A family of 6 lives full-time in a 400-square-foot RV with a bunk room that all 4 kids share

harrigan lede

  • Floshea and Kalil Harrigan live in a 400-square-foot RV with their four children.
  • Kalil works remotely, and Floshea homeschools their children in the RV.
  • "My husband and I have fallen in love with the simple lifestyle," Floshea told Insider, as it's allowed them to live more intentionally.
  • But Floshea also wants people to know that living tiny doesn't make your life perfect.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Harrigan family sort of stumbled into tiny living.

The Harrigans bought an RV because they planned to travel to churches throughout the country with friends. 

The church visits didn't end up happening, but the Harrigans decided to keep living in the RV they purchased for the adventure full-time. 

The Harrigans moved into the 400-square-foot RV in 2017.

Floshea and Kalil share the home with their four children, who are 11, 9, 4, and 2 years old. Their youngest child was born in 2018 after they had already moved into the RV.

The family parks permanently at campgrounds and were based in New Jersey at the time of writing.

The kitchen is the heart of the Harrigans' home thanks to its blue cabinets.

"Those blue cabinets really set the tone for the entire RV," Floshea told Insider, as her home is full of different shades of the color. 

Despite its small size, the kitchen has a refrigerator, stove, oven, and microwave. 

"We do cook a lot, and my kitchen works hard for me," Floshea said.

The living room sits next to the kitchen.

It has the same blue cabinets as the kitchen, creating a sense of continuity. 

There's more built-in storage above the couch, helping the Harrigans optimize the space.

A small dining room table sits in the corner.

The bright colors of the couch and rug add more character to the space.

Floshea said she loves crafting, so she has made many of the home decor items by hand. 

The Harrigans don't have a lot of table seating.

Their dining room table is small, but they do have bar stools for counter seating. 

"We don't have a dining table that we can all sit in, but you learn to make accommodations for what you need," Floshea told Insider.

The kids' room sits at one end of the house.

The "kid cave" has bunk beds and a small workspace.

Drawer storage keeps the space organized, and the brightly colored rugs help to break up the room. 

Floshea and Kalil's bedroom is on the opposite side of the home.

Their bedroom isn't actually the master bedroom. The kids' room is larger than theirs, as it needs to sleep all four of them. 

A queen-size bed takes up most of Floshea and Kalil's room.

Built-in storage above it and a closet next to the bed ensure the Harrigans have enough space for their belongings. 

The bathroom is Floshea's least favorite part of her home.

The bathroom doesn't have a tub, which is challenging with little kids.

The shower also has to double as storage space when they're not using it, so the Harrigans have to painstakingly remove items from it every time they bathe.

To make it a more inviting space, Floshea made a DIY affirmation wall filled with reminders to "be hopeful" and "seize the day."

Moving into a tiny home on wheels has taught the Harrigans to live intentionally.

"When you have a lot of things or space, it can be harder to be invested in your children's lives," Floshea said.

"We're having to work through a lot of things because we're so close," she added. "We hear everything, and you can't run away when you get upset about something." 

That proximity has led her family to be more conscious about the way they interact with one another, as it's not like they can simply go to another room if they're upset.

"It gives us a lot of opportunities to be intentional with our relationship with each other," Floshea said.

The small home also forces the Harrigans to be more thoughtful about the physical items they bring into their home, as they simply don't have space for too many things.

"My husband and I have fallen in love with the simple lifestyle," Floshea told Insider.

But although they love it, living tiny does present difficulties for the Harrigans.

For instance, Floshea struggled to downsize when they first moved into the RV, and she still struggles to avoid buying crafting supplies that won't fit into her home.

She thinks having confidence in why she wants to live tiny helps her stay focused on maintaining a minimalist lifestyle.

"Make sure that you are solid in your reason," she advises people considering downsizing. "Because once you're solid in why you are doing something, no matter what challenges come, you'll be able to get through it."

Floshea also likes that their lifestyle allows her to spend so much time with her children.

Floshea homeschools her children, taking the "unschooling" approach, so she's with them constantly. 

"It can be overwhelming, but I enjoy being close to my kids like this," she said. "Because they're so young, I can pour a lot into their little hearts."

"I do have my moments where I need some space," Floshea added. "I have to be creative if I need to take space while I'm in the RV with them."

For instance, when she spoke to Insider on the phone, Floshea went to her family's car so she could be alone. 

Floshea told Insider the Harrigans are often the only Black family on campgrounds.

"I have never run into another Black family" on a campground, Floshea told Insider. 

She thinks part of the reason she doesn't see many families like hers living in RVs or tiny homes is because of a lack of exposure to tiny living in the Black community.

"I never stepped foot into an RV until we started looking for ours," Floshea told Insider, and she thinks many Black people have similar experiences.

"It was a luxury item, and there's definitely a flexibility gap within the Black community and other communities when it comes to being able to have a luxury item," Floshea added, pointing to the wealth gap between white and Black Americans that would exclude people from having vacation homes or taking extended trips in campers. 

Floshea said being Black also changes the way her family travels.

"We exercise caution at all times, especially when we're traveling down South," Floshea, who grew up in Mississippi, said.

Because there typically aren't other people of color in RV parks, Floshea worries her family would be vulnerable if they crossed paths with people who are prejudiced.

But Floshea said that overall her family has had positive experiences on campgrounds.

"Although we have been usually the only people of color on campgrounds full time, the RV community has been so neighborly and so kind," she said. "But if I'm being honest, it doesn't take away that it is a little bit uncomfortable sometimes for us."

Floshea wants people to know that living tiny doesn't make your life perfect.

Although living in a tiny home or RV helps many people financially, Floshea knows firsthand that isn't always the case. 

"When I got pregnant in 2018, we lost our jobs six or seven months later," Floshea said of herself and her husband. "They just stopped paying us cold turkey, and we had to dig ourselves out of a financial hole."

"Whether we live in the RV or not, life still happens," Floshea said.

Floshea also told Insider she's grateful she was able to make the choice to live tiny. 

"There are some people who did not choose it, and they have to live this way," she said, speaking of people who can't afford to live in traditional housing. 

"Whether it's tiny living or any other situation, I think it's always important to remember the whole conglomerate of different situations that people are in," she said. "At the end of the day, shelter is a privilege."

You can follow Floshea on Instagram.

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