Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy Suds

Carpe Diem.

I didn't get to write yesterday because I have been in a clean, organize, purge routine.  This is rare for me to have so much energy beyond everything else I juggle, so I have to seize the moment.

tioga montara by
Home Sweet Home

When I worked on luxury yachts, we were always keeping things organized and shipshape. Then  when I lived on my thirty-foot sailboat, I had a blast, but continued with the shipshape organized life.

But in the my 28 foot wheel estate, I seem to have a harder time keeping things shipshape. I've come to the conclusion that the boat had twice the storage (it did!).

Just the same, I like to keep my RV all organized with my personal junk stored away, because I have no car. I drive the motorhome when I need to, for errands or shopping or visiting. It's always nice to be able to go somewhere without breaking anything or having stuff fall or tumble around.

Less is best, but more can be fun...

28 foot tioga montara by fleetwood motorhome circa 1994 by
My little old wheel estate has a layout I still love. 

The only big difference being on the sailboat I didn't haul around chairs, rug, table, gazebo for a campground set up yet I was carrying spare sails and oodles of spare parts as I refitted the boat over the course of several years.  But, the sailboat designers didn't waste one square inch when it came to storage areas.

RV manufacturers on the other hand, waste tons of space by not putting storage areas and leaving empty gaps but you can't use them for storage because there are wires, plumbing and systems with tons of open space surrounding them. Like under my dinette booth there is a mess of wires and plumbing including the 12 volt water pump for the tank and the hot water heater.  All of this is  surrounded by several cubic feet of air.

On a sailboat they would have run all that utilitarian stuff nice and neat building a locker there for storage that wouldn't have interfered with the wires, plumbing, water pump and hot water tank. The way the RV manufacturer built this, they ran the systems, all over the place with no thought to adding a cabinet or drawer or locker around the on board system accouterments.  Sure I have cabinets and drawers, but like the dinette, they missed the boat on not building a cabinet or drawer that fit in the empty air around the plumbing and electric.

The easiest way to organize and rearrange in my mini-motorhome is to get rid of the detritus.  Sometimes I think I in-house recycle old broken things a little too long.  At some point, it just belongs in the garbage. Most of my kitchen and household type items have come from used charity shops. However, many wonderful angels have given me new gifts or better used stuff. So out with the old, in with the new and nearly new.

My RV galley came with a pile of used kitchen equipment when I bought the RV, then I bought more (used)  as I needed it.  Now I realize I need to purge the stuff I don't use or use so rarely  I wonder why I allow it to take up room.

Like one day shortly after I bought my RV, I found a box full of chef knives at a used store for $2. I guess they found it impractical to sell the knives individually, so they put them all in a big plastic shoe box, taped it shut and marked it for $2. I end up using 4 of the knives on a regular basis, but the other dozen needs to be re-gifted or re-donated.

Then there is movies, books and music. Most of that has come to me by way of used gifts. I've seen the movies, it's time to re-gift them and let someone else see them so I can have the cabinet back. Ditto for books, the reference ones I don't want to part with, but the fun ones I already read and need to pass them onwards. Music I can copy to my computer and play on the speakers, so I can re-gift that too. Suddenly I have a big bag of stuff to donate.

I went through my clothes and bagged up anything I haven't worn in the last year. Like a bulky sweater I don't care for, a shirt I hate, a shirt I love but it's so threadbare I wonder WHY I am keeping it around? Last time I wore it, I was ashamed to be seen in it. It really needs to hit the garbage, as donating it would be an insult.   I guess it's slightly sentimental, that shirt has traveled with me 25 years through numerous islands and countries.   Isn't that amazing?  It took this long to finally be unpresentable. Two old shirts are in great shape but they don't fit right, so I was tossing them in the donate bag when I realized they were the perfect colors to cover my throw pillows and match the other RV decor. Oops... now things are being re-purposed in-house.

So I told myself "Self, you need to sew up the new pillow covers soon or donate these shirts."  Sewing up items requires a lot of room, best done outdoors. First I have to iron it, dig out the box of sewing accouterments that has the scissors, thread, Velcro, buttons, needles and so on, next measure and cut the pattern, pin it together, dig out  the tiny sewing machine to sew it up, and so on. When I bought the RV, I found a tiny sewing machine for $14 that is about the size of a kid's lunch box. That little sewing machine does amazing work!  I've repaired or altered favorite clothes, made curtains, made back pillows for the bed (recycling the old bedspread) and equipment bags. I plan to keep the little sewing machine, it's rather useful.

My office takes up storage space but I need that to make a living or rather a subsistence.  I exist on old technology (my computer is steam driven) which I don't mind at all. But I found old cell phones and all their cords, why am I keeping this stuff?  I kept changing to cheaper cell plans and each one required you to get their phone, it's maddening that you can't use the same phone over and over when you switch companies or plans. So into the donate bag. I am not sure if the charities have any use for them either, but I surely don't.

