Thursday, August 20, 2015 1 comments

Sheets, Steps, Closets and a View of My Kitchen

If you have an RV with bunks, you know that regular sheets will not fit well on the bunks. They are 9" narrower than regular twin beds. I originally planned to sew a seam down the middle of the sheets to take in the excess, but then I remembered the sheet straps I'd seen at Dollar Tree.

Sure enough, they did the trick. This is how the sheets look with these straps in place:

You can see they work very well! I'm thinking about making my own version of these with metal "teeth" grips to keep the comforters in place, too. I'll post more about it once I get it worked out.

The next improvement we made was to cut a traditional rubbery mat (with "teeth" to clean your shoes) in half and bungee-strap it to our fold-out steps. I got the idea from Pinterest, and it works very well. I didn't realize I was going to need a second mat, so the middle step is waiting on that. This works well to keep mud out of the trailer and should keep our carpeting nicer for a longer time.

Our smaller wardrobe closets needed some form of shelving to be most useful to us, but they're a weird size. I stumbled upon these plastic shelves at Aldi for $10, and they fit perfectly. I didn't use the rollers on the bottom, so they should stay in place nicely while we travel. I may add a non-slip liner to the bottom of the closet just to be safe.

There is enough space at the top for another shelf, and we're seriously considering buying another 3-shelf unit to add a shelf to each set.

One caveat if you need a similar shelving unit: Because of the size of these, you have to put them together inside the closet. It's not the easiest thing you'll ever do, but it's certainly not the hardest, either. If you need to remove them in the future, you'll need to take them apart inside the closet so they'll come back out.

Lastly, here's a picture of my kitchen area in action. We had just hooked up our hot water heater, so please excuse the dirty dishes in the sink.

We start homeschooling next week, and I'll try to keep you posted about changes we make and how things are working for us.

Oh, and in case you remember the last post about our power converter not working, it happened again. :( We're going to have to replace it.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 1 comments

We're (almost) moved in!

We moved out of our traditional home last Wednesday and started moving into our travel trailer. The transition has not been a completely smooth one. We discovered what we thought was a bad power converter (no overhead lights, no a/c, but the outlets worked). It took us nearly a week to find the power converter in the trailer (hiding behind the kitchen drawers, not anywhere near the fuse box where it usually is), only to discover that it was working fine. I'm not complaining, mind you. The part alone is around $300; labor to install it is extra.

In this whole process, we brainstormed with knowledgeable RV owners and thought to check the battery. Sure enough, it was deader than a doornail, as they say. We bought a new one, hooked it up on Monday, and it seems to have fixed the problem.

Since I wasn't sure if we would need to tow the trailer to a mechanic, I didn't move a lot of things in at first. I wasn't sure what the protocol was for how much you leave in your trailer when you take it in for repairs, especially when you're living in it full-time. Thank goodness our trailer is parked in my parents' backyard! We've been using their facilities and eating with them for a week, not to mention all the boxes of our stuff that are temporarily sitting in their extra bedroom.

I'm looking forward to getting water and sewer hooked up today, and then we can eat, shower, and actually live in the trailer properly.

Lest you think that it's been a completely and totally frustrating week, here's the view out my screen door:

When things got overwhelming, I'd just sit down on the couch, take a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery.

I did manage to get a few organizational things accomplished, and I thought I'd share them with you.

First of all, I had to maximize my kitchen cabinet space. We have an impressive amount of kitchen cabinetry for a travel trailer, but I was used to a lot of cabinets in our previous house. My parents had these plastic-coated wire shelves sitting around and offered them to me.

I didn't think to take a picture once I put our things in, but you wouldn't have been able to see the shelf at that point anyway.

I added non-slip shelf liner beneath them and on top of them. According to a fellow RVer, it should work. The weight of the items on the shelf will help to keep them firmly "attached" to the nonslip liner. We'll find out when we tow it to get it inspected. I hope she's right! :)

The other challenge is dresser space. All four of us had a dresser to ourselves in our previous house. Now we have two drawers of dedicated dresser space for all of us combined. I'm still working on some of it, but here's what I have so far ...

I discovered that these white baskets from Dollar Tree fit over the sides of the drawer, but not too snugly to close the drawer. It's almost like they're on a track.

I put pajamas on the bottom and added underwear to the baskets on top. It works perfectly!

This is how I'm organizing the space above our queen bed - squarish plastic baskets from Dollar Tree, turned on their sides. These slide along like they're on a track, too. I just left a little bit of space at each end so we could get to all of them. We were able to fit four of them in there, and it should easily accommodate the things we need to store there.

Lastly (for now), I'm cutting apart this shoe organizer to fit inside each of the smaller wardrobe compartments. Between the two of these, we should be able to store all of our dressy shoes (basic black for the guys; a pair of white and black for us girls). The casual shoes will most likely be used on a regular basis, and I anticipate those being stored by the door. (One pair each isn't too overwhelming.)

I hope you've enjoyed the peek into our week. I'll keep you posted on new solutions as I come up with them.
Monday, July 13, 2015 0 comments

How I'm keeping the purging/moving momentum going ...

