Getting Organized In A Small Space

Getting organized in a small space

Getting organized in a small space

I have had several people email me recently asking me how I manage to find the space to sew and quilt in my tiny RV home.  One of the ways is to be organized, with a place for everything.

I found a sturdy table with shelves underneath for about $35 at Wal-Mart last year. It fits in between the dresser and the bathroom sink in our bedroom. It is just the right size for cutting and sewing fabrics for all kinds of projects:

The sewing area

On the left side of the table, there is a space about 5 inches wide, that is the perfect place to store my folding chair and counter top ironing board when they are not in use. Under the table, I have two stacks of plastic drawers for holding sewing notions and supplies.

Small drawers hold small items

On the dresser within easy reach, I have a stack of smaller drawers that hold small but necessary notions that I use all the time when I am sewing. Things like scissors, bobbins, needles, markers, buttons, and measuring tapes are literally at my fingertips. Although you can’t see it much, the stainless steel dish on top of that drawer stack has a strong magnet in the base–it holds my pins in place even while we’re traveling down the road. You can get a really good one at an auto parts place–it was intended as a dish to hold nuts and bolts.

Larger drawers hold patterns, thread, zippers

The larger drawers under the sewing table hold zippers and other closures, thread, bias tape and trims, patterns, and fabric scraps. The little container on the far right holds scraps of batting that I use when making cosmetic bags, and other smaller items.

storage spaces, RV organization

The TV cubicle stores rulers and my iron

We have never watched TV in the bedroom, so that little cubby hole is used for storing my rulers and iron, among other things.

organizing RV spaces, storage solutions

An over the door rack holds projects in the works.

I found a nice sturdy over the door rack that fits over the cornice board at the back door of the trailer. I use it to hold things like projects in the works, a clip on light for my sewing area, a bag of fabric, and a lint roller. That lint roller is THE BEST for picking up all those little threads and pieces of fabric when I am through sewing for the day!

Bolts of interfacing and batting on a shelve in the wardrobe closet

You might not be able to see this clearly, but this is where I store bolts of interfacing and batting. I buy things like that when they are on sale at Joann Fabrics for 40-50% off. There are three bolts in there right now, with room to spare for some mailing supplies like padded envelopes, and priority mail boxes. They really don’t weigh a lot, but because it is a bolt, it is pretty large. Keeping them in the wardrobe closet is a pretty good option.

fabric in the linen closet, fabric storage, organizing

Who needs that many towels?

I store fabric in one side of the linen closet. Who needs that many towels anyway? And because I always need more fabric than that:

storage solutions, organizing a sewing area, RV storage solutions

A wicker trunk in the living area

I have a wicker trunk in the living area. I bought this trunk more than 10 years ago when we bought our first travel trailer. It serves a dual purpose–it is a coffee table most of the time, but the inside is full of fabric:

My storage area for fabric

When we travel, everything is packed away. The sewing machine, the folding chair, the ironing board, the rulers and iron, all go under the bed. All of the plastic drawers are on the floor, in front of the back door. The sewing table is either put on the bed, or in the back of the truck, depending on how long we are going to be traveling. The wicker trunk is pushed sideways next to the door. In the more than 10 years that we have been traveling, everything has always stayed put while we were going down the road.

The next question people always ask me is “How did you get your husband to let you have all that space for sewing?” Well, the answer is, he knows this is what makes me happy. If I were a fisher woman, or a kayaker, I would make space for the items I needed to be able to enjoy those activities. I am a crafter and quilter–I need these tools and supplies to make me happy. Life on the road is not just travel–if you can’t have the things you need to make  you happy, no matter what that might be, you might as well just stay home.

It Must Be Karma

We have been planning to go to Alabama to a National Forest Service campground to work as volunteers for some time now. We have had this planned for months, and even confirmed with them last week. The only thing is, we got an email from the volunteer coordinator at Payne Lake telling us that we would either have a site with water and electricity but no sewer, OR a site with sewer and electricity but no water. We have been trying to decide for a couple of weeks which would be easiest to handle.

