We all have issues with “SPACE” in our RVs. Anything I can do to reduce weight in storage AND space in my cabinets I am all over it!
MAJOR KEY to Happy RV-ing (and your significant other not repeatedly telling you to downsize more!)…..is totry to have each item (or most items) you have on board have at LEAST 2-3 various uses.
Multi-purpose items are the name of the game when you are traveling and living in less than 210 square feet like we do.
PS: I have included links to purchase ones I have saved on my Amazon Share list for RVers at the bottom of this post. (no we do not get kickbacks from Amazon on this, just sharing to be helpful!)
THIS IS ONE OF MY BEST SPACE SAVING, MULTI-PURPOSE KITCHEN GADGETS!
A collapsible, fold-able, stainless steel dish drainer which doubles as extended hot pad AND extension of counter space when laid over your sink! Hey that’s a “hat trick!”
I love it so much, the original one I ordered (from Amazon and arrived in winter) never left my apartment kitchen! I use it every day and had to order a second one for our Avion! LOL
Flexible Stainless Dish Drainer! Watch my video to see its many uses!
What is also awesome about this gadget is that you can also cut it to any size that fits your sink(s) best. In our 1987 Avion I happen to have a gorgeous Corian huge, deep sink with a side bar sink. So I have the flexibility of using the drainer exclusively over my bar sink and I have found I can actually stand up my dinner plates as they dry, leaving plenty of space for all the other dishes, cups, etc. to dry at the same time. Simply cut through the outer rubber edges of this gadget to make it custom fit to your needs!
DID I MENTION HOW COMPACT THIS THING IS?
Yeah, they make collapsible dish drainers and small single sink ones specially for RVs (I have tried both) but you still have to either leave them in the sink or find somewhere UNDER your sink in the cabinet to store it….that takes up precious space!
Here is what this dish rack looks like when rolled up! Seriously!! Basically takes up the same size as package of spaghetti out of the box.
MULTI-PURPOSE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME in LIVING SMALL!
How many alternative uses can you find for this great gadget??!!
Oh right….AND it is a great place to dry dishes so they drain into your sink not all over your countertop!
So are you convinced? I was so thrilled with using my first one when it arrived in winter and our Avion was in winter storage, I had to order a second one for our Avion!
Once we go full time in 2022, I will probably trim down the first one, cutting it to exactly fit my side bar sink so i can leave it in place and then roll up and use my larger full sized one when i have more dishes to do, need a counter top extension quick or…cool off that fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies…yum!
Here is the link to our LINKS/RESOURCES page on our blog home page. Look for the Amazon list that I share. You can find this roll up dish drainer there in two different sizes as well as tons of other items we use routinely in our Avion RV Life!
Happy and safe journeys! WE LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG OR ANY OTHERS!
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Best, from Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Don’t forget our AVION TUESDAY TALKS — LIVE ON ZOOM!
Different topics every week (or most weeks that is!).
What are you doing at 7 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights?
Join us for a live, virtual chat ZOOM meeting with fellow Avioner’s from all over the USA (and the world)!
If it is one thing that this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught me, it is how to connect virtually with people in meaningful ways despite not being with them in person.
For my work, I have become very proficient at hosting live ZOOM meetings (you can start a basic Zoom account for free!) and have found that these LIVE virtual in-person meetings have enabled my colleagues, friends and family members to share stories, tips, timely topics and even share documents, photos, etc. in a meaningful easy way. SO WHY NOT DO IT WITH AVION OWNERS? LET’S GET TOGETHER TO “TALK AVION!”
SO…..Kevin and I are launching “Avion Tuesday Talks” –weekly topic — live chats via ZOOM at 7 PM (EST). Each week, we will have one manageable topic and hope to attract long time Avion owners to brand new owners….and everyone in between. Even members of any of the Avion Facebook groups who are still “in the market to buy their first Avion” are welcomed.
Suggestions for future topic talks are always welcomed by shooting us an email, posting a suggestion on our facebook page or posting a comment on this blog anytime!
NOTE: These meetings are best joined by you using a laptop with built in camera and speakers. PC’s with audio and video are fine too. Cell phones are ok but a little clunky to get the best experience.
