Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little fixes for Little RV Problems

First an answer as to why we don't just put the house on the market "as is." Almost all of the projects, other than painting, we have taken on have been necessary repairs. California has strict inspection and certain things have to be fixed, or money has to be left in escrow to fix them. Market conditions have been tough. Realtors tell me buyers want a house that is move-in ready. It is far too big to be a fixer-upper, but it was in a condition that required a great deal of fixing up. In many ways it is a wonderful house in a wonderful location. But there are also some really "outdated" cosmetic features that we are not replacing, like the burnt orange shower and avocado green floor, that a new buyer is going to look at as a future expense. Some of the repairs are in my opinion not necessary. For example Craig is going to replace the overhead fan in the lower bathroom because "it is old and rattles and it has bothered him ever since we moved in here".

We know we will not get top dollar, but we feel we will get a better price if it is in reasonably good condition even if it is a bit out dated.

Now, onto the subject of the RV.

Shortly after buying the Alfa I said it was a bit like having a "play house". I have enjoyed doing little things to make it more functional without making major changes.  

On our last trip, we kept having problems with things falling out of the  freezer when we opened it after driving.  I looked at refrigerator bars, and came up with several ideas of my own using springs and dowels or PVC pipe.  

But then a much simpler solution came to mind. I cut lengths of foam type pipe wrap that are just longer than the width of the freezer. They don't weigh anything, are easy to move around, and didn't cost me anything because we had the pipe wrap from some project in the past.  Even if I had had to buy it, it is very inexpensive. We will see if it works on our next trip. If it doesn't I have a few other ideas.

We also had a few close calls with things falling from the refrigerator itself when the door was opened. I have been stopping at the local thrift store from time to time and found a couple of wire baskets for 50 cents each. They should help. The refrigerator shelves do have a small edge, but it doesn't do much. The wire baskets will allow air circulation and can be washed as needed.

Stick-em-up hooks! I love them, and have installed them in closets, on the bedroom wall, and in the bathroom. I like them because you can take them off without damaging the surface, and
you don't have to make a hole to put them up in the first place.

I had a problem finding a good place to store the pizza pick.  The only cabinet it fit into is over the fridge and that one is very hard to reach. Craig likes to make "breakfast" pizzas, and uses the pick often. I drilled a hole in the end of the handle, screwed in a large "eye" and put a large hook on the wall next to the table.

The pick now takes up virtually no space, and is easy to get to.  I hung it low and close to the wall so that it would be out of sight most of the time, and contact with the floor and wall will prevent it from swinging back and forth while we are moving.  

After hanging it up, I wasn't happy with the fact that the bottom edge is on the floor, so I made a little edge cover by cutting off the bottom section of an unused, heavy plastic document pouch. It can be wiped or washed as needed.

Big hooks, little hooks, all removable but strong. These three are part of a solution to having my favorite and frequently used spices close at hand when I cook. I first put the spices in several plastic storage containers over the stove, but then moved them to one of the large cabinets quite near the cooking space. This was still not as convenient as I would like. At the house I have built in spice racks in the doors of one cabinet. I thought of designing some for the Alfa and making them out of wood like the ones in the house. Which I may still do because I like the look of wood better than what I came up with.

But then I found these plastic baskets from Walmart.

Each set of three baskets cost less than $2. Each of the lower two baskets will hold five short spice bottles. I left space for the shelf, and each of the top baskets will hold five taller bottles. So now 30 of my favorite spices will be easier to get to. Less-often-used spices can still be in a box overhead. The kitchen cabinets are incredibly deep, and the intrusion of this size basket does not interfere with anything else.

A plus for these over wood is that I can see the bottle labels thru the slots. Building something out of wood like this could be difficult.  Maybe I can find a natural wood color spray paint...

What do you think these are? Can you guess their purpose?

They are small plastic cubes that I bought at Tap Plastics and  stuck down on the sink top in the bathroom with Craft Tack Reusable Putty. It is similar to museum wax. I have since learned it also comes in white, and if I can find it, I will replace the yellow stuff I used here.  

We put everything from the bathroom away before driving the coach. But we like to leave the soap dispenser out to wash  our hands when we are traveling, and have been just putting it into the sink. 

The little cubes and the base of the faucet hold this clear bin in place. Since the bin is not stuck down, I can lift it up to clean under and around it.  I removed the two suction cups on the back of it because they didn't work in this location.  It will keep the soap dispenser and my sunscreen from flying around the bathroom.

Pictures! We all love to have pictures of our family and of the places we have been.  But where to put them in a motor home? 

For Christmas, my Grandsons' Au Pair gave me a cute strip collage frame with pictures of the boys. As I looked around the Alfa for the best place to hang it I notice the ends of the slide were much like long narrow frames. The collage frame was just a bit wide for this space, but the pictures fit just fine without the frame. Using the Craft Tack, I put up some of the pictures she had given me, then I printed pictures from some of our trips. They are small, only three inches wide, but as I look down the line I remember each place and each day. 

There are a couple of other places around the Alfa that I will fill with small images as we travel.  With the Craft Tack no damage is being done to the walls and the pictures can easily be removed to make room for new ones. I will be using the collage frame in the bedroom. 

Do you display many pictures in your RV?  How and where?


  1. I agree about the house, in todays market it's a buyers dream so they will be tough to please.

    I love your ides for the RV and will be implementing some of them. We have wanted to display some pictures but have been lazy about it. I think we can use your idea there as well.

    Thanks Merikay!