In the meantime, Jim’s Mom called and asked us to come up to Unicoi State Park for a little while to be close to them. Unicoi is the park where we have volunteered for the last two winters, in north Georgia, in the mountains. Since we have been there before, we know what the volunteer responsibilites are so it wouldn’t be hard for us to do it again. But, the day that Jim’s Mom called, I hung up from talking to her and called the volunteer resource contact at Unicoi and reached her voice mail. Since we had not heard back from them we just assumed they didn’t have a need or a space for us there. We were both wanting to go to Alabama, but also wanting to go to Unicoi because that would be the right thing for us to do.

Today, we got a call from Unicoi saying that they do have a volunteer space for us. And Ellen, the resource person, said that even though she has had other people call wanting to volunteer, we were her first choice, since we had been there before. So, tomorrow we will be going back up to Unicoi until the end of March.

Now, the karma part. We have been applying for jobs out west since before Thanksgiving, and had not heard back from anyone. Not ONE. Until about 10 minutes after we agreed to go to Unicoi. Then, the phone rang and it was a park near Bryce Canyon in Utah. As soon as the man started telling me they were “very interested in hiring us” I told him that we had had a change in our plans since I sent the application last week. We would not be able to come the first week of March because we had just committed to someone until the end of March. And he said, “That is even better for us, because we don’t need you until the first week of April” Is that Karma or what?? We don’t have a confirmed job yet, but we are closer than we were before that phone call. As soon as we get a firm offer, I will post a link to the place. It is gorgeous!

On The Road Again, Sort Of…

The wheels started rolling about 9:20 a.m. As we pulled out of the driveway of Granite Hill, Jim looked over at me and smiled and said, “We’re late. I wanted to get out of here by 9:00 a.m” But he was smiling. It was snowing, and we were just glad to be getting out of there when we did!

We drove about 60 miles down the road, and had just passed by the exit for Business 15 off of 15 south in Leesburg, Virginia, when we decided to pull over to the side of the road and visit Mrs. Murphy. When we stopped, we heard an unusual noise that sounded like something fell off the trailer behind us, so we walked all around the rig looking for whatever it was. We didn’t find anything. We left the truck running, and went into our little trailer to do our stuff. I went first, and as I was coming out the door I heard a Slap! Slap! Bam! Coming from our truck!!!! Oh, crap!

When Jim came out the door, I told him to look under the hood because it sounded like a belt broke under there, and there were little slivers of what looked like shredded belt under the truck. When he opened the hood, it was not the belt but the pulley off the flywheel. It had broken off and slammed around under the hood.

So, there we sat on the side of the road, in Leesburg, VA, not knowing a soul to call. We just sat a minute and thought about it. Crap!

I got out my AT&T cellphone and called 411. I told them we needed a tow truck in Leesburg but I did not know the names of any. She gave me the first three numbers on her list. I called the first one and explained that we needed to be towed to the Ford dealership, but that we were towing a 34’ travel trailer, too. He said he couldn’t handle the job, but he knew someone who could and that this guy might even be able to fix the problem right there at the side of the road. Yeah, I’m thinking, we are going to get a mechanic to come out here on the side of the road on Sunday morning and fix our truck, just like that? And I believe in the Easter Bunny, too!!!

A few minutes later, my cellphone rings, and it is Jimmy Counselman, the mechanic who drives a tow truck for The Body Works Towing in Leesburg. He asked me what the problem was and where I was located. He arrived about 20 minutes later, checked under the hood to determine what to do. He said he needed to go get a part and he would be back in a few minutes.

Our Hero!

So, another 20 minutes later he is back. And in another 20 minutes, he has the truck repaired, and we were ready to go. The charge was $260 for replacing the pulley, on the side of the highway, on Sunday morning, in 39-degree weather. Not bad, if you are the one stuck there, freezing. So, yeah, I guess I do believe in the Easter Bunny now.

Thank you, Jimmy. We really appreciate your hard work, and the fact that you got us back on the road in so little time. If anyone needs any repairs done in or around Leesburg, Virginia, Jimmy is the one to call. He operates Daddy’s Garage, in affiliation with The Body Works of Virginia, Inc. Their phone number is 703-777-5727 in Leesburg, Virginia.

The Wheels Are Rolling Tomorrow

The wheels will be rolling tomorrow morning on our travel trailer. We finished our commitment to our job at Granite Hill Camping Resort yesterday. There were times when it seemed like this day would never come. It has been a long, long season.