My Pewter Palace Zoom account can handle up to 95 attendees. Right now, I am also doing just the free subscription so our chat can only be 35 minutes (yup, i know i will have to put the timer on!). If this catches on, we will explore upgrading to the paid service where longer 1 hr chats can be done. But lets crawl….before we walk and see if the interest among Avioners is there first!
HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD! You can find the events listed by date on ourPewter Palace facebook page under the “events” tab. This is where the topic of the week will be listed as well as the direct link info to log in and then join us at 7 PM.
Not familiar with Zoom?? It is super easy to learn and use! Here is a terrific tutorial to view before your first live Zoom meeting! Watch now!
Like many RV of ANY age (ours is 46 years old this year-2019!) there never seems to be enough kitchen counter space. Especially now with the advent of Instapots, Keurig coffee machines, etc. there are times where we just need MORE!
Here is a 1/2 day project we did to nearly double the size of our counter space in our 1973 Avion, 28 foot LaGrande model.
1 wood topped snack/TV table tray. Here is the $10 one we used purchased at our Walmart. (we already had a set of these in our sticks n bricks home, so no cost to our project!)
Aprox. 3/4″ thick x 2″wide wood strip (for support inside drawer cabinet). Length should be based on interior cabinet (under countertop) to floor of cabinet.
Screws (will vary based on thickness of your exterior wall base cabinet)
sheet of paper (for making a template)
flashlight (to have helper light up inside base cabinet for marking drill holes)
extra pair of hands-always helps and is needed!
NOTE: If you prefer to purchase a kit from Camco for a 12″ counter extension here is that product along with an install video which may help you even if you do the do-it-yourself one like we did below. Camco RV Counter Extension Kit
We took the folding legs and wood hardware bracket off of the snack table.
We made a paper template of the positions for the hinges by placing on tray back, taking measurements of the distance in between the 2 brackets we felt would provide optimal support.
This template will later help us know where on the side of the kitchen base cabinet we need to drill our pilot holes. You can choose to position your lift up counter extension at same height as your existing kitchen counter or just below. We recommend to install it just below the bottom edge of our formica countertop. By doing it that way, our extension, when folded down is flush with the cabinet. See position below.
Using the hinge template, we made marks on the exterior side of our kitchen base cabinet where we wanted the hinges placed. Careful to take into account that your hinges are going to be below the finished edge of your extension snack table board.
We measured from just under the formica counter edge down to the position of the top holes for the hinges to ensure this jived with our template.
We used the template to figure out where on the INSIDE of our base cabinet (drawers had been pulled out) that our vertical wood slat needed to be positions to provide additional support to the cabinet once hinges and extension table was in place.
Here is a photo of the wood support slats in place waiting to receive the screwed in hinges from the outside. Note, we used small screws that did not protrude through the base cabinet but were sufficient to hold the slats in place independently before we proceeded with project from outside of the base cabinet.
We then double checked and with a pencil marked the holes using our template were we would be screwing in the hinges onto the exterior side of the base cabinet, and screwed in the hinges. Be sure to ensure they are level. Install 1, then use this to hold your level in place while you position the second one the same distance apart as your wood slats are on the inside that are being used as support to receive the long screws that go from the hinge exterior, through your base cabinet wall and sink into the wood support slate on inside of cabinet.
Next we used the template again to drill pilot holes into the underside of table tray top. Ours was oak and very hard so pilot holes are a must. It should be noted that wood top snack trays come in many colors, honey oak, walnut, etc. and you may wish to select a tray top that compliments your base cabinets. We used a snack tray we already had on hand to save money-hence the “butcher block” look rather than matching our base cabinet stain.
Perhaps the hardest part of the whole project was laying the tray table down on fully deployed and locked in place hinges and from the bottom, screwing the table top to the hinges. This really does require a helper to ensure the top stays in place and is level.
We are among tens of thousands of RV owners who due to many circumstances (work being ours) we cannot just pick up stakes and move to follow the “70’s” (temperatures that is!). That day WILL COME….but just not now!
So we, like many will do the annual ritual of putting our RV “to bed” in winter storage.
I thought I would share with our followers some tips and pointers that we have employed and picked up along the way from other veteran RVers.
New to our routine this year is the employment of low voltage LED tube rope lights on the floor underneath the perimeter of our 1973 Avion 28′ travel trailer.
