Full-time RVing: Living small while living large

Full-time RVing: Living small while living large

By Jim Twamley
Jim Twamley’s writings were a favorite among our readers for many years. Jim’s health finally forced him to “hang up the keys,” but we like to dip into the archives and pull out pertinent “oldies” to share. Here’s one of them:

We love RVing, in fact we enjoy it so much we sold our house and now we RV every day. We are living large while traveling in the comfort of our motorhome.

One Sunday while attending the church of friend who pastors in Bend, Oregon, we were talking outside. He asked me, “So how do you like full time RVing?” to which I replied by directing his attention to the grand mountains in the distance and said, “This is our backyard and it extends throughout North America.” To which he replied, “Wow, I like what you’re doing with it.” RVing unlocks the freedom to live large!

However, living large requires that you learn to live small. RVing requires some changes in your living habits simply due to the confines of space. In this article I cover some important housekeeping issues that will help you enjoy your RVing experience even more.

Clutter can be a detriment to life inside your RV. Unlike a stick house where you can get away with leaving a mess on the counter for a while, it becomes a hindrance in the small quarters of an RV. Counter space is at a premium and if you’re towing or driving your RV frequently, clutter can become a hazard. The best way to deal effectively with clutter in an RV is to have a designated storage place for everything. Get into the habit of cleaning up your mess as soon as possible. When you get something out, put it back in its designated place when you’re finished using it. This simple habit will keep the clutter down and you’ll be able to easily locate the items the next time you need them.

Having clean, clutter-free counters really helps when you are unloading groceries. It’s so much easier to put away pantry and refrigerator items when you have open counter space.

Dirty dishes stack up quickly and seem to multiply in the sink, and before you know it there are no spoons left in the silverware drawer. We frequently use paper plates and bowls, which cuts down on the amount of dishes we have to wash. Some newer RVs have built-in dishwashers, so if you are lucky enough to have one you can simply “load as you go” and then turn it on when it’s full. Most of us still have to do dishes the old-fashioned way. We like having side-by-side sinks in the galley because it makes doing dishes much easier. After washing then rinsing the dishes in hot water, we remove them to a dish drainer. If we are parked someplace for a few days we usually leave the dishes to dry by themselves. If we are moving the RV then we simply dry them with a dishtowel and put them back where they belong. Clean counters keep the RV looking spacious and inviting, so we put the dishes away as soon as they’re dry.

The bedroom can be a stumbling hazard if you don’t keep things tidy. Since RVs are multiuse spaces it’s important to keep things like electric cords, vacuum cleaners, portable heaters and other small items out of the way of your walking path. We make the bed every day before we do anything else because it helps us clear a space for dressing. We store our laundry basket and a few other items in the shower so we pull those out and put them on the bed, making room to use the shower. Having the bed made up makes this process much more efficient. Once we’re through using the bathroom and are dressed for the day we put the items back into the shower stall.

Keeping life simple and cutting down on clutter will go a long way in making your RV experience enjoyable. Following the full-timers rule of “bring it in, take something out” will not only help you keep the clutter down but will also help you manage the RV weight. Once you have everything you need to live comfortably in your RV, you really only need to replace things that are worn or broken. If you purchase a new coat, then donate the old one. How many coats do you actually need? This simple rule helps cut down on carrying around duplicate items and gives you more room for the important stuff.

Living large while living small in our RV. —Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

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2 thoughts on “Full-time RVing: Living small while living large

  1. Lyn

    It’s nice to see another of Jim Twamley’s articles reprinted. I always enjoy his words of wisdom.

    Lots of good tips here, and if I may be so bold as to add a favorite of mine: When I get home from grocery shopping, I re-pack food items that come in boxes. Things like crackers, cereal, pasta, etc. I put each in a zip-lok bag(s), carefully press all the air out of the bag by hand, and close it up. The compressed plastic bags take up far less space in the cupboards, leaving room for more important things like chocolate!

  2. Mary Ihla

    You could have written this article directly to my husband! We’re newbies, and have now spent two months in our RV. I’ve had to constantly “remind” him to put things away where they belong, and not to bring items into our rig that we don’t absolutely need. But, it was the last paragraph that really made me smile. My hubby brought along SIX coats!

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