Tag Archives: The Pewter Palace

5 “Living Small”- Organization Tips & Products

Whether you are living full time in your RV or doing just vacation travels at this point, one thing remains a constant. How to keep organized, how to fit “what you need” into a small space, how to maintain the organization you do set up.

Notice I said “what you need” NOT what you “want”. It is a hard pill to swallow- especially for those of us who have surrounded ourselves with tons of mementoes, family heirlooms, and “things” that seem to make us feel whole, cozy and satisfied in our sticks n’ bricks abodes.

My mind has been slowly but surely turning itself into preparing for that “full time mode” earnestly for at least the last 2 years. I think my grown children are still in shock that I could go from a 3000 sq ft home ( + huge storage barn) chocked with antiques, clutter and an overabundance of stuff collected for over 40 yrs of my adult life- to having all our stuff currently in a 1 bedroom 725 sq. ft. apartment!

I can credit the Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of dealing with tidying for increasing my mindfulness of living simply and with what you need rather than what you think you need/want. It becomes easier and easier to get rid of our “stuff” so it can bring pleasure, usefulness and joy to a new owner and move us ever closer to our ultimate goal of only owning what we can carry on our 8 wheels (trailer + truck) .

Am I there yet? Oh no, to be sure–when I just look around our tiny downsized apartment. We still have too much but at least right now, most of it is organized and up for sale online, or in totes marked “donate”. I try to donate a bag of clothes and/or a carton of items each week.


Some key basics of downsizing and living small that I have gathered over the past few years from fellow RVers, research and just plain living are these:

(1) Everything has a place to be stored and MUST be returned to that place immediately after use. Translation-—No more piles to be put away later– and everyone in the household must buy into this behavior!

TIP! Below is what I have done to ensure that each of us put back items used back to where they “live” for future use. Labels have especially helped remind us both what goes where! I use easy to remove green painters tape on these fabric bins (with metal frames to with hold their shape well-from Bed Bath & Beyond) this way if contents or uses change, I can easily replace with new tape labels and the painters tape does not leave any residual stickiness (at least not yet!).

(2) When at all possible items- especially in the kitchen and closet should have at LEAST 2 purposes/uses. Translation—- be creative, learn to do without to find ways to repurpose what you have rather than be lulled into marketing ploys to buy the next new gadget for your kitchen. You do not need half of the kitchen gadgets that Camping World tries to tell you that you do!

Some examples:

  • Rubbermaid waffle style shelf liner 6″ squares make great pads between dishes to prevent rattling BUT they also make great jar opening grips!
  • Our foldable, lidded storage ottoman’s are perfect shoes while the other holds my patio solar lights, picnic table cloth and string lights that we use each time we set camp. They are right by the door for easy access but also double as extra seating inside or outside (can hold up to 250# each) and pulled over to the sofa make great footrests or to hold a tray of snacks during happy hours indoors! Hey, great– that is at least 3 uses! Amazon link to see the ones we have. We have the charcoal grey.

A roll up dish draining rack makes a perfect extra countertop space during meal prep or plate set up. This is truly one of the best pieces of equipment we have bought in the past 8 years of RVing. I use it at least 2-3 times per DAY!

(3) Size Matters! Be aware of the sheer size of some items. Will they fit into your RV cabinets or drawers? Things might fit fine into a sticks n’ bricks kitchen cabinet or closets- but RV cabinets and closets are much smaller, often have curved back walls (like our Avions!) Translation—-Look for things that collapse, things that can nest into each other, smaller versions of household items, things are that a lower height on one end so they conform to the curve of your roof- magazine storage bins are a great example of these-just flip them around so the short side is towards your outside roof wall in those upper cabinets!

TIP: Here is a link to a great set of collapsible food storage containers that I use. I use them also as bowls per say to whip up things like tunafish, egg salad, etc. too! IMPORTANT NOTE: Square and rectangular storage containers fit far better ( than round bowls) and efficiently in refrigerator shelfs and storage cupboards!