In following one of our all time favorite fulltimers, AStreaminLife.com, Steve and Courtney have promoted the use of under trailer lighting to ward off mice and other varmints when camping in the great outdoors. Using their suggestion, we have purchased solar powered spot lights (check out AStreaminLife’s Amazon shop for the ones we purchased based on their excellent reviews) to use when boondocking and then the above pictured LED Rope lights when we have electric hook ups available.
Well, so we got to thinking that if this has worked for them in the wild….why would it not also serve as a good deterrent indoors? Since our RV storage garage (we rent near our house) has electricity (and we pay a little more for that each month) why not use this low voltage LED rope lighting we purchased to use while camping….during the winter too! I akin the look to a bit of a “STAR WARS” effect!
We have consistently put rat/mouse bait traps in and around this garage for the past two seasons where we have stored our Pewter Palace. This has been more of a preventative action but we have seen where the little green bait blocks have shown some “tooth wear” from nibbling varmints so yes, they are there. BUT we have, knock on wood, not had ONE bit of any hint of varmint intrusion into our RV itself.
A few things you will need from the store before you dive into winter storage prep:
BOUNCE Brand scented dryer sheets (get the big box!)
Clorox (or similar with color-safe bleach) brand pop up wipes
Scented draw string tall kitchen garbage bags
LED Rope lights, white light bulbs- not colored
RV Antifreeze (the pink stuff!)
Plastic box type varmint bait boxes and the green hard bait blocks (these do not trap the varmint and let them rot in there, they bait them to the green block which then eventually kills them when they go to see a water source away from your rig!)
NOTE: for the purpose of this blog post, I am not going to go through the entire black and grey tank dumping and prepping procedure or the system flushing for long term storage. I am purely focusing on interior tips for winter storage to protect from varmints and any damage to interiors.
A few basic and kinda “no brainer” tips to prepping your RV for winter storage:
Remove ALL and ANY types of food stuffs, oils, herbs/spices -ANYTHING that acute little noses could sniff out and consider a potential food source during bleak, long winters.
Remove all liquid, aerosols, pumps and semi liquid items including canned goods because freezing will cause them to burst and create a total mess (not to mention serve as a glorious buffet dinner for varmints)!
Remove any rags, towels, pot holders that may contain even trace of oils, food handling, etc. Varmints love to nest in cloth and paper goods like paper towels, napkins so remove them too and use them at home over the winter or store for next summer…..if you leave anything hang it on a hook or put in a scented trash bag with a Bounce brand scented dryer sheet in side bag with items.
Wipe off all counters, refrigerator inside and out, stove top, table tops, sink, dish drainer, cutting boards, pots/pans with a Clorox bleach brand pop up style wipes.
More about the cook stove– be sure to lift the stove top off, remove any crumbs, food particles, grease where the mechanicals are and wipe down entire area, grates, gas pipes, burners, etc with Clorox wipes,
Use a Clorox (or similar) brand pop up wipe to go over interior and exterior of refrigerator, toilet, sink, tub, all handles in kitchen and bathroom areas in particular.
Why Bounce Brand? We have sworn by the Bounce Brand of scented dryer sheets for over two decades now when camping doing our living history reenacting to keep away varmints AND crawling/flying bugs and insects. Doing this type of camping we use a canvas tent, a canvas floor cloth (that is not connected to the tent sides like moderns are) and have often slept on air mattresses on the floor. We are sometimes camping for 3-8 days and in all sorts of open fields, woodlands and in all sorts of weather conditions. Bounce sheets are excellent for putting around the perimeter of the interior of a tent and they really DO keep insects away. A benefit is that the inside of the tent always smells nice too! We put sheets under our bedding, around the interior perimeter of the tent itself and inside our clothing bags/boxes. It serves to rights that Bounce’s ability to ward off insects and varmints in a tent will do the same in a garage and RV! We have used them successfully when we owned a Class A motor home for five years and now in our Avion for past two years. (knock off brands have not proven themselves nearly as effective!)
Prepping your bedding and cushioned areas:
We strongly recommend tilting up all mattresses and cushions that are in your sleeping and dining areas if you cannot or chose not to remove these completely and store them at home over winter. Not only does this provide less of a “hacienda of dark seclusion” for any varmint intruders to build a nest, but it also provides far more air circulation around such materials thereby inhibiting mold, mildew, etc from building up on both the cushion/mattress and the boards that lay underneath them.
