what we did to our 2006 34 foot starcraft antiqua travel trailer

by Deb
(mims, florida)

the wine rack with the DVD carts underneath

the wine rack with the DVD carts underneath

My husband and I had a gorgeous RV picked out and decided we were going to pick up the roots and travel. you know the ones with the beautiful kitchen, fireplace, etc.

Well life being what it is, we inherited two grand daughters (babies) just before we signed the papers for this gorgeous beast.

Realizing that traveling was being put on hold for a few years at least, we chose a 34 foot travel trailer with a bunk house. yippee! (I am being sarcastic) Now there would not be the time or the money to do as planned. but we would do the next best thing. Camp as often as possible. close to home being that we now would have to work longer to take care of these babies; BTW we love them to death and they truly are worth any sacrifice....its just we had to really make a BIG change of plans.

We used the thing about 6-8 times a year camping here and there here in Florida. With the girls growing and our health stressing (probably from the stress of dealing with irresponsible adult step children), we started downsizing our home and using the camper more.

In December 2010, we decided to try staying in this thing for a month rather than a weekend. It went fairly well being that in Florida the winters are mild, especially December.

BUT, I did have some issues with where the heck to put things. So I made a list of each area of the camper and what we would need to make it more efficient.

We have a bedroom with a sliding door. Queen bed and one wardrobe (very small and short) with overhead cupboards above the bed. The changes we made in there were to add a wardrobe (same size) on the other side. That worked well. Under our bed in that storage area, I put all the extra sheets, blankets, comforters, etc....which we have currently down sized again to one set per bed (wash and put them right back on the bed) and the extra blankets and all...we got rid of.
I also bought the under the mattress shoe bags. they hang over the sides of the bed. I hated the look so I just put our bed skirting over them and now no one knows there are shoes under the skirting.

For my husbands ties, we bought a tie rack and put that on the back of the sliding door. my jewelry rack is under his ties. so we used the space for both of our things and no one ever sees them.

In the main area (kitchen, dining, small living area) we bought all the under the counter things we could.

In the kitchen we use pop a plates, pop a napkin, pop a filter, pop a tissue (3), and installed those. what a space saver they have proved to be. we also installed our coffee mate coffee pot under the counter top.

Because I love to cook and do...we bought two spice racks and put them on the wall to hold the spices. I needed the small cupboard space I have to hold my canned, boxed, and other foods.

We do not have any drawers in this area, so I have a utensil holder that holds my spatulas etc. that I keep in a corner near the back of the stove, next to the toaster.

I also have one to hold all my sharp knives.That sits on the other side of the toaster. Under the oven there is a cupboard that was bolted and seemed useless as there was only about 3 inches of space between the wall and the front of the cupboard, but it is about 2.5 feet long...so once I saw this space, I use that area to hold my cooking oil, vinegars, and other taller cooking items.

There is a pantry and of course we utilize that, but next to it was a double wardrobe. I took the hanger pole out, and made shelves in there to hold my pots and pans (that would fit no where else,blender, mixers, etc.

On the inside of the doors I installed the saran wrap and foil holders. I bought 3 so I could also store wax paper, baggies, etc also. One is place vertical and the other two horizontal. and on the other door inside, I put up command hooks and that is where the pot holders, measuring cups, duster, dust pan etc are kept.

The area above the dining table that is supposed to be used for a TV is used to keep my cookbooks and our girls school books, as we are now homeschooling. So the TV sits on top of the printer base on the bar counter. Because the space under the bar has a built in shelving area (each shelf area {3} is too short to really put books in without it looking messy) that we really couldn't use....I use it, but for items we hardly access but need like photo cds, software, our gps (when not in use) etc. but because no matter how I arranged things in there, it looks messy, I bought a book case and placed that in front of this area. Now all the junk is hidden, and the stereo, copy paper and all the things, that were too big to put in the other shelving, are neat, readily accessible, and all I have to do is pull the book case out to get to the other stuff we hardly ever use.

In the seating area (living room...if that is what you could call it) I put one of those pop a tissue things over the couch in the corner. bought two organizers that go between a washer and dryer to hold laundry stuff.They are only about 7 inches deep, so they fit perfectly in the space between the couch and the wall. Those have all our DVDs in them and they fit perfect. are easily accessible to the kids to the TV. On top of those is a lamp and plant and on that wall I installed a wine rack that holds our wine (God only knows that comes in so handy every now and then.)

