My Perfectly Compact Tea Storage Solution

I really love tea.  Mark and I are mostly coffee drinkers but tea has a special place with me nonetheless.

Tea can be pretty sloppy in an RV.  Boxes that are disorganized and squashed in a drawer.  I purged some of the tea I had in our house but I still had to figure out a way to contain the tea.

I’d been eyeing these tea storage boxes for a little while….but um…call me a cheapskate…I couldn’t swallow the pill of spending $20 for one.

I found a similar one at The Container Store for $13, that was better.  (so silly that a few bucks bothered me so much)  But I didn’t want to pay shipping.

But when I was shopping in Hobby Lobby the other day, I spotted this gem.  Rustic, earthy, small.  Perfect. $3.  It was originally $6 but 50% off at the time.

I’d estimate that 40 or so tea bags will fit in there.  I love that it has a lid and it can be closed.  It is the perfect size for a standard tea bag.

On a side note…I simply love this Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea right now.  It’s perfect for the chilly weather we’ve been having.

Anyway, I still have tea to contend with.  Like my Celestial Seasoning Teas that are not individually wrapped and bulk Rooibos Chai Tea from Savvy Tea & Herbs that is amazingly delicious.

But I’m waaaay happier with my tea storage for the camper.

 

Camper Tour – Kitchen

This is one area of the camper that I wish was larger.  Who doesn’t want a larger kitchen though right?

I do have to say, as far as camper kitchens go, it’s pretty big!

I admit, after being here for 3 weeks, it’s getting better.

Kitchen View

Microwave/Refrigerator/Storage

Here is the side view…

The over cabinet storage is handy.  We have baskets above the microwave for vitamins, snack items, and bread, plus my spice rack is mounted.

Stove/Oven Area

Here is the stove top…pretty standard to RVs.  In the back is a little rack that I put spice overflow.  I use to put sauces but AFTER ONE NEARLY EXPLODED, I moved the sauces to a cabinet. (it get’s hot back there!)

This is obviously the oven.  I store some of my larger pans and stoneware here.  Our oven is pretty nice as far as RV ovens go, (you can adjust it more which I’ll go into later).

Cabinets

Here is where we moved our sauces…love lazy susans for easy access.  We still have organizing to do…but we’re getting there.

Here are the drawers that Mark made the built in organizer for.

Here is the upper corner shelf.  It’s hard to get back there in the corner, so we got another lazy susan.

This is the bottom shelf of the corner cabinet.  We really crammed a lot in there with racks and wire shelves.

This cabinet is a mess and I’m still trying to figure out how to organize it.

I do have 4 more drawers I forgot to take a picture of.  I store my glass snap containers, tin foil, saran wrap, baggies in one.  Pan lids, potatoes, pot holders in another.  Coffee, coffee grinder, aprons, in another.  And hand mixer, kitchen towels and wash rags in the last one.

Pantry

Upper pantry view…lots going on in here!  On the top shelf, my re-purposed containers with our bulk goods.  Middle has a wire organizer for our cutting boards, collapsable colander, pans.  And the bottom shelf has a collapsable salad spinner, mini loaf pans, & lid organizer.

Lower part of pantry.  I simply love my OXO Storage!

Side Wall

Mark mounted hooks on the wall for my pots and pans.

Under Bench Storage

I had to keep my lefse griddle and I use it for all sorts of meals: pancakes, french toast, quesadillas, and I’ll hopefully be making lefse this winter.  And I love my Salad Master chopper….they’re both big and bulky but I had the space to store them.

So there you have it.  A tour of the kitchen area.

We have a few projects to get the space more organized but I figured if I waited until it was all just right, I’d never get a post up.

If you all have ideas or tips to organize some areas, I welcome them!  I’ve sorta run out of steam with organizing at this point.  Still I’m very happy with where we are in the organization department.

 

 

Camper Tour – Kid’s Bunk Room

When we were shopping around for a RV, we were specifically concerned about one area.

The Kid’s Room

Really I was concerned about 2 areas.  But the kid’s bunk room became the most important area in our hunt.