I'll be honest. I am not a 24/7 motivated moving machine. I can't even wake up in the morning and start purging items from my house as soon as my feet hit the floor. I need a little "down" time, even when life is hectic and busy.

So I've learned to go with the ebb and flow of my energy levels. There are at least a few hours every day that I can purge household items "like nobody's business," as they say. I take advantage of those hours and do all my purging/throwing away when I'm energized for it.

So what do I do when I'm overwhelmed or just need a break? I do things that aren't hard on the brain and/or don't require tough decision-making:

  1. Take pictures of things I need to sell.
  2. Upload said pictures to local Facebook selling groups or Craigslist.
  3. Browse Pinterest for more ideas for RV living. (Hey, at least it's relevant!)
  4. Play a game on the computer. (This is for some serious brain vacation time, after I've made really hard decisions and feel like my head is going to explode.)
  5. Take a 15-minute nap if I'm tired.

I try to limit #3 and #4 to about 15-20 minutes at a time, since they can easily get out of hand. The important thing is that I'm giving my mind a break from the hard decisions, and then I'm usually energized to get back at it.

This is nothing earth-shattering, but it has helped me tremendously in the last few weeks. We still have a few weeks before Moving Day, and I'm hoping this strategy will help me to get everything done in time!
Friday, June 12, 2015 0 comments

I downsized my yarn ... and still have too much!

If you remember, I'm downsizing the possessions of four people from a 5-bedroom house to a 32-foot travel trailer. I knew my yarn stash was going to have to go down drastically, and I finally worked up the courage to do it over the course of the last few days.

This is what I got rid of in regular manufactured yarns. In my defense (and lest you think I'm wasting TONS of money), a lot of this was donated to me.

This is what I got rid of in my recycled yarns (mostly natural fibers unraveled from thrift store sweaters).

When I got done, I felt like I had accomplished something ... Until I realized that I still have six large space bags full of yarn. They're all my favorites, but I just can't justify the space it will take up. I'm going to have to go through it again and make some hard decisions.

I just thought I'd share to keep things real. Some people make it sound so glamorous and fun to downsize to so few possessions. I do look forward to the simplicity of downsizing, but there are some hard decisions to be made along the way.
Saturday, June 6, 2015 2 comments

Easy DIY "Sleevies" (Sleeve Extenders)

I wear my sleeves below my elbows, and it's not always easy to find shirts with sleeves in the right length. My sister-in-law told me about sleeve extenders they make for guys (especially in athletic fabrics, although I'm not sure why). But I wanted a girly version that would work with my casual and dressy clothes. I was puzzling over this last summer when an easy solution came to me - try girls' leggings!

I've been using these for a year now, and I love them just as much as - if not more than - when I started. I've had numerous requests for a tutorial, so here you go ...

The first thing you'll need is a pair of girls' leggings. These are the kind I'm talking about - the footless, jersey-knit kind, not footed tights. You don't need lace trim, but it's a pretty touch. I found these at the thrift store.

Before you buy them, slide them over your arm to make sure they're going to be a good fit. (You might get some strange looks, so I recommend shopping for these on a day when the store isn't very busy.) You want them to be tight enough to stay put but not so tight that they're uncomfortable.

Everyone should be able to find a size to fit them. I have very small, child-sized arms. These fit me well, and they're a toddler size. If you have very large arms, you may want to try ladies' sizes.

This is all you have to do: Cut them at the very top of the leg. You're done!! Wasn't that easy?

You can adjust the length of the "sleevies" to suit your particular tastes, if you want them a little shorter. Capri-length leggings are good for shorter "sleevies," too. If they're too big at the top, you can always take the seam in a bit with a sewing machine, but I haven't had to do it to any of mine yet.

To use them, simply slide them over your arms before you put your short-sleeved shirt/dress/sweater on. Adjust them to the desired length on your arm and then put the outer layer on. No one will ever know!
Thursday, June 4, 2015 1 comments

The blog got a new look!

Ever since I sold all my vintage sheets, I've been thinking about re-doing my blog. Well, I finally took the time to do it, and I think I have all the "bugs" worked out. If you find broken links or any problems, please let me know (using that little envelope feature to the right).

This is a drastically different look, but I like it and I think it works for a non-vintage-sheets approach to blogging. Again, I won't be changing my blog themes or topics, but our move to full-time RVing will certainly affect the kinds of projects I tackle and write about. I hope you stay on and enjoy the ride (pun intended)!
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 0 comments

Our tow vehicle

We began the search for our tow vehicle by looking at trucks. That's all we had ever seen pulling campers, so we thought you had to have a truck. But if you've priced extended-cab trucks capable of pulling a camper recently, you might understand the sticker shock we got.

A knowledgeable family friend finally thought to ask why we wanted a truck. I'm sure the look on our faces said it all - Didn't we need a truck to pull a camper?? He informed us that a Suburban was every bit as capable, if you got the right one. And so the search began.

A few weeks later we bought our Suburban 2500 from John the Baptist. (I'm only partly joking. The man's first name was John, and he is a Baptist. You just have to understand pastor humor around here.) ;)

It's a well-kept beauty that was within our price range. In short, it was nothing short of a miracle! And my dream of purchasing our next vehicle with cash came true. YAY!!