Small ideas

Small spaces.

Today, between me being sick & cranky, the cats being neurotic, and the barking dogs who hate each other, GM is totally fed up with living small.  He’s sure we cannot successfully and happily live in anything less than 5000 square feet.  Day 3 of garbanzo bean soup probably is helping that attitude immensely, along with the Great Repair continuing without any resolution.  I tried to tell him about a small idea involving a loft bed and he went into a tirade about living in cracker boxes.

We currently have approximately 240 square feet of the poorest design (for us, anyhow) in a travel trailer.  We have another 100 square feet piled an average of 5 feet high with stuff in storage.  We do not fit in this small space. The van is packed full with stuff ranging from camping gear to our lawn chairs and tools.

I cannot figure out how to make our clothing fit in anything resembling order.  We just have too many clothes, but at the same time, we have nothing to wear half the time.  We also only do laundry once a week at the most, and usually every two weeks, when we do 2 or 3 loads of laundry.  For working around here, we often re-wear our clothes multiple days, reserving better clothing for excursions to town or various appointments.  Finding our clothes is always an adventure…which box/bag/basket/crate are they in?  Where are our warm clothes?  Where is our swimsuits?  Where are his ties?  How do you store size 14 shoes where you can find them without tripping over them?

Appliances.  Where do you put them when not in use?  Granted, most people living in a travel trailer don’t need a KitchenAid mixer, but I do.  I also need a hand mixer, a blender, and a hand blender.  Add a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer in there too, while you are at it.  Figure out where to put a large water bath canner, steam juicer, and 60 quart pressure canner while you are at it.  How about rolling pins, pie pans, muffin tins, cookie sheets, cake pans, frying pans, sauce pans, stock pots, slow cooker…oh, and a ravioli mold.  Don’t forget the steam pudding pans!

A travel trailer was NOT meant for someone who cooks and writes about food.

Shall we talk about books?  We not only have my cookbooks, of which I have a lot of, but we have books on a gazillion topics to go with it.  I host a paranormal/alternative variety radio program and a lot of my guests are also authors.  I have THOSE books, most of which still need their reviews published.  I have other books to review too, along with books we want to read and reference books for things we do.  We have ONE bookshelf, about 24″ wide and clear to the ceiling, which isn’t that high in a travel trailer to begin with.  There are books everywhere.

Then there is the software.  That comes with boxes, dvds, cds, and books too.  That’s on another shelf that GM installed for me.  It’s full too, by the way.  That shelf also has to hold the extra toilet paper and paper towels.

How about the sewing machines, or at least one of them.  (I have 3, including the serger.)  The fabric stash is in storage, by the way.  Along with the bulk of the patterns.  The sewing box, which happens to be a large tool box with wheels and a handle…is always in the way too.

Camping gear…we have four tents, two sleeping bags, one cot, several tarps, two internal frame backpacks, and about four smaller daypacks…plus the box with the dishes (I think I have dishes for about 20 people.)   There’s a tool box with the drink stuff, cocoa, tea, coffee, etc., and another one for the spices and whatnot.  There are the camp stoves, one of which needs some repairs on some seals.  There are two tables, several chairs, and the list goes on.

I’m giving my china to my daughter, along with the serving platters etc that I have.  I’m thinking I should give her my stone goblets as well, since she has always wanted them.  I obviously have no place for them!  There’s a cat tower in the storage unit too, and I should see if she would like that as well.  Obviously, such a large piece is NEVER going to fit in here.

So, as we think about what is important to us, and what isn’t…it’s obvious we need storage, and some of the items are bulky to store and take up even more space while being used.  I need a full sized stove, not this horrible not-so-easy-bake-oven thing that comes with a travel trailer.  We need desk space that does not double as dining space, and work space that is dedicated to cooking, and not doing double duty for everything under the sun.  I need space to sew, where it doesn’t interfere with meals or computer work.  GM needs space to work where he can have the silence he craves or play the radio as he chooses.

Does that mean we can’t live in a small space?  I think we can, IF it’s well thought out and well planned.  Travel trailers and mobile homes don’t have well thought out spaces for specialized use.  I need a kitchen similar to what is used by a large family, with some modifications.  I don’t need a large eat-in space–there are only two of us.  I don’t need a massive refrigerator, but I do need more than dorm sized one.  I do need work space, and a lot of storage space to handle everything from small appliances to #10 cans, as well as the small containers of spices and normal sized cans, in an easy to organize and find method.  It needs to be compact and easy to clean, and preferably have a dishwasher than can handle large mixing bowls, utensils, pots, pans, and dishes efficiently.

The most efficient kitchen I ever used was a “galley” style kitchen.  Narrow, I could literally have a hand on the stove and one on the sink at the same time.  Since we are in the South, there is also the appeal of a kitchen with excellent ventilation, incapable of heating up the house through our long, humid summers.  I’m thinking…like an arm sticking out from the house, with windows and screen doors.  A walk in closet kind of pantry…with lots of storage.  Laundry area located off of the kitchen, just because.

Because we live in an area with some potential for wickedly severe storms, with wind, hail, rain, and storm surge…raised houses are good.  So are dome shapes.

But we think in the square, not in the round.  How can we make a round house work…on stilts…and with squares?  It doesn’t seem possible!

Right now, I’m kind of laughing, because I’m envisioning some sort of Mad Maxx meets Swiss Family Robinson.

And so, we continue, figuring out what does…and doesn’t…work when living in this 240 square feet of dreadfully designed space.  What does work in the space?

The door.  Sometimes.  When the wind doesn’t catch it and whip it away, anyhow.


About giascott

Writer, blogger, cook, grandmother, mother, wife, radio personality, outdoor enthusiast, dog enthusiast, crafter, artist, and part-time nut~~I've earned a lot of t-shirts in my day! I'm one of those crazy independent women who can cut down a tree, build you a shed, sew you a dress, cook your dinner, make some soap, pitch a tent, build a fire, catch some fish, dig in the garden, chase a kid or two, write you a poem, paint you a picture, and a dozen other things...just don't ask me to sing! I'm also embarking on a relatively new portion of my life, one of being disabled. I'm learning some lessons along the way about a lot of things too.
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