Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Storage and How We Store Things in the Roadtrek - Part 1

We have had many readers contact us to write an article with photos of how we store things in the Roadtrek when we travel. Meryl is a master of finding a place for anything to fit - in the house, in the car, and especially in the Roadtrek. I asked Meryl to write this article. May I introduce Meryl...

Hi.  This is Meryl.  I was asked to write about where  I store stuff in the Roadtrek and why I store stuff where I do.  Remember different Roadtreks are in different formations and yours may have different storage areas.

I have found that storage space in the Roadtrek is limited and that it is not always sized conveniently to use for what one needs to store in it.  This can result in something not fitting into a space or there being too much empty space left around the items in a storage area.  The trick is to maximize the storage space and fill in empty spaces around stuff so that the stuff does not shift around and break or make noise when one is traveling.  This often results in some odd combinations of stuff stored together and stuff not always in a place which makes sense.

I will start just behind the driver’s seat, because I have to start somewhere.  There is a closet that is designed to have about a dozen hangers in it.  We put in a set of hanging shelves that are intended for sweaters and such.  The shelving unit is about 6 shelves in length, but there is only room for four of the shelves, the bottom two are collapsed.  We each use 2 shelves.  I find that the shirts for each of us will take up a section and a spare pair of jeans and underwear and socks for each of us will take up the other 2 sections.  I can fit up to a week’s worth of clothes in these shelves by careful planning and squeezing of stuff.  We plan to replace the hanging unit with shelving which would allow us to use more of the space and fit more clothing, but have not had a chance to do so.  On the shelf in the closet above the hanging area we keep our slippers.  On top of the closet is an electric fan.

Next back is the kitchen.  We do not cook in the Roadtrek.  I, therefore, only need to have foods for snacks and occasional lunches from farmer’s markets, although I do bring a couple of cooking pots and dishes just in case.  Under the sink/stove/counter we have a small cabinet with 3 shelves.  The bottom shelf, which is the tallest, we have put a plastic drawer in.   

When we travel on longer trips I put soup cans, and such in it.  I use Snapware boxes for food storage so that it is sealed off from attracting animals and usually put a larger box (10 in x8.5 in) with saltine crackers either in the drawer (if I don’t have soup and such) or on top of the drawer as I could not figure out how to put stacks of crackers in the limited size top sections where I put food.  If we are traveling in winter without water in the tanks, I put a box on top of the drawer that we put in the sink at night so that we can wash, etc. and not have the water in the sink. The next shelf up has a large plastic box without its lid, which holds pots, paper plates and cups and other kitchen items that we do not normally use on trips. I put pot holders between the pots to keep them from banging together.  The top shelf also has a large plastic box without its lid.  I don’t keep the sink counter insert in the sink and keep it under this box.  This allows the box to slide like a drawer.  It has the more common kitchen stuff we use when traveling - cups, napkins, plates,  silverware, a plastic measuring cup that I use in the microwave for heating water.  I put paper plate between the regular plates to keep them from hitting together.  If we travel in cold weather without water I will generally switch the paper items from the lower box to the top one and the real plates and cups to the lower one as the top box is much easier to pull in and out for use.  On the sides of all three shelves I have boxes of plastic bags - mostly zip locs in different sizes.  This uses the wasted space and keeps the boxes and drawer from sliding around.  Next to the drawer on the bottom shelf I also keep a collapsible dish pan.  Crumbled shopping bags are in both boxes around items to keep them from shifting about.  In the box on the inside of the door of this cabinet is dish washing liquid, liquid hand soap and mouthwash in plastic bags.

I made a double pocket holder for the microwave to keep the plate safe - one pocket holds the plate, the other the turning piece. The pocket was made from bath towels, sized and stitched together. I keep the roll of paper towels currently in use in here as it is convenient and helps keep the microwave plate in place.  I also have a piece of swimming pool noodle which stands up and down between the plate and top of the microwave to keep the plate in place when traveling.

I have 2 thin sections at the top of the kitchen section for storage.  The lower one is shorter across, but is taller.  The top is longer across as it sits above the microwave, but is very short in height.  

 I have found that Snapware food units are very good for storing food.  I was told to make sure that food is sealed airtight so that it does not attract any sort of vermin or animals and these do a good job.  I use 4.25 in x4.25 in (1.25 cup), 4.25 in x 6 in (2 cup), and 6.25 in x8.5 in (4.5 cup), all of which are 2.25 in. high, boxes in both of these sections.  I also use taller versions - the 4.5 cup in a 4.5 in. height which is 10.8 cups, and the 2 cup in a 6.25 in height which is 7.3 cup in the lower of the two sections as these do not fit in the top section.  I use different sizes for different items, for example, tea bags go in the smallest size, snack bars go in the 4.5 cup and cereal and applesauce cups go (separately) in the 7.3 cup size.   I don’t use round boxes as they waste space.   I sometimes use both sections and sometimes use one or the other section depending on the length of the trip and the amount of food (snacks) we have brought.  Our last trip I put all the food items in the lower section.  This time we are away a couple of days less and I did not have enough of the food containers to properly fill the lower section, so I lined them up in the upper section.  They never fill this section across completely, so I stick crumpled plastic shopping bags to fill the extra space.  I have a tension curtain rod (from Walmart, they are like the tension bars sold for RV refrigerators, but cheaper and easier to deal with as they are not doubled) and I put it across the top of front of the lower section to help keep the containers in place.  I also stick crumbled up plastic shopping bags around any spaces in this section.  When we travel on longer trips I fill both sections.  Every time I use these sections the boxes fit differently as different ones are used.  When I use only one section for food the other section will be filled with whatever fits and needs to be stored - the fabric bags I use to bring the food items in and out of the Roadtrek, laundry bags (we bring our clothes into the Roadtrek in them and then use them for laundry) or even sweatshirts. I use Snapware as they have flat tops and stack well (and I bought 2 sets of them on sale at Costco).  I have similar boxes from other brands that work as well and use them in other places in the Roadtrek.  The Snapware company has recently changed them and new ones may not fit in the space the same or have the same volume.

I think that why the clothes and kitchen items are where they are is fairly obvious, so I offer no further explanation. I offer no explanation about the refrigerator for the same reason, other than to mention that I use a tension curtain rod, as previously mentioned, on the front of each of the 2 shelves in our fridge to keep items from sliding forward and out when the door is opened after driving.


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