In the tiny tiny tiny bathroom we have I bought a wrought iron cd rack from collectionsetc.com which I put over the toilet. No other over the toilet thingy fit because the area is so small. BUT this is where I put my towels (4), wash clothes, and a wicker basket that holds our q-tips, nail clippers, shavers, make up, etc.
inside the cupboard under the sink, I put one of those things that holds the blow dryer and curling iron with a wire basket under neath that where my husband puts his shaver.

On the wall we installed a soap dispenser. No more soap containers falling into the sink or on the floor as their literally is no counter top. we bought toothbrush holder, toothpaste dispenser (these are great) and in the itty bitty shower, I installed a shampoo, conditioner, body wash dispenser. so now no bottles falling in there.
the floor space is so small that just having the rug around the toilet base is all we needed in there. I hate that small bathroom. but it works and serves its purpose.

Across from the toilet on the wall I installed an acrylic magazine holder (like you might see in an office). works great for reading material but we also keep the brushes in that.

Also to keep the plumbing nice and clean I occasionally pour some cheap shampoo into the tank. we have never had a problem with smells.

Now the girls area. There was a queen bed on the bottom, and a single bunk above that. the queen lifted for storage, but the bedding became a mess each time and there was no place to put clothes and keep them neat. So we removed the queen bed in there and made the frame and all for a bunk under the existing bunk. Man did that give us room. Not the area where the extra space from the queen sat, we built a wardrobe-dresser unit. LIFESAVER. the girls bunks are long but narrower than standard bunks in a home, so we did have to order a mattress for the lower bunk. And the girls comforters they had at the house, had to be cut narrower to fit the bunks properly. now there is about 4 inches on each side....just enough to tuck under the mattress without all that extra material making things bumpy and messy looking.
we also installed the under the mattress shoe bags under each of the bunks and put a bed skirting over those so you would never know they were there. the girls dress shoes are hidden but easily accessible.

Under the bottom bunk, we made cubbies. this is for their purses, beach bags, etc. not seen because the bed skirt covers them. I LOVE IT.
also at the foot of their beds (because camper beds are longer than traditional bunk beds) I bought two cubes for each bed. Put a shelf in each of the cubes, Attached them to the wall, and now each girl has a place for some of her favorites. Their cd player, reading books, small fan, jewelry boxes, etc.

I also added a shelf with hook under it across from the beds on that wall. they use that for their lotions, scarves, bathrobes, etc.But now the girls also have about a 3x2 foot area to get dressed too, where before they had to sit on the queen bed to get dressed. so it is great so far.

Okay so because we took away the space that was under their bed, I needed to do something with the beach towels, games, toys and all the other junk we kept under there. I bought bins and put that stuff in those. They are under our camper where they cant be seen because the refrigerator and lawn chairs are in front of that area.

when the kids need something out of one of the bins, they pull it out and then put it back. with the chairs in front of that area no one even knows the bins are there.

oh yeah....we bought a small frig for outside. what a lifesaver for the kids to be able to grab a juicy and go and not to have to come inside every five minutes. a gallon jug of water and a bunch of beer....and we are set. no ones runs in and out. I bought the little dixie cups and dispenser and that sits on top of the frig in a wicker basket. whalla.

we also bought a shoe organizer (ours has 20 cubbies) this is right by the door. all the flip flops, sneakers, etc go in there before the kids come inside. THIS along with the grass looking rug has saved me so much cleaning.before the shoe box thing, there were flip flops everywhere. ("I have to potty, I will be putting them right back on") and meanwhile there were shoes all over the place.

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Feb 28, 2016
Salute to your innovation and being responsible grandparents
by: Ed Brewer

Salute to your innovation and being responsible grandparents
You obviously have a lot on the ball balancing homeschooling and managing time in your RV. The changes that you have made in your home on wheels are insightful to a novice like me. My wife and I are high school teachers and have noticed the sharp up-turn in the number of our students being raised by grandparents. It isn’t fair, but it seems to be one of the new realities. I have a sister who is retirement age, but raising a 3 year old great-grandchild.
We have traveled in our RV trailer for a few weeks over the last two summers and the information that you have offered is helpful in giving me a better look at thinking outside the box. We have a 26’ Hi-Low (3400 lbs.) that is easily towed behind our 2013 crew cab Tacoma. Creating more storage spaces inside the trailer and learning to travel with less stuff have been a noteworthy challenging to us thus far. We are planning on traveling to Alaska this summer and meeting up with friends who are also RV adventurers. Thank you for sharing your experiences and advancing our knowledge and understanding

Jan 07, 2013
by: Anonymous

All these are great ideas, sure would be nice to have pictures.

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