(4) A Great Storage Idea for your Bathroom! Perhaps one of the hardest area of our Avion to store stuff in has been our bathroom. It is a side bath and therefore narrow and without the storage closet and cabinets we had in our rear-bath ’73 Avion. Our undersink cabinet has a lot of plumbing challenges, the shelve heights cannot handle normal sied bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, etc. and the vanity to the right where the hamper once had been also presents its challenges and certainly does not make items easy to get to (I store reserves of T-paper, paper towels and shopping bags when lifting up the hamper lid on the counter)

Recently, I happened upon a collapsible mesh toy storage hanging system at my local dollar store. It seemed the perfect thing to hang from our clothing rod in our shower to keep everyday toiletries, shampoos, etc. handy and in easy reach. After using it now on a 2 week trip–it has been great! Here is an amazon link to similar to what I purchased (for $3 at my dollar store!) Mine has all three openings on the same side so check out your own local dollar stores first!


(5) Become more mindful of what you use every time you go camping….AND even more importantly what you don’t! Translation—-start a bag or box of items you find you are not using—and during each camping trip put at least a few things in there to put out at your site with a FREE marked on the carton, or donate them to a local charity. Obviously the same goes for clothing- layering is the name of the game!

Hope this little article has given you some helpful tips and inspiration! Below–I have put many of our regularly used items into a helpful shared list I created on Amazon several years ago. The link is below to find that list! (note, this is not a sponsored store, we do not get any residual from any purchases you make- its there to purely be helpful!)


Happy and Safe Travels!


How We Survived High 90°s in an Open Field for 6 Days!

This article will discuss techniques, equipment and how to’s for maximizing our roof top AC, cooling the inside of our 1987 32 foot Avion when we attended a rally at an open field fairground in TN in late June.

**we did have 30 amp shore power! We have installed a EasyStart system on our AC which does enable us to run our AC off of our 2200 Honda generator if no shore power is available. Kevin converted our generator to run on LP as we do not want to carry gerry jugs of gas and we have two 40lb LP tanks on front always anyway.

Temps ranged from 90 to 98° all week with 75 to 95% humidity! Using these techniques our AC functioned well WITHOUT AN AIR CONDITIONER FREEZE UP and we kept comfortable.

Note: Your situation is going to depend on the type and BTU of rooftop AC you have and length AND floorplan of your Avion. We have a front kitchen, mid bath and rear bedroom. We have all the original spray foam insulation and insulated layer of our original flooring too which we feel is outstanding and helps a lot!!

Our AC Unit is a 1500 Dometic brand. It is approximately 4.5 to 5 years old. We clean the fins and filters annually as part of our spring shake down. Wr clean the inside filter and cover routinely as needed which on our trip had been 3 weeks in it needed it. If you are in a high wind/sand/dirt location you will need to do the exterior and interior AC cleaning more frequently. We have the supplies we use on our Amazon list on our Resources page on this website.

Our Dometic 1500 AC and MaxAir roof fan cover(R)

We found to avoid a freeze up of your AC in extreme temps and/or prolonged use needs that you should keep all four directional vent slots inside on your ceiling open. This allows proper air circulation and helps air flow around the condenser to allow proper cycling on and off.

all 4 side of vent flaps open for better circulation inside AC

****IF you do get a freeze up and your AC stops working (but you have power and its just not blowing, the compressor is not coming in) .you peobably have a freeze up. Turn the swtich to FAN and temp dial to off or warm. So you are just using the fan mode, let it thaw. It could take an hour or more. You may want to put a bucket underneath to protect flooring or carpet should it drain inside. (It may drain inside if you are not completely level or if any of the weep holes on the AC roof cover are blocked)

AC SETTINGS: this will depend on temps outside. As an example the best you can hope for is to maintain the inside of your rig at 20° below the outside temp. Believe me it will feel great! So when the temp outside was 98° with 90% humidity we ran our AC on coolest setting but low fan during the day when we were out and about doing seminars, social events etc when at the rally.

*it is important to try to NOT let your rig heat up during the day and expect to cool it off starting the AC at 5 pm for a cool night sleep. Keep your rig cool all the time and the system will run more efficiently and work less hard.

