It’s now been a month since I moved into the Casita, to commemorate the event I’ve put together another small RV living update. This one is about keeping things clean and organized. The previous RV living update which talked about sharing a small RV with a roommate can be found here. When I started writing this post I also was going to include cooking and living with a cat in a small RV, but the post grew to over 1700 words so I split it up and will be posting the cooking and cats part later this week.
As Nancy pointed out at the end of my living with a roommate in a RV post, keeping things both clean and organized are key when you’re living in a RV, especially a small one.
Before moving into my trailer I wouldn’t have considered myself a particularly neat person, but since the move I’ve had to get better at it by necessity. Even one thing out of place when you’re living space is less than 14′ by 7′ can mean the difference between having someplace to sit down, or not.
In the Casita, and most RVs for that matter, the storage spots are usually deep enough that you can’t just access items in the back of them without pulling everything in front out first. Getting the most out of your limited storage means contemplating where things can and cannot fit and arranging items for the best possible usage of space. Once you have a system worked out, stick to it and put things back where they belong to avoid losing things.
I use to tilt my head and wonder how people could lose things in an RV given their small size compared to an apartment or house but I totally understand now that I’m living in mine. Think about what you’re going to be using more often and make sure those things go into storage spaces that are easier to access. For instance there is prime space to be found underneath the seats of my small dinette and in the back of my deep closet, but reaching these areas are more difficult. I’m storing a lot of my RV maintenance and fixing stuff in these kind of spots because they aren’t things I need too often.
Also don’t overlook the storage possibilities of your tow vehicle if you have one. Leveling blocks, camping chair, toolkit, ladder, and cleaning supplies all have their home in my truck right now being larger and oddly shaped things that wouldn’t fit well in the trailer itself.
One thing I find myself wishing I had more of is storage totes. Eventually I could see having one to keep clothes that are out of season in, and putting all my cleaning supplies together in one, but I’m not willing to drop the money on them until Julie moves out and I re-organize everything again. Julie and I each have a small plastic 3 drawer tupperware in the Casita which has proved useful for very small items like office supplies that would otherwise quickly get lost. Then I also have two totes that hold my electronic gizmos and cords that are kept in the large wrap around cabinet over the rear bed.
As far as cleaning goes, it doesn’t take long to do, but I find myself needing to do it much more often than the apartment. The floor gets swept daily because of how easy it is to track dirt in and because Julie’s cat (who is named Fish) sheds quite a bit. The entryway rug gets taken out and beaten about twice a week and even though we never use the bathroom as a bathroom I already have to clean the toilet because the heat and humidity here in South Carolina has led to mold growth on the underside of the toilet lid and a little on the seat. The fact that the bathroom is on the side that gets a lot of sunlight during the hottest part of the day and has very little ventilation with the main part of the trailer (and thus the AC) probably doesn’t help.
Dishes get cleaned right after eating, partly because for most of our dishes we only have one of for each of us, partly because Fish would get at anything we left out, and partly because the longer things sit out the harder they are to get clean, and it’s harder to clean dishes here in the RV than it was in the apartment for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the less food you put into your gray water tank the better, it keeps the tank from getting smelly and drains better. To this effect we’ve been wiping as much of the food off the dishes with paper towels as possible before getting to the soap and water part of the process. If you let the dishes sit until the food dries and hardens on them wiping them off is about impossible. Sure, you could let them soak in the sink, but again that means more food going into your gray tank.
Second, I haven’t been using the hot water heater, so all our dish washing is done with room temperature water. Soap is harder to rinse off with cooler water so the less soap needed to get dishes clean, the better.
Or, you can save yourself some time and hassle by washing dishes outside – as long as the weather is cooperative anyway. This method requires two cheap plastic tubs (easily acquired from WalMart), but does not require wiping the dishes off beforehand. Just fill the first tub up with soapy water for washing all the dishes, then fill the second with plain water for rinsing. Sadly since we’ve been eating supper after dark most nights due to conflicting work schedules, our dishes are usually getting done inside via the first method since we don’t have a good light source outside and the bug activity gets worse after dark.
As far as drying dishes goes, a standard dish rack would be rather space consuming to store in the Casita, so I opted instead for a highly absorbent mat that can be hung up to dry out overnight then folded and put away in the morning to save on space. I love this thing and count it among the most useful things I’ve purchased for the RV so far.
And that pretty much wraps it up. A quick update about Beryl, it hasn’t been that bad here at all. The past two days have been windy but damage has been pretty minimal – some branches have fallen but very few trees. The bulk of the rain is suppose to happen tomorrow, weather.com is saying up to 2 inches with locally higher amounts possible.
A band of heavy rain went through last night that the wind drove at just the right angle to get past the door seal and into the RV, fortunately there are little drain holes under the door leading out so while a pretty significant amount of rain came it it just ran down the inside of the door and right back out without soaking the floor or, heaven forbid, running under the floor into the subfloor. Here’s a picture of it, not the greatest quality but it’ll have to do. The refrigerator vents are also located on that side of the RV, but water doesn’t seem to have come through there at all.
Are you an aspiring full-timer RVer who has questions about living in a small RV? Are you a small RV dweller yourself with wisdom you’d like to share about something you’ve learned? If so, please comment below and I’ll do my best to address any questions and comments in future small RV living posts.