In a small and simple RV life, we pride ourselves on being resilient. Because we frequently change locations, our life can have an extra level of disorder and stress as compared to the sedentary lifestyle. When we frequently hitch up our home and move from here to there over a variety of surfaces, we can sometimes dread that first opening of the door when we get to where we are going. Show of hands, how many people out there have found stuff on the floor, that wasn’t supposed to be there? Yes, Karen and I have had plenty of that also. Fortunately, this is an area of stress that can be managed. But it will take some time and thought.
First let’s start with a few generalities. The heavier a thing is, the lower it should be stored on moving day. A corollary to that is the more expensive an item is the lower it should go, preferably protected. Both of those seem like a no brainers but, alas, learned through experience. Nothing stops the heart as much as finding out that expensive new printer had launched itself out of that top cupboard and thrown itself across the RV, bouncing off the dinette cushions and coming to rest on the edge about to fall to the floor. Heavy and expensive all in one little package. And it fit so well up there.
HaRVey came with a few cupboards which were mostly open spaces. We spent a few months finding a selection of boxes, drawers and containers for storing everyday items. For instance, all the spices in one box and all the power cords in another. Dividing these open spaces up into manageable categories not only reduces clutter but gives everything a home.
Bodies In Motion
Next, let’s talk a little about the physics of moving bodies, or more commonly, things sliding around on the floor. Newton’s First Law of Motion states a body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion wants to continue on the same path. So this means things always want to go the opposite direction that you’re driving. The biggest mitigating factor here is friction. Most of the time things will only slide if there is enough force to overcome friction.
Here’s a safe bet: somewhere along your route there will be enough force to overcome friction. We can plan for that. Chances are the least likely source of that force will be acceleration. Heaven help you if you’ve got that much horsepower. Brakes, on the other hand, are far more powerful in affecting your change in speed. And, in an emergency, nobody is going to back off the brakes so nothing spills. Therefore, pack items on the floor up against the front. They will generally stay put.
Let’s Get Down To Specifics
I think to finish this out I’m going to show you three specific ways we secure things that would likely spill on their own. The way that I try to develop solutions is they must be simple, easy and not intrusive. I don’t want big ugly fixes or complicated machinations. We’re supposed to be reducing stress here.
No. 1 is the cupboard under the sink. This one was easy because there are two opposing doors with handles. Inside this cupboard there are drawers that tended to dump the son the floor on left turns. Mostly canned goods so more things to roll around on the floor. A baby latch does the job here. Since we’ve been using it we have had no problems.
No. 2. No. 2 is one of those swing up cabinet doors. This one is over the sink and, curiously, is the only one of the three that has a history of ejecting items on a regular basis. (Think printer) karen said it can’t be an ugly fix. Fortunately Home Depot took the hasp back. After due thought, I developed something tiny and mighty. I bought some 1/8th inch steel rod from the hardware store and cut off a few inches. Then I bent it in the middle. I drilled a hole into the side edge of the door. Next I got a tiny (the tiny part) screw eye and screwed it in next to the hole. Whenever this pin is inserted, the door can go nowhere. Problem solved!
What About Add Ons?
No. 3 was interesting because it kind of evolved in a few stages. HaRVey didn’t come equipped with any drawers. I know, why did we buy it that way? This was a problem pretty easily solved. We had this five drawer thing from IKEA that exactly fit next to the sink stand. Actually we had four in our previous abode. The other three got distributed to various people that needed them. But I digress. Left turns. Everything seems to happen on left turns. On a left turn this thing opens like a mad filing cabinet and discharges everything it can. Flatware goes flying! Utensils find all kinds of strange places to hide.
Our first solution was to tape the drawers shut. That worked ok as a temporary fix but it’s ugly and requires more tape each time. Then there’s dealing with the sticky left behind that builds up after time. The whole process was messy. Messy is the enemy of small and simple. This solution needed refinement.
All I needed was something to hold the drawers in place. One of the problems with the tape was sometimes the bottom drawer would come unstuck and drag the rest of the drawers with it as it attempted to throw off its bonds. I would need to have a secure point of anchor at the bottom to stop all that nonsense.
Funny thing. No, two funny things. They sell steel rod in three foot sections and screw eyes in packs of three. I didn’t need to invent the wheel again and I had materials. I took a tinsy winsy screw eye and attached it to the cabinet on the top edge out of the way for daily use. Then I drilled a small hole in the floor straight down from the eye. Next I took the excess rod and dropped it into the screw eye and the hole. I bent it 180 degrees to help secure it in place and give me a handy handle. Maybe I should paint it white. Anyway, this works great and it’s a simple solution.
Mischief Managed (*With apologies to J. K. Rollings)
It’s not possible to remove all the unexpected problems from traveling but making sure that things stay where they’re supposed to is one area we can control. By demonstrating some of the solutions we have worked out for some of our issues I hope I’ve shown that with a little thought, practical and elegant answers can help relieve some of the chaos in an RV lifestyle.