Spring Spruce-up for RVs and Camping Trailers

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Nothing announces spring like open windows and an upcoming camping trip. Heck, after the winter we’ve had, even the idea of spring cleaning sounds good. And who can’t use a few helps and hints when it comes to getting your camper ready for that first trip the rest of the summer? (I like a neat place to stay, but I admit I only do those deep cleaning chores a couple of times a year, and that’s usually enough if we do the surface cleaning through the season.)

Where you start is a personal preference, but I suggest starting with something that will make a big difference, right off the bat…just to keep me motivated. I like to organize, but if I started with that, I would probably never do anything else…I’d just keep finding more and more things that needed organizing. Whether you tackle inside or outside first depends on lots of things: the weather, facilities, and how much energy you have. So, just start!

OUTSIDE:

  • Use a power washer, strong spray nozzle, or take it to a gentle car wash. Knock off the dirt and dust first, and then you can use a heavier cleaner to remove road tar and the rust that comes out of the little holes around the windows.
  • Open all the windows and clean the tracts around them. This is the dirtiest spot on our trailer. It’s where the dirt and flies like to collect when we have the air conditioner running in the summer, plus, it is not easily accessible when I’m doing routine surface cleaning. It’s also a great place for mildew to hide. I washed the tracts with an all purpose Dollar Tree cleaner and then used baking soda and a scrub pad to scrub away the mildew around the rubber gaskets around the window. Harsh cleaners and heavy duty scratch pads could damage these, and I want none of that!
  • Vacuum screens
  • Take down blinds and wash them in warm soapy water. (I use the bathtub for that, and then rinse them and lay them flat on a towel to dry.)
  • Wash windows inside and out.

INSIDE:

  • Remove vent covers and clean.
  • Wash appliances and counters with all purpose cleaner. For the inside of the fridge, I use warm water and baking soda. Check for any mildew that might be lurking in the seals and use a baking soda solution to remove.
  • Clean bathroom fixtures. Since most RV and Trailer manuals suggest not using abrasive cleaners, I use the same one I use at home. A mixture of half white vinegar and half Dawn. Heat the vinegar, mix together, and put in a spray bottle. Use it as you would any bathroom cleaner. It is gentle, effective…hmmmm. That’s sounding like a laxative commercial, but this is no BS. It works great and is also greener than most manufactured cleaners.
  • Wash or wipe down walls and trim as needed.
  • Remove and wash bedding. Sprinkle baking soda onto mattress, brush it around, and leave it while you finish cleaning. Vacuum it off the mattress. You can also dab a little essential oil (lavender is relaxing, tea tree oil discourages insects) onto the mattress cover before making up the bed. I actually like to leave the mattress pad exposed to the air and not make the bed with fresh linens until ready to travel.
  • Vacuum and mop floors, wash area rugs.
  • Replenish supplies and non-perishables such as foil, baggies, coffee, peanut butter, toilet paper, charcoal, paper plates, etc.
  • Check/replace batteries in your smoke detector.

I will finish my trailer cleaning this week. Now, about the house? Hmmm, not sure, because I’ll probably be too busy camping. It’s almost March and the white bass are calling.

Cheap Tricks for Campers

 

Storage space is premium in an RV or camping trailer. Life is better when everything has a place and stays in it, especially for those who make RV and camper travel a way of life. Organizing it is one thing; keeping it in place is another. Every time we set up our camper, I had to open the cabinets, find, and rearrange things before we could begin to prepare a meal. DSC00143

 

A trip to the dollar store remedied that situation.  This shower caddy was a perfect fit .DSC00147

 

It holds plastic cups and glasses on one side and microwavable bowls on the other, with a perfect space for a salt and pepper shaker underneath. The best part…they all stay in place when we move. I also purchased a stacking shelf which affords space underneath while keeping all sorts of plates (paper, plastic washable plates, straw charger plates, etc.) organized.

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I can easily lift it out to remove my toaster which I don’t use often and store in the hidden away part of the cabinet.

 

 

Other snap lid plastic containers hold flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, hot chocolate mixes, and empty ones are always available to hold side dishes and leftovers. A stack of recycled/reused foil pie tins are in-disposable-okay, they are disposable, and that makes them even better. I use them for cooking over the fire grate, serving things that are too messy for paper bowls, and I never feel badly about throwing them away since I’ve already used them multiple times.DSC00149

Another idea that has made life so much more normal easier (I’ve given up on my life ever being normal…I’m not sure we would even like normal) uses freebies and a Dollar Store plastic shoe or storage box.

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We have a lot of these little recyclables around our house, and I’m always looking for a way to use them rather than putting them in the recycle bin. They are perfect for keeping tableware organized in your camper or RV. Before, I used a plastic shoe box inside a drawer and threw all the tableware in it with tongs, can opener, and other accessories in the drawer space surrounding the box.  Now, three of these containers fit perfectly in the shoe box and keep the forks, knives, and spoons separate. You can use Velcro dots and secure them to the box if you wish, but I have had no trouble with them moving around as we travel, and I can easily remove the canister to set a table. Seriously…it’s the little things that make life better, right?

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Well, I’ve shared a few “tricks” that worked. Now, let me tell you about an epic failure. First of all, never trust an old rope…even if the person recommending it is knowledgeable is completely trustworthy swears it is fine. Thankfully, I have no pictures to support this text, however, I assure you I could have won the Funniest Home Video prize, hands down…bottoms down. And Saint almost lost his status. He tied the hammock between two trees and said, “There. That isn’t going anywhere. Try it out and see if it’s high enough off the ground for you.” Thank goodness it wasn’t any higher off the ground, because that trip to the pile of rocks underneath it, while short, resulted in a cracked or severely bruised tail bone! Yep, the rope broke. The best tip I can give campers is DO NOT TEST YOUR HAMMOCK IN A SEATED POSITION. If I had been lying on my back with weight distributed evenly, it would have made me mad, but that’s about all. When the rope snapped without warning, my behind hit the ground and there was no running. No walking. No sitting. No fishing the next day. No, I didn’t interrupt Saint’s fishing by going to the emergency room. After googling symptoms and treatments, I self diagnosed, finding that there is little that doctors can do for a cracked or severely bruised tail bone other than ice packs, heat, pain relief and rest. It is getting better, but not as quickly as I’d like!

I hope all these little details (no pun intended) make your camping experiences more enjoyable. Do you have tips to share? What works for you? Please comment and share your ideas; we love hearing from you.

Happy tails trails!