Unfortunately, there often comes a time when you may have to live out of your car. No one ever believes that it could possibly happen to them, but it can and it does. If you lose your job or are evicted from your home or apartment, you may not have anyone you can stay with. You don’t want to end up on the streets, so you turn to the one large possession you have left – your car.
What can you do to survive when you are homeless but have your car to live in? Read on for some tips that will help you if you are living out of your car in the future.
Protect Yourself from Theft
Now that you are living in your vehicle, it is important to protect your temporary home from theft. No one wants their car stolen to begin with, but it will be absolutely devastating to have your car stolen when it is your only home. A good steering wheel lock will ensure your car doesn’t move if you have to leave it to go to work or into a store. Choose a brightly colored steering wheel lock that is visible from the outside to deter break-ins. Thieves will walk by
your vehicle to find an easier target if they immediately spot one on your steering wheel. A steering wheel lock is also a good idea for when you are parked. It keeps your car from being accidentally thrown into gear while you are sleeping.
Install an Auxiliary 12V Power Outlet
You’ll need access to certain electronics if you are living in your car. You may need to plug in various electronic devices, such as a hair dryer, coffee pot, laptop, electric griddle, or an electric cooler. Install an auxiliary 12V power outlet to provide power to these devices and more, just be sure to take the proper precautions. You can also keep your phone charged through this type of charging port. This type of power outlet will also work if you have the right
space heater to keep you warm. Check out Leslie Phillips’ guide on the right space heater that meets your needs.
Setup Your Mailbox
Head to your post office and fill out a change-of-address form as soon as you become homeless. If you have a friend or family member who is willing to collect your mail for you, use their address. If not, change yours to a new PO Box and collect it when you can. Remember, having your mail forwarded to a friend or family member won’t cost anything but having a PO Box will. Choose the option that works best for you.
Keep Up Your Gym Membership
If you have a gym membership, keep paying on it. If not, get one ASAP. Most gyms allow endless visits for a small price. For example, a basic Planet Fitness membership can cost just $10 a month and includes the use of gym equipment and showers. Take advantage of the showering facilities to keep up with your hygiene needs. It’s also important to stay fit, so don’t be afraid to get in a good workout while you are there. A gym membership will also give you something to do if you are homeless and without a job. It’s also a plus if you want to socialize.
Keep the Necessary Gear for the Weather
Sleeping in your vehicle is easier when the weather is nice, but this isn’t always the case for the homeless. Always keep various clothing changes in your vehicle, such as raingear, boots, long johns, heavy sweaters, and a good winter jacket. Invest in a good pair of warm gloves and heavy socks for when the temperature falls.
Organize Your Items
Living out of your car can become messy if you don’t stay on top of things. If you don’t have them already, look for cheap bins at your local dollar store or thrift store. You can find small, stackable square bins that you can put in the trunk of your car to keep your belongings in. Sort your items accordingly once you have the bins. For example, one bin can contain your toiletries while another can keep paperwork. Make sure to have separate bins for clean clothes
and your laundry, too.
Keep Baking Soda
When you start living full-time in your car, you should expect some odors to happen. You’re likely carrying around dirty clothes at all times, especially if you have limited laundry access. Add in your garbage and food wrappers to end up with a car that doesn’t smell so fresh anymore. Luckily, baking soda is a super cheap and easy way to keep your car smelling fresh. Look for boxes in your local grocery store, usually in the baking aisle. Baking soda absorbs odors in small spaces, so leave a couple open in the front and back of your vehicle at all times. Baking soda also works well for spills on clothes and upholstery when you add a small amount of water.
Hopefully, you won’t be living in your car for too long. We hope that these tips will make it easier for you if you do find yourself making your vehicle your temporary home.