So now my spare bunk in the guest loft is covered with a big box, and two shopping bags for donation. I am going on a mini-trip soon, so I will get to donate it all and reclaim the bunk.  The big outside garbage can provided by the park is now half full of crap that isn't useful to me or anybody. I think due to my years of living on boats or islands in far flung ports where shopping could be impossible for common items, I have a tendency to want to repair, fix or make do with every item. I forget I am in America, land of plenty (land of excess?)  where bargains can be had at special discount stores and used charity shops.

Sometimes when I need an RV repair part, I just mail-order it with Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping).  This has saved me a bundle in gas, but the  boxes and bubble wrap I end up keeping awhile in case I have to return it, but then there comes a point when all that needs to go in the rubbish can. I check the boxes for manuals or instructions, then toss the rest.

Paperwork is a nightmare!  America is obsessed with mountains and mountains of paperwork. If I spend $2 on an RV part, it comes with a receipt that is 8 by 11 inches. Go to the store and buy 3 items and it comes with a register tape over a foot long. It's maddening. I photographed tons of paperwork that I "might" need at some point, then shredded by hand the papers I had photographed and tossed all that out. Still, there is a mountain of papers to go through, some of it I need to keep for legal reasons or all the RV related manuals and instruction sheets.

The problem with all this organizing, purging, re-gifting is that I keep finding dirt.  So I end up washing out a drawer or a cabinet.  Where does all this dirt come from?  I think it blows inside when I am not looking, as whenever the weather is agreeable, all my windows are wide open.

Now who put paw prints all over the windows?  I have no idea, but the paw prints look awfully close in size to one little monkey dog...  Then there is the dog juice. I don't know what else to call it. But I clean my windows then puppy dog races up to a window to bark at somebody sneaking into the park in the middle of the night. I guess while he is at the window barking, to alert me, bits of juice must fly from his mouth and stick to the windows.  Ugh.  This is not apparent for several days or weeks. It's only after super fine dust blows on the window, that the paw prints and dog juice suddenly become visible.

Just like hand prints. You can use clean hands to open the kitchen drawers every day, but if you don't wash the drawer faces down then your finger prints seem to suddenly show up one day. So I wash and scrub.


Now that I am dead tired, I must say, the place looks great.  No not really. It looks lived in!  Where did I go wrong... oh right... I live here with a puppy who isn't at all picky about housework.   I live, work, play, recuperate here nearly 24/7 with few breaks. No wonder it looks lived in.

I even did some more outside washing. I never seem to get the entire RV washed on the outside. So many windows to slow me down, then there is the step stool and ladder work and so on. I tire out very easily, so I have to pace myself. I still have very good days and some rotten bad days. My health is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, but I am meditating on that, having a lot more good days.

Awhile back I decided the only way to clean up the outside of my RV is to work on a section at a time over the course of weeks or months.  Eventually I get it all clean, more or less, but at that point, it seems like it's time to start over again. I'd like to wax the whole rig, but first I have to get it super clean.

The prior owners didn't take good care of the outside of my RV, so I've had to deal with dirt, chalking, mold, scratches and dings. While I love having so many windows, keeping them all clean is easier said than done. Especially living with hard water half the year that seems to spot up everything. Grrrrrrrr...

For now I am in the land of soft water and easy suds.


  1. Wow! I'm plumb wore out just from reading about all the work you've done. I need to do that in my little house but the mood hasn't struck me yet.

  2. Before you get rid of all your excess, take a minute to look up what you can sell. Places will buy old cell phones (not for much but a few bucks here and there always comes in handy). Used books and music can also bring in a bit. I sold about 10 used CDs to a local store and they gave me $5 each! I took a bag of old books to two different shops (just ones nearby) and made about $50. You never know...

  3. Good heavens Jane, where do you live? What part of the country?

    I have tried to sell some stuff through Amazon. My attempts on Ebay were a disaster, I have to study their system more, I was hit with so many fees that I went in the hole selling there. Of course I have to factor in my gas cost on getting to and from a possible store that might buy stuff since my workamping seems to always be in the boonies far away from big cities.

  4. Currently I live in the Pacific NW but have sold books in other places (Virginia, california, Alaska) when I needed some quick cash. Never expected the CDs fetch as much as they did but I didn't argue! For books I just looked in the phone book and found a couple stores close to each other. (Whatever I couldn't sell I dropped off at Goodwill on my way home.) The whole process took about half a day and I was on the bus since I didn't have a car so I wasn't hauling tons of books and music.
    After the first time I did it, I have always tried selling as many as I can before donating. (I see it as donating to my own worthy cause...)

  5. OK, stop it. You are wearing me out & I have to wash my ceiling tomorrow morning! I figure what ever is in my cabinets, I can't see. So no worries, right??
    Do you have a car wash brush on an extension pole? That's the best way to wash the RV!

  6. Wait, you have a washing machine in there too? Can I have it...oh wait, it won't fit in my rig, so lets trade!


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