Hey ya’ll we got 4 kids you know!  *smile*

Actually, I know MANY families RV with more kids than we have, but still, we really wanted them to have a nice space.

Maybe it had something to do with RVing in South Dakota during freezing winters.  Call us crazy but we really wanted a bigger space for them to stretch out in.

In the end, we chose the Sandpiper 365 SAQ.

The Bunks

There are 4 bunks, two are twin and two are full size.  For all you non-RVers, that is camper size.  Which really is a smaller odd size.

The boy’s side has a twin on top, and a full on bottom.

Underneath is a nifty storage area that had a trundle mattress stored in when it came from the factory.  We put that in the storage unit because we didn’t need it.   We replaced the mattress with 4 of those flat plastic storage boxes.

This underbed storage comes in HANDY!

We use 1 for legos and duplos, 2 for puzzles & games, & 1 for crafty things.

This is the boy’s side, Z doesn’t need his bunk since he’s still in his pack n play

The girls side has a full on top and a twin on the bottom, there is not storage under the bottom bunk because that area is used as part of the outdoor kitchen.  That bottom bunk also can be locked up to allow for extra playing space.

Back wall with storage

Hanging Storage

We love our hanging storage!  So much so, that you get to see the messy insides.

The Boys

The Girls

I’m very happy with it though, in spite of the disorganization.

For the back wall…on the bottom shelf, we put a bunch of books and the two outer net areas are for toys.

Now our BIG question!   We could really use your help and ideas.  We are NOT putting a TV in the kid’s bunk room because we are not big fans of the TV anyway.  So what would you do with this area above??

It is narrow and big enough to fit a 32″ TV.  Any ideas?

We also mounted hooks on the wall leading into the bunk room for the kids coats, one for each child.

The Bathroom

Lastly the kid’s bunk room has a bathroom.  It’s not a huge one, and we’ve hardly used it because of Z napping and not wanting to disturb him.  I do think we’ll use it more in the summertime since it leads outside.

I store our cleaning supplies on the shelf on top. It works well and is out of the way.

Truthfully, if I could, I’d trade out that bathroom for more kitchen space.  BUT that’s not an option.  I really think after being in here for a while, I’d be able to be on the design team for Forest River.

So far they aren’t calling me to find out my opinion though.  A girl can dream.

Anyway, that’s the kid’s bunkhouse of our 365 SAQ Sandpiper.  I hope to get more areas up for “viewing” in the near future.

In order to do so, I need to get over the fact that my cabinets do NOT look neat and they are not perfectly organized. I keep reminding myself that this is a process that we’ll improve on as we go.

So there you have it.  Any ideas on the TV area?  For real.

 

DIY Built-In Drawer Organizers

I have a problem with Pinterest.

I *heart* Pinterest.

In fact, I think my Pinterest organization board is preeeety impressive.

Anyway, I’ve been eye-ballin’ this idea for a few weeks.  Truth be told, I hounded Mark.  I think at one point he confessed his pure and complete hatred for Pinterest.

Needless to say, Mark wasn’t having it with my drawer organization wishes.  I sorta got over it and decided to NOT remind Mark to mod the drawers for the 1,283rd time.

As luck would have it, the utinsel organizer from our house was about 3 mm too big for our camper drawers!!!  Yes!

Mark even looked at buying a new organizer but couldn’t find anything that would work.  So you know what that means!!  I gots me some built-in drawer dividers!

Problem was, we couldn’t find the exact dentil molding that the DIY called for so we opted for a bigger design with fewer notches (and less ability to space them).  This is what Mark used to make our drawer dividers.

Dentil-Drawer-Dividers-Supplies

Drawer Organization DIY

So here’s how Mark modified 2 of our kitchen drawers.

Supplies

  • Locktite Power Grab glue
  • 2 8-foot dentil trim
  • 2 6-inch wide X 24-inch long wood planks (1/8″ width) (our large utensil drawer was deeper so we got the wider planks)
  • 2 4-inch height X 48-inch long wood planks (1/8″ width)

Instructions

Maybe it’s self explanatory, but cut the dentil trim to the length of the drawer.  Make sure you have your notches exactly lined up and spacing correct or you have trim in the drawer that you will not be able to slide your divider drawers into.