TIP: We found by closing our bedroom privacy curtain we could keep the main part of the coach cooler with lower temp setting on the AC so it did not have to work so hard. We did this during the day and opened the curtain to get air back into our rear bedroom beginning around 5 pm.

When our day away from the rig was done and we were in for the night we could lower the temp dial a little as the sun went down and things cooled down a bit to the 80s to high 70s. While in the rig we kept the fan mode on high fan dial on high for all night.

Reflectix in Windows: On our way to TN we purchased 2 rolls of 45 ” reflectix. Hindsight, one 50 ft roll would have probably been enough. However, Later on as time permits and in cooler temps to work on projects I will be lining the interior outside walls of our cabinets with Reflectix sheet panels too. I noticed the interiors of our cabinets, especially the uppers were warm. We have seen Airstreamers mention this lining of cabinets works well. Again, if you are lucky to have shade on the rig this may not be totally necessary. We were in an open field and surrounded by huge 5th Wheels and Class A’s so we only got breeze when there was any from front to back.

TIP: measure your windows with a fabric tape measure so you get true interior dimensions of inside tracks of windows without screens. Cut your piece at least a 1/2″ to 1″ larger so you can crease and fold the edges for a super great fit on those stationary windows. Use velcro, painters temporary tape to secure panels that go over screened windows as you will not have those deep tracks like the fixed windows do and it’s basically a flush mount.

Auxiliary Fans: we always carry 2 small electric powdered fans with us. They are about 9″ low profile and very quiet. In hot temps we use them on the floor in hall to push cold air towards bedroom at night. In winter temps we may use one to even better circulate warm air from furnace if needed to one area.

Dehumidifier: after doing research we bought a dehumidifier to keep the humidity at between 30 and 40%. Again this helps the air conditioner by transferring the moisture out of the AC and thereby run more efficiently with less effort. A good video pu lished by the RV School staff in TX on the rationale for this is saved in our YouTube Library for you to view. Good info! We had little options on sizes buying on the road and needing quick. We bought a 25 pints at Lowes. Overkill on the size and we will get a smaller one to take up less space once we get home. If you camp in cooler temps and run your furnace you will need a dehumidifier anyway. So we always like things that have dual purpose when space is so tight! We will get an 8 or 10 pint table top version after doing more review research.

Blinds & Curtains: keep them both closed all the time when running your AC. Yes between the Reflectix and shades down you will feel like you live in a cave…but caves are 😎 right?!!

Vent Fan Covers: we have Fantastik Fans and roof top MaxAir Covers. Our roof covers are the grey smokey color which helps to reduce sunlight and heat into the rig. Putting either Reflectix or some sort of cover on your ceiling fan opening to cover the ambient heat that comes thru these is a very good idea.

Exterior Window Awnings: we highly recommend getting window awnings installed if you do not have them. We can lower the inside temp of our Avion by 10 degrees just by deploying our 2 streetside awnings (also really helps the streetside refrig stay cooler and work properly without excess strain when in the shade), the rear window awning and bedroom awning. We leave them deployed all day even if away from the rig unless a storm or high winds are expected. They can take a lot more wind, rain etc than the main patio awning due to their size.

Rear and curbside window awnings. We have 2 on streetside covering nearly the entire length of the trailer.

Speaking of the Patio Awning.…when you are physically at your Avion by all means deploy your patio awning to give shade to that side of your rig. We recommend rolling it up and storing when you are not within a “run to the rig!!!!!” quick proximity. Replacing a torn patio awning or worse, broken hardware arms etc can cost you $1000’s of $$$$!

Hughes Auto Transformer: this is a new piece of equipment for us. Kevin bought it just before our trip to the Escapee Rally because he knew we were going to be sharing power pedestals at a County Fairgrounds. The transformer basically takes your 30 amps and if you get a low voltage reading it boosts it up back to a safe zone to run your sensitive equipment like your AC. This will keep your voltage up even if there is a brown out or a neighbor is sucking more than their share of power. This is not a straight surge peotector but it does also work like that. A surge protector will simply shut down if there is a low or high spike from your shore power.

We hope these tips have given you some good tools to use to survive a heat wave.

Please subscribe to our blog and YouTube channel so you get first insider notification of new articles and videos! We appreciate your support.

TRAVEL SAFE…enjoy the open road!

Luise and Kevin

Making your RV Feel Like Home- Keeping Things STUCK in Place Even When on the Road!

View of our 32 S model 1987 Avion. This “rare breed” floorplan was only produced for three years by the Avion Coach Corporation.

One of the first things anyone says when they visit us in our Avion is how “homey” it feels, comfortable, cozy and not sterile like many “off the lot” modern RV’s today.

Often, the next question we get is…

“it must take you a long time [when setting up camp] to put out all of these décor items (some would say clutter or chachkies! ) and knickknacks and then store them all away again”. 

Actually—no!  Everything you see in our coach stays in place where it is displayed.   I do not have to move anything except dish soap bottle on the kitchen counter, our authentic cuckoo clock, and the soap dispenser in the bathroom!

In the photo above you will see I have opted to keep the upper and lower curtain rails in place and just have narrower side curtains.  These curtains are wide enough to create privacy for the curved front windows when the center pull down shade does the rest at night.  Notice I use the bottom curtain rail to store some things during travel time too! ( I DO take down the white vintage ’70’s swag lamp and it sits in the left corner of the front counter when we roll down the road)


A 6″ wide shelf behind the sofa creates a great storage space with metal framed fabric bins!

Metal Framed Fabric Bins Sit on Shelf behind our Jack knife Sofa.
See purchasing link below.

The photo above shows three of the five storage bins I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2021.  They have a wire frame for durability and are perfect for storing those things that we use routinely when traveling including:  TV and other remotes, LED lanterns and flashlights, Binoculars, Travel Journal, Travel brochures, etc. and a vase of artificial flowers I often put outdoors on our dining table.  We are still able to pull out our jack knife sofa when we have guests staying over. * I left about 5″ in between two of the bins.  This is where I tend to put my beverage water bottle or travel mug of coffee when relaxing on the sofa when we are set up at camp. Source, 2021

Using forms of “anchor” putty’s to hold things in place are perfect for RVs.  Read on to read ‘my reviews’ on three products I have used.

The photo slideshow above shows various items in our RV we leave out and do not move during towing.  Things like a ceramic beer stein with flowers that sits on our front kitchen counter, our mid-century modern looking table organizer (link) with a vintage 70’s table lamp and other items set in place.  In our bathroom, my mother’s china cup and saucer- now a home for a gnome sits on our bathroom vanity and back in the living room/salon even our faux “stag head clock” in our living room–all stay out and stay put every day we travel. 

We have clocked multiple trips over 3000 miles each, up mountains of 17-24% grade roads to 5K elevations (and back down) as well as dirt roads, washboard roads and surviving way too many roads with pot holes and frost heaves!

Review of THREE putty brands I have used: and my recommendation!

Quake Hold (Museum Putty) 

 This is my “GO TO” product!  It is great and what I have used successfully on the ceramic beer stein, the gnome in the tea cup,  the dinette table shelf organizer and our faux (plastic but very real looking) stag head wall clock.  I also put this behind each corner of any framed pictures I put up on picture hooks.  It keeps the pictures level and keeps them from potentially swinging and marring stained walls or wallboard.

20220217_111301 (2)

Pro’s:  Terrific holding power, re-useable, no smell, no staining on walls. Holds up well under all interior temperature conditions we have been in so far (-10 to 95 degrees).  It allows you to remove items from their hold by twisting and pulling at the same time.  You will truly be impressed by how secure it makes things and how hard you have to twist/pull to release its hold.  I have not had any issues with its color staining any surfaces.

Con’s:  it is a light off-white in color )they call it “neutral”- so it is not completely invisible when used under items.  You can see this from my photos as little white stuff sticking out from underneath Honestly, it is really hardly noticeable.  Through trial and error I have found the best holding power is when you allow some of the putty to be on the outside of the edge of your item as well as underneath for those items that sit on flat surfaces.  For framed photos, etc. held vertically you do not need to do that.  I simply put pea sized blobs under each frame corner.

