all the same size so they take all the bottom part of the cooler and the water never touch the stuff on top of them.

    Safety :
    i put electronics under my bed. I also got an alarm system that i arm even if i’m in the car. I plan on putting a CO2 detector in case i have to run the engine while sleeping (never happened yet).

    Little things i do :
    ho yes, everything you said, especially the coffee cup for spitting.

    I use a telescopic broom handle from the dollard store for my curtain. i’ve put screws in both ends of it, and i’ve drilled holes in the plastics of the car where i want it (behind the two front seats). I use zebra beach towel to make a really thick curtain. In the other windows, i use to put cardboard, but next summer i’ll use velcro and pieces of carpet. I really don’t want the people outside to even see the light from my computer of my cellphone. As the windows are already tinted, with something behind, they just looked more black.

    I’ve also wired the lighter plug so there is always electricity on it. Usefull for cellphone at night. Also, there are some 6 ft cables for phones on ebay.

    Use things in multiple ways :
    The curtains/towels are also my shower towel, and doing the dishes. Mirror ornament is actually sunglasses. Milk crates containing food are used as a table (even when cooking outdoor).

    Where to shower :
    Friends places (wrote it earlier) or whatever bathroom where i can lock the door. I also have baby wipes in the car and i know the owner of a yoga place where there is showers.

    Other negatives :
    Winter. I wasn’t ready for this one, but i will be for next one. I bought a Neoair Dream sleeping pad by Therm-a-rest (i’m testing it inside and it’s awesome! going to buy a used winter -18C sleeping bag tomorrow. I will need some kind of heating, a way to kill humidity, solid state drive for the computer, other cooking gear, etc.

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Wow, Carl! That is really awesome information! Thanks for sharing. I love the freedom of living out of a car, and I really hope to do it again soon – maybe this time, even better! I like your advice of rewiring the cigarette lighter so that it is always on. And using crates to store things. Great stuff!

  • Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. I too live in my car by choice and the most difficult part is the occasional downtime. On the upside you do get to save a lot of money.

  • Thanks me my wife and 7 year old son are going to be in this situation just after Christmas so going to get the very best out of my car based on your advice. Thanks.

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Thanks, Lee! I wrote this article for fun, and in the back of my mind, thinking no one would care to live like this (it is very “different”)… I’m really glad you got some good advice from my experiences! :) Will you be traveling or staying in one location? After Christmas will be quite cold, no? If you’d like to email me, we can brainstorm about staying warm in the winter – that’s probably the one thing I left out… One thing I used to do is have a few metal water bottles and whenever I stopped at truck stops, I asked to them fill it with hot water… I then put that at the foot of my sleepingbag (in the car) – kept my feet nice and toasty until I was asleep :) Email me any time! holestories@gmail.com

  • This is sick, I’m doing the same thing over in SF bay- it’s only been a month or so, and you had some helpful systems that I’m definitely going to try out. Also lots of pertinent and easy-to-overlook advice for anyone wanting to try it out (boundaries with friends, climbing out of the car in the morning). Thanks for putting this out there!!

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Thanks, Allison! I’m glad it helped you and perhaps other people too. This probably seems like an odd post to most people, but I’m glad to see that my weird life helps/motivates others :)

  • Walter Hampton

    Lindsay is awesome! Super insightful info! Can’t wait to read more!

    • Lindsay | HOLE STORIES

      Thanks, Wally! I’m glad you liked this post. I hope it inspired you! :) Happy travels!

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