Doing this we have (knock on wood here…) never had any issues.
Below you will see on the left photo, our dinette cushions standing on long end and one of our twin mattresses on its side. Note the other bagged items and placement of dryer sheets all around too! These bags do contain comforters, extra throw pillows, beach towels. We DO take our bed sleeping pillows home for winter storage and do not leave them on the RV.
What about Clothing Storage over the Winter in the RV?
We do keep a complete set of camping clothing on our RV at all times so we are ready to go at a moments notice. We keep things organized by putting items in plastic lock lid style shoe storage boxes (they fit best in our over bed cupboards) and under bed lock lidded plastic totes, so winter prep is actual pretty minimal.
Here are some additional steps we do take for winter storage for clothing/dressing areas:
Bounce sheets get put inside the floor of all drawers and then on top of any items left in drawers. Bounce Sheets also get placed inside every overhead storage cupboard and placed in every scented trash bag that is used for linen storage.
I am sure to remove any liquids, eg. perfume, deodorants, mousse, hair spray cans/pumps, etc. due to potential for freezing/bursting. Check bathroom areas and remove from all over and under cupboards from bath area too!
We remove any leather shoes/sandals due to potential for dusty mold and leather could be a food source in a pinch for varmints. I leave things like rubber flip flops, crocs, etc.
Final Steps… that are often forgotten!
Remove ALL batteries from any flashlights, headlamps, portable radios, clocks, alarm clocks, kitchen devices, etc. and TAKE THEM HOME and use them over the winter.
Ensure you have correctly used RV antifreeze in your systems and retain some visible in the toilet bowl and put an extra dose down each sink drain to ensure there is some sitting in traps and bends in piping.
Be sure you have put Bounce sheets also in all interior AND exterior storage/mechanical areas like water heater box, oven fan area, exterior refrig access panel area, sewer service area, exterior storage areas that go underneath dinettes or beds, etc. Here you can see our furnace and sewer pipe vent area being protected with dryer sheets.
Some notes on exterior/interior prep…
If storing your RV outside in winter the issue of “to cover or not to cover” is going to be yours. It is recommended that all aluminum campers like our Avion and Airstreams NOT be covered because covers can adversely scratch the surface. That being said, we do know Avion owners who have had decent luck with covers-much will depend on where you live. If you do use a cover, be sure you allow sufficient ventilation so that mold and mildew do not happen inside the RV.
If your RV is outside in winter, be sure to check pressures, treat the tires with tire protectant and cover them from daylight with either a tire cover and/or sheet of plywood, etc.
Close all curtains to prevent fading of cushions and interior finishes-especially if wood interior like ours is. If you have those pseudo fabric type pleated horizontal blinds I believe it is NOT recommended to drop them down as the pleats will stretch out and the shade will not look or work well in future. Perhaps in this case, if no curtains are available to draw closed, then take some old sheet, cut it up and place it over the valance and hang down over window to prevent interior fading while keeping the fabric blind up and pleated for storage.
We do not recommend installing Reflectix or similar silver insulation batting on windows because you may cause undo condensation on interior of windows unless you keep ceiling vents open to allow air exchange. Plus, using Reflectix inside on windows will create a totally dark cave inside your RV which is what varmints would just love!
Spray all locks (storage bays, doors, hitch locks, spare tire locks, bike locks, etc) with your preference of lubricant to keep in good shape when not used for length of time.
Put RV house batteries on trickle charger.
Chock your wheels, sounds crazy if you are on a level garage, but its just one of those things Kevin is fixated about…but its good practice because once you get in the behavior of always chocking your wheels you are less apt to forget when really needed!
You have NO IDEA who may be able to access your storage area……why take a chance?
Lock your RV doors even if in a locked storage garage.
Apply your hitch lock even if RV is locked in storage garage.
As possible visit your baby at least once a month over the long winter— just to do a quick visual check around the inside and outside and to hug her and let her know you miss her and cannot wait to get back taking her camping again!
Safe Travels! We LOVE to hear your feedback about this post or any of our blog posts!
One life..Live it!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper