16 Jun

RVFTA #93 Packing up the RV: Creating Prepacked Kits for Easy Travel

Packing Up the RV_ Tips for Family Travel

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about some of the items we pack for our longer summer trips. From craft kits to rainy day bins to sports buckets, we will dish on our go-to rec items for RV travel. Listen to hear our dos and don’t for creating stocked kits before you hit the road on your family vacation.

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11 Nov

Home Again, Home Again: 6 Tips for Unpacking the RV

unpacking the rv

It’s no one’s favorite part about RV travel, but trips come to an end, and unpacking the RV is a reality we must all face. Last spring, on Episode #36 of the podcast, we talked about strategies for packing the RV. That was a very popular episode, and more than one listener emailed us and said, What about unpacking tips, huh? Huh?

Well, we put it off for awhile, because…unpacking.

Sure, it’s necessary. But it’s also kinda sad. The trip is over, all the laundry is dirty, and nobody ate the leftovers from that amazing Dutch oven stew so you have to throw it all out.

So we finally tackled the topic in a mini-segment on this week’s podcast. You can hear us talk through our process by listening to the episode here. But this is a cheat sheet for those of you who like lists…

1.All Hands on Deck.

We have learned it is so important to involve our children in every stage of our travel. We give them jobs when packing, while at the campground, and when we return home. One of the best lessons we can teach our children is that cleaning up is part of having fun. We are also teaching basic life skills. Win/Win.

2. Use the Camping World Pop Up Bins.

Sort camper laundry and house laundry before you even bring it into the house. Do all of your camper laundry–sheets, blankets, and towels–in a load together and then return right away to the RV.

Ready for a renegade idea? Do your laundry before you come home, taking advantage of the campground laundromat. I know that sounds kooky, but I love loading up 3 washing machines and getting it all done quickly, then returning home with clean clothes.

3. Establish a Camper Return spot in the house.

Sometimes items that belong in the RV end up in the house during the unpacking process. Have a designated spot in the house to put any bowls, serving spoons, or linens that need to go back out to the RV. The next time you are heading outside, grab the items and return them to the camper.

4. Restock right away.

Refer to your camper white board, checklist, or phone app to see what you ran out of on the trip. Need shampoo? Put it in the RV right now. This isn’t always possible, but it makes packing for the next trip a breeze.

5. Remove all traces of food and debris.

Some people like to leave their camper pantry stocked for the season. No. Have you heard the stories of squirrels, mice, and ants? If not, just go online and visit some forums. The risk is not worth the convenience. If you want to keep your RV pantry items separate and easy to repack, buy a large tupperware bin, load it with your pantry items, and store in your house until the next trip.

And vacuum. Yes…under the sofa, too.

6. Do NOT sit down before you are done. If you do, game over. You’re toast.

We don’t always follow all of our own rules, but feel so rewarded when we do. And when we finally sit down to relax, we know the only thing to worry about is planning the next RV trip. Game on.

03 Sep

RV Organization: Restocking through the Season

RV Restock List

About a year ago, I was working on a RV packing article and reached out to some well-traveled acquaintances for their best tips. One of the greatest pieces of advice came from a friend of mine who spends a ton of time on the road as a touring musician.

Allie told me that she always restocks her toiletries kit right away when she gets home from a trip. This way she knows exactly what she is low on and isn’t scrambling around and forgetting things before she leaves on her next trip.

Brilliant and simple, right? How many of us forget what we were running out of by the time we are ready to go camping again? I have found myself making countless trips out to the RV to see if I need paper plates, tin foil, or toothpaste. This is a huge waste of time, especially when the items are already there.

This summer I found myself thinking of how to apply this tip to restocking the RV. Last spring, we did a couple of blog posts and an entire podcast about how to STOCK the camper. I even made an infographic, for crying all night!

rv stock up info graphic

But what about when you camp so much that certain supplies like paper towels start to run out? It is so easy to forget those small items before you head out on your next adventure, especially when you are used to them already being in the RV.

Easiest fix ever: a magnetic white board.

FullSizeRender

 

Duh, right?

You do this in the house, so why not in the RV? Throughout your season, anytime you are running low on a supply, just note it on your Restock List. Then if you are super-duper organized, restock those items when you return from your trip.

Not so organized? That’s okay. As soon as you are ready to pack for your next camping trip–whether that is weeks or months later– just walk out to the RV and see what supplies you need.

One more simple tool to reduce the “honey, did we forget the _____” moments that we all experience so often on the road. After all, every little trick helps when you suffer from Mommy/Daddy Brain, you know?

22 May

RVFTA #36: Pack Up Those Kids!

Pack up those kids!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are tackling one of the trickiest parts of traveling with kids: packing.

We believe that packing is more of an art than a science, and every family has to find their own personal style. So we are going to share 5 of our own packing principles that have helped us reduce the stress of getting out of the house and onto the road. Hopefully they will help your family as well.

Our article on the topic was published this week on the KOA The Greater Outdoors blog, and we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about it on the podcast!

Here is your own personal packing cheat sheet for pinning…

5 packing tips for RV families

 

And we are so pleased to be introducing our newest guest correspondent, Kerri Cox from the Great State of Missouri. Kerri blogs over at Travels with Birdy, and we are smitten with her writing and photos.

We know we have tons of listeners out there in the Heartland and after listening to Kerri’s campground review, you will definitely want to reserve a spot at the Old 86 Campground near Branson, Missouri. Listen to find out why. Then head over to Travel with Birdy’s Facebook page and Instagram account. Kerri’s family is heading out to Yosemite this summer and you will definitely want to follow their adventures.

All of this and so much more on Episode 36 of RV Family Travel Atlas: Pack up those Kids!

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10 Jan

RV Family Travel Atlas Episode #17: RV Organization (or bust)!

On episode #17 of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about our attempts at RV Organization. We were on life support last year, so we brought in an expert, Yvonne Moss, who blogs about all things neat and tidy on her blog. Listen to find out how she helped us whip our RV into shape.

You can also read about the experience in this blog post and find a list of our principles here.

We are also reviewing the neatest campground we have every visited, Luray KOA in the hills above the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, near Shenandoah Naitonal Park.

Plus an RV organization product review, and we discuss our Instagram crush of the week.

All of this on Episode 17 of RV Family Travel Atlas: RV Organization (or bust)!


 

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17 Oct

RV Family Travel Atlas: 8 Tips for Campground Owners

On Episode 5 of Family Travel Atlas, we are sharing 8 tips for campground owners (whether they want them or not). We also discuss those short weekend trips and decide whether they are worth all the work. Our campground review this week takes us to Midcoast Maine, where Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort pretty much knocked our socks off.

As always, we will give you some online recommendations, and let you know what our readers (and listeners) are saying.

We really want to hear from you! If you have an opinion about any of our podcast topics, let us know in the comments below. And make sure to answer our Camping Question Friday on Facebook.

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13 Jul

RV Organization: Our Old Problems and Some New Principles

About two weeks ago, I shared a post about my frustration with getting (and keeping) our RV organized. After two years of good intentions, I decided to get serious and call in an expert.

Yvonne Moss showed up with her measuring tape and smart phone, inspecting every inch of the camper, and firing questions at me about our family habits and trouble spots.

This is going to be an ongoing project for us, and I will only share a ‘tip’ or ‘idea’ if we actually tested it and it kept us more organized on the road. As a family of five, with three boys five and under, it is not enough to start a trip with everything looking neat and tidy. Our habits and routines have to be easy and practical in order for things not to be chaotic by the end of the day.

The Problems…

So what were the greatest problem areas (or “Hot Spots”) in our camper?

1. Big, undefined spaces. We actually have plenty of space in our RV for our two-week long road trips. The problem is large spaces that get cluttered and messy by day two or three of a trip. I needed a way to make good use of large and deep wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.

2. Laundry. It’s a problem in our home and it is a problem on the road. I always felt like there were dirty clothes everywhere: on the bathroom floor, on the floor of the bunkhouse, shoved under the dinette. You get the picture.

3. Transitional Items. You know the damp swimsuit that might be worn later that day? Or the hooded sweatshirts and jackets that get tossed over the couch when everyone walks into the camper? There is a word for those items that aren’t clean or dirty, and seem to be in constant use. Yvonne taught me this word: Transitional.

The Principles…

In the time that she spent tearing through our RV, there were five principles that Yvonne kept emphasizing that ended up having a dramatic impact on our organization over the course of our last trip. Sometimes it is not about finding the right cubby or rack, but how you think about a space that helps you stay more organized.

1. Think vertically. There were so many things that I had laying down (like cutting boards, potholders, and scrub brushes) that suddenly took up a lot less space when I stood them up vertically. They were also easier to find and access that way. As we travelled I started to apply this principle to many things and it opened up so much space. A bag of straws in a drawer? No way! Stand them up in a cup. Etc., etc.

2. Mind your stacks. When Yvonne first said this, I laughed out loud. But it might have been the best advice I received. Know how things fit together, learn that order, and make a habit out of stacking them the same way every time. With a little attention, all of my bowls, pots, and colanders actually fit in one perfect stack. As long as I ‘minded’ it, my cabinets stayed neat and tidy.

3. Co-mingle the real, the paper, and the plastic. I had my paper bowls and plates separate from my enamel ones. I also had my plastic utensils separate from my metal ones. Yvonne pointed out that there was no reason for all of these stacks. When the real plates, paper plates, real bowls, and paper bowls were all nested together, my dish cabinet was the picture of organization and I could easily reach for whatever I wanted. I applied the same principle to my silverware drawer and it worked like a charm through a 16-day trip.

4. Place everything in a movable container. This was an absolute game changer. Part of the reason the bathroom cabinet got so messy was that bottles and containers got knocked over when we were reaching for something towards the back. When I placed all toiletries into smaller boxes, it was easy to lift it out of the cabinet and then put it back without everything ending up in a heap. The best tip? Yvonne encouraged me to cut down boxes I already had instead of purchasing something. Loved it. Did it.

5. Manage your transitions. I had a great space for the dirty laundry under the dinette. The problem was it was hard to get to. Yvonne suggested a small pop-up laundry bag that someone would empty into the bin at the end of each day. Simple chore, easy to remember. Perfect solution. We also ended up with a small clothesline in the tub and lots and lots of hooks for those jackets and sweatshirts.

Next week, I’ll start sharing the before and after photos with the specific fixes for our problem areas. Some very easy changes we made were ‘transformative’, according to Jeremy. I totally agree. However, the most transformative thing for me was the way I thought about our habits and started looking for practical solutions. I hope these principles help you think about your small space in a new way.

Keep sending me your tips, tricks and principles for staying organized on the road. I would love to compile them for one of the posts in this series!

Yvonne blogs about keeping things neat, tidy, and delicious at yvonnemoss.blogspot.com

27 Jun

RV Organization: We Are Calling In An Expert

We spend so much time in our RV, you might think we had the whole organization thing down. Actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let me explain how this works. The whole time we are on vacation I take note of all of the things that are out of order and driving me crazy. I swear that I will find solutions and get things under control…as soon as we get home. Then we get home and I start worrying about work and regular old life with three kids. The camper sits in the driveway, dreadfully neglected until we are ready to hit the road again.

This spring I started to get really annoyed about this cycle. I decided that the only way I would ever break it would be to call in reinforcements. So I begged the assistance of Yvonne Moss, a general life-coach blogger whose junk drawer is probably more organized than any part of my house. I knew she would whip my RV mess into shape right quick.

I had hoped to get a few ideas from her about the kitchen and the wardrobes, our two main trouble spots in the RV. However, I ended up getting a lot more. Yvonne went through every inch of my camper, pulling out drawers, opening cabinets, and taking measurements faster than I could write them down.

Initially I thought I would do one before-and-after blog entry on my attempt to bring order to chaos, At the end of our “counseling” session, though, I had way too many tips and projects for just one article.

So I decided I would blog about it the same way projects actually get done in our life–bit by bit. I did a few things before we left for Cape Cod, and I am very excited to share them later this week.

So stay tuned for the Lively Little Camper’s Great RV Organization Project. Hopefully it will be easy, fun, and kid-friendly, just like all of our other trips!

Next up: very honest before pictures!