Rock N’ Roll Clear Gel Putty

As the packaging says, this GEL is really only for glass and china type stuff.  They do also now make a putty similar to Quake hold but I prefer the quality of Quake Hold better.  I have tried this Rock N Roll Gel and found it does not hold as well as the Quake Hold.  Also a real ‘con’ is that this stuff MELTS when your rig gets hot inside (aka if you are away for the day not using AC/or when stored at home when not camping and temps rise above 80 degrees. Source* (*note, this is not where I purchased from so I cannot validate reputation of online source)

2020-07-12 16.40.38

Pro’s:  it is clear, highly pliable.  Does work well on glass or mirror items (not sure how many of us have crystal figurines on display in our RV’s though)

Con’s:  It melts when temp inside RV gets hot.  It melted and puddled under some items on our dinette table. Does not do well on vertical applications in my experience. (yes, I tried to use it behind corners on picture frames, only to find it melting and running down my wall one summer day!- ugh)  Because of its propensity to melt, I no longer recommend this for RV use.

Museum Putty Wax

I have used this on a variety of surfaces from metal to wood to ceramic and it does work but I find it not as convenient as the white putty Quake Hold above- nor does it have the same holding power for heavier things, especially those made of wood and/or sticking to a wood surface.  


Pro’s:  it is somewhat clearer and less conspicuous when used than Quake Hold putty.  It does a decent job of holding not too heavy items.  Somewhat easier to twist/pull items you need to reposition.  Does not stain finishes.

Con’s:  Due to its consistency, I find it harder to get out a blog from the container- I use a bottle cap with its serrated edges to dig into the container to get out sufficient for use.  It is simply too hard to dig any out with your fingers.  It is a wax base and therefore may also have a tendency to melt in hotter environments.  For this reason I would not recommend a vertical application either.  In my experience it does not work well on wood items  but works ok on plastic, ceramic and glass.


How many times have you opened the door of your RV after a day of travel to find your paper towels have unrolled and are strewn across your kitchen floor?


2020-08-29 15.48.19

Viva Paper towels do cost a little more but they will not unroll after a day of road travel.  They are also darn good paper towels and very absorbent so in truth you will use less overall.  We currently have this vertical paper towel holder but in our old ’73, 28 foot LaGrande model we had a traditional horizontal holder above the counter and we never had unrolled paper towels with Viva brand– AND I did road test others like store brands and Scott’s brand and other name brands and none did the job of staying on the roll on the road!


Most folks already know that 3M stick on hooks are a Godsend for RVers.  We use them all the time! 

BUT I have found that if you really want pictures or things of any weight like barometers, framed art, etc. I use these stick on Velcro strips.  Specifically, the type that have the lock-n-grip type, not the traditional type that has soft fuzzy on one side and teeth on the other.  I use the heavy duty type of Velcro that have teeth which interlock when put together.  I  always purchase the one that is rated for heavier than my item really is.  These work really well and so far (knock on wood) I have found that I can also peel off the Velcro strip I may have secured to our Avion wall board since it is a vinyl composite board, not paper applied to wood.   I have also used the Command Brand similar type too on less heavy hanging items, apply as directed.

DISCLAIMER: As with all the products we have discussed here, it is best you test out products first.  For wall applications, your interior walls may have had some sort of after market application that could make it different than ours.  Please don’t send me a bill for any broken item!  [smiling]

Well, that is my review of keeping things in place!  We all love to have a homey feel in our home on wheels!  Hope you have found this little article helpful! 

Let us know what types of tricks/products you have found help with this issue! To be sure, a simple search on Amazon nets many companies touting great sticking power of their putty’s and other products.  

Please visit our YOUTube Channel and please subscribe!    We have great videos on many topics from renovations, tips, other favorite gadgets, as well as travel videos and campground reviews.  We appreciate your support of our efforts to help others along the way!