We spent most of today getting ready to go. We are taking a good bit of Pennsylvania with us, literally. Jim got two cases of Yuengling beer. I got three huge bags of Utz Tortilla Chips, they are the best! I also went back to Hacienda Shiloh and got some garlic and some of that good Autumn Rub that they sell there, and some other things. A trip to the Rose Garden Natural Foods store to stock up on buckwheat flour, rice flour, and rice pastas since I don’t know when I will find another source. What else? Hmmm…

I have a half dozen pints of green beans, some frozen cooked turnip greens,three bags of cooked mashed pumpkin, a gallon bag of chopped sweet red italian peppers, and some apple sausage in the freezer. Some acorn squashes, and a few apples, all came from Harbaugh’s Farm. There is a large jar of sweet pickled cauliflower, two jars of apple salsa, a jar of cherry butter, and several small packages of dried cranberries, dried pineapple, and roasted pumpkin seeds from the farm market across the road from the campground. It will take us a long time to clear Pennsylvania out of the pantry.

I would say that if any of you gets a chance to visit or workamp in the Gettysburg area, it will be a real treat. It is a rural area, with lots of agriculture, so there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, with farm stands down almost every road during the summer and fall. We have certainly enjoyed our stay here.

But, as the song says, I can’t wait to get on the road again…

Weather or Not

[ad#Home Page Above Posts]
We had a another very busy weekend here at the campgound. It was the annual Down on the Rivah Rally,which included a dinner on Friday night, followed by a concert with a country music band; breakfast on Saturday; an all-you-can-eat steamed crab feast on Saturday night; and breakfast on Sunday morning. There was also an RV show in the park for the weekend, with several dealerships from the area displaying new travel trailers, 5th wheels, and park model trailers for sale. And there were supposed to be river cruises on the company boat.

However, there was that bit of weather known in this area as a “nor-easter”, that dumped several inches of rain and brought 30 mile per hour winds on Friday. The front stalled in Virginia and dumped even more rain on us on Saturday. So, with about 220 rv’s scheduled to arrive Thursday and Friday, and water standing in a lot of campsites, it made for a lot of work just to get the people parked when they arrived. We only had about 20 “no-shows”, which was pretty good, considering…

Most of the rain was about 30 miles west of us along the route of I-64 from Norfolk to Richmond. They were getting about 4″ of rain PER HOUR! Because it was to the west of us, we only got about 4″ of rain in two days, but the flooding in other areas caused a lot of our campers to have trouble getting here with roads flooded or washed out, and they had to make detours. The rain and high wind along with the October full moon caused a really high tide for this time of year and our dock where the boats come in was under water for about two days!!!

We all had to work long hours. I opened the office on Thurs, Fri and Sat at 7:45 am, and worked there until 5 pm. On Friday night, I went over to the Group Rally Center next door and worked on the serving line until 7pm. On Saturday, I worked until 2pm in the office, then went to the GRC and worked on the serving line from 5:45 til 9:oo pm. It was fun though, and even though I was tired, I had a good time doing it. After we finished serving the crab feast on Saturday night, the manager gave each of us a flat of crabs, which is about 18 or so steamed crabs. My friend Lynn gave hers to me because she doesn’t eat them. I took them home and cracked off the shells, and put the legs and and meaty little crab bodies in the fridge. It makes them take up less space in the fridge if the shells are taken off. So now I just have to eat them all!!! 🙂 I just LOVE steamed crabs!!!

The boat rides up the Rappahanock River had to be cancelled on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Fabgrandpa and a couple other guys were hard at work pulling the floating dock by hand out to the boat (with people on it) so they could board the boat for the cruise cr1st.That was the only way they could get people on the boat. I have posted a pic so you can maybe see what I am talking about. It was like he was pulling a ferry from the boat ramp out to the boat. Anyway, he was having a good time doing it, bare feet and all.

The Univited Guest

[ad#Home Page Above Posts]
At the place where we are working this year, there are ten other couples and a few single work campers. We get together often at someone’s campsite for a campfire or cookout after work.

One night a few weeks ago, we were celebrating the fact that we had made it through Labor Day Weekend and survived. (It doesn’t take much for us to have a reason to celebrate!) We each took a covered dish, something to drink (wink!) and brought our own meat to put on the grill. Someone put on some music and some people were dancing. It was just a very good party–until a skunk wandered up to the campfire. What a hoot! I have never seen some of those folks move so fast!