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What’s It Like? ~ Part 2

July 24, 2014

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Storage is a big issue when living full time in an RV

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Books can be a problem.  Nell reads a lot of fiction.  I do too, but I can milk a novel for a week or so.  Because of the sheer number of books being read, we rarely buy new.  We do swap and shop at Half Price Books, but would rather swap one-for-one here at the clubhouse.  Most RV parks have an exchange library (drop yours off and pick others up).  With the number of people passing through, the book turnover is pretty good.  The problem is where to keep them in the RV.  We reserve a couple of overhead cabinets for books, but it’s necessary to have a system.  Unread books go here… books that have been read go there.  Don’t let the photos fool you.  The one above shows only a small part of the fiction section.  They invariably add up so fast, we have a few stacked on the dash of the motorhome and some on the floor behind a chair.  Sometimes we just put them in a tub in the back of the car.

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The photo above shows a cabinet with the “art library”.  There are reference books and “how-to” books.  If a how-to doesn’t  really inspire me after a few months, it has to go.  One of the hardest things for me to do when we sold our house was to let go of my art books.  If you have a special-interest library like this, you will have to figure out how to store them.

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Storage is an issue when it comes to clothes.  In the photo above, there is a closet behind the mirrored doors that runs from the TV to the gray wall.  That’s it for hanging clothes.  Everything else gets folded and put in the drawers you see.  Keep in mind that we are not socialites and we are retired, so we don’t have much in the way of “dress up” clothes.  I have one suit, a couple of dress shirts, three or four ties, and a pair of dress shoes.  There’s a sport coat in the closet that I haven’t worn in three years and a couple pair of Dockers that I struggle to button these days.  My main wardrobe consists of several pairs of jeans and shorts, two pairs of sneakers, a pair of dock-type shoes, and a number of collar-less tee shirts and golf-type shirts. I have a windbreaker, a sweater vest and a good warm, heavy winter coat.  There’s a pair of cowboy boots under the bed that I haven’t worn in at least two years.  Nell’s wardrobe is very similar, except she has a few sparkly, dressy things because she’s a girl.  And between us, for the way we live, we have too many clothes, even though we got rid of a bunch of stuff a few months ago.  Heavy winter shirts and sweaters are stored in flat bins under the bed, along with some art supplies.

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Storage is an issue because we are artists and we do festivals and parking lot shows.  Paints, brushes, pencils, board to paint on, sketch pads, paper, easels, and backpacks take up a lot of cabinet space.   Drawings and finished paintings, even on thin board, take up space.  (We paint with gouache, watercolor and acrylics, all of which dry very fast.  I don’t know how oil painters travel with wet paintings in an RV .)  And then there’s the festival stuff.  A 10’ x 10’ Light Dome show canopy with side curtains and weights, three folding tables, lights, and some framed art take up space in outside compartments.

In addition to food and dishes, the overhead cabinets hold books, movies, office supplies and spare light bulbs.  There’s a cabinet below the closet in the bedroom that holds tubs with Christmas lights and decorations, some files, and some art supplies.  Cabinets above the bed hold a variety of writing pads, photo albums, Nell’s sewing kit, and yep, art supplies.

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Storage is an issue because I’m a guy.  The outside compartments on an RV are like the garage in a sticks-and-bricks house.  There’s stuff in there that I rarely use, but I might.  There are a couple of canvas tool kits and a set of small craftsman hand tools, an electric drill, a miter box with saw, a couple of fishing rods, a tackle box, an army surplus type folding shovel, and a small gas grill.  There’s the Tailgater satellite dish (we’re currently connected to cable), a couple of picnic coolers, way too many car cleaners and waxes, a few pieces of perfectly good paint-grade plywood, and a bunch of other small stuff, including extra drinking water, soft drinks and a few canned goods.  In other words, it’s a mini version of a typical garage without the car.  But hey, we need that stuff, right?  Oh, and don’t forget the patio stuff, like folding lawn chairs.  It all has to go somewhere.  We have, at times when we were just moving from one place to another, put the lawn chairs in the back of the Honda for transport.

There is no laundry room in our current RV.  Dirty laundry goes in a hamper that we keep in the shower.  When we take a shower, we move the hamper out into the hallway.  When we’re done, we move it back.  Simple.  If Better Homes & Gardens shows up for a photo shoot, we’ll tell them it’s a water feature.  A decent RV park will have a well-lit laundry room with several washers and dryers.  Most are pay and some are free.  We hoard quarters.  Always make sure to clean the filter before using the dryer.  It’s good practice to stay with your laundry so you can unload it immediately.  If it stops and you’re not there, people will unload it so they can run theirs, even if some of it is still damp.  When we’ve been on the road, there have been laundry rooms that weren’t very clean.  In those cases, if we were going to sit for a week or so, we found a Laundromat in a nearby town.  We’ve looked at some fifth wheels lately that have washer/dryer stacked units.  Word on the road is that some people love them and some say they don’t hold enough to do much good.

Coming up:  The dirty stuff

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2014 6:07 pm

    Books are a storage problem … we finally went to a “paperwhite” Kindle, and signed up at the local (that is, where are address is) library. They have a digital borrowing system (called Overdrive at our library) that lets you borrow kindle books (online, of course, so you can get ’em wherever you are). We did have to purchase some of the books we use for reference, or for work … but the space saved was waaaay worth it for us.

    • July 24, 2014 9:04 pm

      I should have mentioned that Nell does have a Kindle that she keeps loaded with books. But when she can trade and get the paper versions, she prefers it. She does like the idea of the library borrowing system. Thanks for the idea.

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