  2. I absolutely love, love, love your spice "racks." We will be doing the same, but with metal that matches all our hardware on the cabinets. Your refrig ideas also are going to be utilized. Now if you can think of a way to keep windows clean, inside and out, I will be one happy camper! {Written by one who was doing windows today.}

  3. I'm a new reader of your blog and I just have to tell you how much I love your "spice racks". Unfortunately I made my Walmart run for the day but those little baskets are going on my list to get. Thanks for the idea!

  4. I liked the ideas that you posted, Merikay!

  5. Those are some great tips! Good luck with selling the house. I live in Ca so know what you are talking about.

    Take care,


  6. Clever mods! Really like the basket idea.

  7. I didn't know that CA was so strict on selling a house. If you saw what is sold here, fixer uppers, pretty much shakes. I hope you get more money out of the house after all your work. Great "inventions" for your motorhome.

  8. You know, Merikay, the last time I talked to a realtor about selling right now, she told me that it's a seller's market, with plenty of situations where there are many competing offers for the same house. Maybe it's time to talk to an agent again and get another assessment of the value and how long it would take to sell. Just sayin'.

  9. You have some good ideas for storage. Just and fyi though about the command hooks - I've used some in the past and when it came time to remove them some of the wall paper was ripped off... it turned out it was easier to fix a tiny little hole than it was to try to patch a giant spot of missing wallpaper. It somewhat depends on the wallpaper. I now use little nails or screws and some museum putty to stabilize.

  10. Love the spice rack idea! I use the same little baskets in the medicine cabinet (sitting on the shelf) also. we do have some pictures from our home. Some we velcrowed ( the heavy duty kind) on and others we did a heavy duty picture hanging bar (from Lowes). Our slide out does not have end windows...great spot; we took down a sconce...great spot; and over the bedside tables...great spot, over the entrance door...great spot.

    Good luck on your sticks and bricks!

  11. I used a double tier vinyl coated wire rack inside my cabinet door. It easily holds all my spices. I put my paper towel holder inside the other cabinet door. Like you, my cabinets are very big and deep so this does not take away my space. I hung about 5 or 6 8x10 or 5x7 pictures using removable velcro hangers. I also like to take my electronic picture frame along because it holds a ton of pictures.

  12. When I switched over to a residential fridge in the MH, I made sure the doors were a material that magnets would stick to. That's where I put my family pictures, calendar, and volunteer work schedule.

  13. Pros and cons on the subject, as you may remember last year we sold our home in Southern Calif in one day with multiple offers. The key we owned outright, no short sale or foreclosure bidding. House had issues that I disclosed and listed as is. Buyers waived home the inspection other then termite. Took a solid offer about $5,000 less then our neighbors primo home sold for. So if your free and clear don't knock yourself out. Plus side for the buyers today valuation is about 20K more if they sold as is today. So for sure a improving market if you have equity.

  14. Watching the National News tonight and they were talking about the housing market in CA and how it is rebounding. They interviewed a gal in LA. She and her husband even offered a bid above the asking price and still got out bid. So things are definitely getting better for you. Good luck.

    I love your ideas. Very creative. We have four pictures hanging in the rig. One of Jim's Mom when she was young. One of his parents, one of my parents and one of our son and his wife. That's it. I'm not really a decorator. When we had the house if it wasn't for Jim we wouldn't have had anything on the walls.

  15. You've got some great ideas going there!

    I've used all three colors of the putty for various things around our sticks and bricks and also in the motorhome and in every case I have prefered the yellow color. The consistency and length of stickiness seems to be different in all of them and for me yellow works out best and lasts the longest.

    We have dastardly mirrors on the whole slide by our dinette table. We buy postcards or flat magnets at special locations we visit and I attach them on the mirror surface with poster foam. I buy the roll of it and cut an inch square. From that I cut four pieces and attach them wherever I think they should go. Sometimes it takes more than four. I prefer this instead of the traditional states visited magnet thingy that many RV's have.

    As far as family photo's, we have almost all of them on my laptop, iPad or phone. But since we don't fulltime, I just take the four current framed photo's of the grands and put them away on travel days!

  16. I rotate the pictures in the RV. I mat them but do not use glass or frames and stick them up with the museum putty. I have a small narrow oil painting (from my house) in the bathroom, I removed the glass and frame and used the putty for that, too. I use baskets in the fridge, too.

  17. We use the extension bars in the refrigerator and they work very well. I've used plumbers putty to stick down my knicky knacks and in three years nothing has moved or come loose while traveling. On the walls I've used heavy duty velcro to hang pictures and they've stayed in place as well. We have a spice rack in our fifth wheel, but we have added some racks inside cupboard doors for storage bags, foil, etc. Works great! You have some great ideas.

  18. I keep hearing the housing market is getting better. Here in Florida it seems the flippers are coming back and that will help a lot. I hope it's the same way there.

    We haven't had any problem with things falling out of the refrigerator (probably jinxed myself) but I try to arrange things like beer cans on their sides when we travel.

    We also try to remember the first time we open up any cabinets after traveling...to open slowly, and carefully! :)

  19. I use a ceiling to floor spring loaded rod (meant for shower shelves - with out shelves) to place in front of the refrigerator/freezer while moving the RV. Works for me.

  20. I love reading about storage & RV mods! Thank you. I'll be posting some more of my mods on my blog, since you gave me the idea.
    We have photos above our slides. Surprising how much wall space we have in the RV. I use the pipes under the kitchen sink to hold our colander which is bulky. Use similar spice rack idea in the medicine cabinet for pill bottles.
    I have cups hooks all along the wall on the side of our stove where I hang utensils.


Leave a comment, or send an email.