How to Live in Your Car

March 6, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Useful

how to live out of your car

I’ve camped out of my car a million times, so here’s some advice:

Privacy

Get something to block the sun, and put it in the front windshield, then you can use something as cheap as supermarket bags, or as expensive as a black piece of cloth, but cover as much of the windows as possible, if you car has a window tint, it will look like a very dark tint from the outside, if not it’ll look like you have supermarket bags, but that’s better than anybody peeking inside.

Hygiene

Get a plastic juice bottle with a large neck and (assuming you’re a guy, sorry didn’t check) it’s super easy to pee there, and if you’re parked next to a patch of grass you can easily and conspicuously just open the door at night and dump it in the grass. Saving you a trip to the store’s bathroom in the middle of the night makes all the difference in the cold. A bit of anti prespirant and a cheap shaving razor can make you look way better between showers.

When you go to the store, if you have self checkout registers use those and take a few extra bags and make sure you have a bag for trash available all the time, a car is a tiny space and it super easy to make it into a big mess in absolutely no time.

Food

Ready made meals of any kind are going to be far more expensive than anything you can cook yourself, yet you don’t have a kitchen, so what can you do? Fruits and vegetables are by far your best option, if there’s a food pantry in your area make sure to be there when food is being handed out, think sandwiches, fruits, hummus, cheese. Please if you can, stay away from sugary drinks and junk food, you are already in a bad position, eating that crap will only make it worse.

Buy the cheapest paper plates you can find (they usually come by the hundreds) use them once or twice and throw them away. If you don’t have utensils buy one of each (metal) and then lick them clean after each use, it’s your saliva and you’re not entertaining guests, so really who cares? Not having to deal with more garbage and the terrible quality and cost of disposables it worth it. Also a single knife, a fork and a spoon take up less space. If you have a can of something (like soup) and you want to heat it, and ONLY if you plan on running the car anyways, then may be you can find a safe space under the hood of the car, where you can place that can while the engine is running, where it won’t make contact with anything electric or moving, and will be heated by the hot engine. Don’t use sugar in anything, if you need a quick sugar fix, use chocolate or honey, I know one is 5 dollars a kilo, and the other is like 10, but really how many kilos a month do you need? Overall a difference of 3 to 6 dollars a month should not dictate the state of your health.

Staying warm

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a $5 mylar reflective sheet is not going to help at all, there’s only 2 things you can to: heat up the car (running the engine which is going to be really expensive and also could hurt the engine on the long run) or bundling up. Of course if you have a way to drink hot liquids (ideally just water or decaf tea) from a thermos, that’ll help too) , but there’s no way around this one, and unless you’re in an RV or you have access to a power outlet, there’s really no space heater that can be used safely in such a confined space. If you’re flat broke, go to churches, explain your situation and and ask for blankets, they will either provide or point you in the right direction.

Sleeping

For me, this is the most important thing, if I’m not confortable I just can’t sleep and that makes everything else an uphill battle. A folded blanket (or some clothes) placed in the right dips and curves of a car, can turn a weird shaped seat into a somewhat flat surface, also it may be warmer, again ask for blankets from churches, if needed. If you’re worried about people doing something to you at night, remember how many times was your car broken into in the past years? Well that’s how unlikely your car is to be targeted again, and with you inside, trust me anybody trying to get into your car will get a bigger scare than you, because in the rare event that would happen, they’re definetly not expecting someone to be inside. This was an issue for me for quite a few nights, until I mentally switched to understanding that nobody had a particular interest in me or my car, and I was able to sleep much better. Try not to use much light at night, buy a headlamp with a red light and aim it towards the ceiling of your car, as soon as your eyes get used to that you’ll be able to see, remember that when there’s more light inside than outside (at nigh) you car lights up like a Christmas tree, so unless you have good black outs in all your windows, you will want to keep the light inside your car to a minimum. if you can, buy a battery pack for your phone, that will help your phone to stay alive with only 3 or 4 hours of the car running (or better yet, charge both the phone and the pack somewhere else).

Organization

This is probably the most important thing about car living, I can’t stress enough how quickly you can go from bad to worse when your car gets messy and you can hardly find a can opener or your pee bottle. All I can say is, within your means and situation, make this your top priority, you take something, you use it and you (clean it if necessary) put if back. Be as obsessive as you can about this, believe me, it may include going against some of your habits, and will seem like time consuming at first, but it will make your life feel a lot more in control, and you won’t be giving off that hobo vibe that employers can sense a mile away.

Keeping your morals up

Priority: no alcohol, and no “foods” that will cripple your body like fast food or sodas, if you need something fast and cheap go for some bread, mayo, cheese and ham, believe me it’s about the same cost, and it will help your body be in a better position to deal with your current situation. View this as an opportunity, no matter what brought you to this situation, remember that you’re now more free than most people and that (unless you really let yourself go) you have nowhere else to go, but up, learn to find the best of this moment (for example, did you realize that the worse of winter is almost over, and soon you’ll have more than 6 months to get out of this situation before the cold weather strikes again? There is no better month to fall into this, than this time of the year) Dedicate a little extra from your normal routine, to hygiene and organization, it will help with morale. Search Google for blogs about people that have been or are in your exact situation, you’ll find quite a few and while some of their advice requires a budget you may not have, some will be useful. I hate to say this but: you could be way worse! You have a car to sleep in!

Dealing with police and Legal issues

Educate yourself regarding any laws that could get you into legal issues, I know there are places here in the US where sleeping in your car is technically illegal, and that’s no reason not to do it if you have no other option, but knowing about it can help you make educated decisions that could make it easier to politely get out of a citation if a scared neighbor calls the RCMP on you because they think you are dangerous. And of course, if the law ever comes knocking, remember that they’re sensitive humans and they are emphatic, they are forced to follow the law but the really don’t want to be a burthen to nice people that are down on their luck, just be super polite and explain that you fully understand, and ask if they would be kind enough to allow you to just move, as you honestly are in the worst moment on your life and it would mean the world to you if they could let you out of it this time. If you’re already tense and down because of the situation, this can be difficult to control, but be very aware that an encounter with police can be absolutely destructive for someone on your situation, or it can be just a friendly exchange with a fellow human being that just wants to go back home to it’s family, safe, at the end of the day. Get a PO box and do your best to find a physical address of a friend that you can give out, in certain situations where your PO box doesn’t cut it (like looking for a job)

– tortugavelozzzz

 

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