The Battle for Storage

I very rarely read complaints about FWCs, and a testament to this is the fact that they’re nearly impossible to find on the used market. But once in awhile, I’ll come across a FWC post on a blog or forum where, if you look very closely, you’ll find a whisper of a complaint buried amongst paragraphs proclaiming how amazing the camper is. And 99% of the time, that complaint will be about lack of storage.

As an avid watcher of House Hunters, I’ve seen my fair share of couples strolling through a gigantic house with a garage, a basement, and a closet every 5 feet while whining that there isn’t enough storage. Storage for what?! Your five thousand pieces of grandma’s china that do nothing but collect dust? Your massive wardrobe that you wear only 10% of? Piles of VHS tapes you haven’t gotten around to converting to digital media yet?

We are bigger fans of Tiny House Hunters these days.

I’m sorry if I sound bitter. Clay and I have done a lot of downsizing these past couple of months and most of my shoe and purse collections are now gone. Does it feel great to be free of the excess stuff? Of course! Was it totally worth it to pursue our travel plans? Absolutely! Was it a painful process? YES YES OH MY GOD YES.

Anyway, back on topic. When we bought the camper and established our rig, we reviewed what storage space we had and what we wanted to use it for.

  1. Clothes. So the truck has an access cab. We bought an Expandable Car Clothes Bar and boom, we have a closet. We spent hours going through all our clothes, and only items that were frequently worn made the cut. Regardless, I’m impressed by how much of our wardrobes we were able to fit on that bar. And it’s kind of cool that wherever we go, my entire wardrobe comes with me.
  2. Food and kitchen items. We dedicated the camper’s passenger side bench storage, the kitchen cabinet we installed, and a milk crate underneath the sofa to all things food and cooking. In addition, we have our cooler (a future portable fridge is coming though!) on the floorspace nearest to the bed and a five gallon water jug strapped in the passenger side corner by the entrance.
  3. Furniture. We have two camping chairs and an outdoor table. The gap space between the wall of the camper and the back of the sofa houses these things sufficiently.
  4. Toiletries and assorted tools. There are four small rectangular cabinets on both the left and the right side of the camper. Clay and I each have condensed our toiletries into a shaving tote each, which take up two of the cabinets. The third cabinet holds tools (headlamps and a lantern, knife, solar charger, that stuff) and the fourth holds toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a few other assorted tools.

It’s everything we could ever need, right?? Ever seen videos of people shopping for massive RVs walking in and immediately gushing “Oh my gosh Bill, look at all this storage!” We surveyed at the minor amount of storage we had, gloated at how successfully we planned to use the space, and scoffed at the thought of people actually needing more. What accomplished minimalists we are! We’ve got this in the bag! No sweat!

HA.

So we’ve been mobile with our living situation for the past month, and it’s given us the opportunity to really try this whole living out of the camper thing and narrow down flaws in our plan. And as we condensed every single thing we owned to fit either 1) in the rig to go with us on our trip or 2) in the back of our Subaru to store while we’re on the road, we hit the roadblock of insufficient storage space FAST. Damn you Bill, damn you and all your storage.

It’s amazing how things you don’t even realize you have take up space. Laptops and chargers. Phone chargers. Lap desks. Our food storage space doesn’t accommodate a family-sized box of wheat thins. Lucy has like a million doggie things – just her dog food container alone takes up a lot of real estate. I thought my purse was small until I realized there’s nowhere to put it. Dirty laundry bags. My precious four pairs of shoes that survived the purge. And then there’s stuff you need to have on you while traveling, but you don’t necessarily want it in the camper: a quart of oil, propane, jumper cables, a shovel, a grill grate. The list goes on but you get the idea.

Man, if only we could put on an addition to the rig. A basement, perhaps. Or better…

A garage!

Before I begin telling you all about our fabulous storage solution, Clay would like to interject and point out that we didn’t need a lot of extra storage space. Just a little bit. He continues to scoff at the Bills of the world.

So after a little research and a very lucky Craigslist find, we became the proud new owners of a Stowaway2 Cargo Carrier, AKA the garage. Of course the best part is it’s 90 and 180-degree swinging capacity, so we can easily move it aside when we’re camping to get in and out of the rig.

As an added bonus, the hitch bar of the Stowaway makes a perfect step for going in and out of the camper. However, it has a slight give to it, and we didn’t want to strain anything while constantly stepping on that bar as we go in and out. The problem was quickly solved by putting a jackstand under the Stowaway. Keeps everything steady and now we can repetitively joke about how we added a foundation to our garage.

The storage battle, we have won. For now!

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