Attach your cut dentil trim pieces to the inside of the drawer with the Locktite Power Grab and hold for several seconds.  Attach any remaining dividers and glue with dentil, once again, ensuring that your have your notches lined up.

Cut planks the necessary length to finish the dividers and slid them into the appropriate notches.

The molding we purchased had a thicker edge on one length and is thinner and more tapered on the other edge.  Here is a close up…

Dentil-Edge-Close-Up

Tips

When Mark attached the molding, he glued it with the thinner edge down toward the bottom of the drawer.  By doing so, it created a lip which the knives would slide under.  This made getting knives out a little annoying and cumbersome so Mark put some caulking around the affected edges of that one cubby hole as you can see below on the left.

Drawer-with-caulking

He also put several strips in the draw to help secure the boards, (they were a little wiggly and he had enough molding to do so.

Mark did 2 drawers.  We were able to go from this…

Untensil-Drawer-Before dentil-drawer-organizer

To this…

Organized-Silverware-Drawer Organized-Dentil-Drawer Drawer-After-Dentil-Molding Untensil-Drawer-with-Dividers

Conclusion

Needless to say, I’m VERY happy with it!  The dividers are exactly as they need to be as far as spacing, but with this molding there are less options to reconfigure.

By doing this quick mod, I was able to use the most of the space in my utensil drawers and get rid of my utinsel jar that use to sit on my countertop.  Less wasted space.

The Cost

For 2 drawers, about $38 (Lowes….you really need to lower your prices!).

So, not nearly as cost-effective as I had hoped it would be.  BUT it was 2 drawers and he did reinforce the dentil strips with several pieces. AND given the time-crunch we weren’t able to price-compare.

In summary, I’d say my man pretty well rocks!

Stuff Stuff and More Stuff

We are down to THE last day in our house.

How in the world does one go from 1800 SF to 350 SF?!  Daunting is my descriptor of choice, but you know what they say,

“The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”

So we ate our household goods “one bite at a time.”  Errr…sorta.

I didn’t consider myself sentimental until I started purging our house.

  • highschool yearbooks.
  • military awards.
  • tons of old pictures.
  • antique school desks.

The list goes on and on.

We decided we didn’t want to get a storage shed, though that was in the original plan.

Why?  Well first off, storage sheds are a rip off!  Really.  Truly.  $50/month for a 10 foot by 10 foot box.

But really the truth is, when we got down to the items that really mattered to us….there wasn’t much.at.all.

Also, since we are all about downsizing and having freedom, as silly as it sounds, a storage shed seemed too restricting.  (we may need to be medicated)

So we did something pretty radical.

We sold almost everything….or gave it away.

Right now in our living room, you will find:

  1. A plant that means something to me and I CANNOT get rid of.
  2. A tote of winter gear for storage under the camper.
  3. A tote full of more things to donate.
  4. Three of my four kids.

That is it….and it’s a little creepy.

My sister is coming to visit from ND today.  She’ll be taking some of the family heirlooms with her that I cannot get rid of.

Local friends of ours have 2 storage units that have space in them, so we are going to force-feed them part of their rental fees.  We’ll store kid’s clothes, lawn mower, carpet shampooer, & a few tools.

Another friend has offered to store our canned goods and let us use their deep freezer since we buy our meat once a month and last time I checked the freezer in the camper is REALLY small.

So, between friends, family, garage sales, craigslist, & Boys Club donations we’ve done it.  We’ve made the shift.

Silly maybe.  Irresponsible maybe.  But even though our choice looks different than the norm, it doesn’t necessarily make it silly or irresponsible.

We live in a cookie-cutter society. I promise I will not go into a tangent over that right now.  Let’s just say we don’t want to follow the pattern set before us just because.

So here we go….let’s see what happens.

Spices for Tight Spaces

Spices.

Tight spaces.

What’s a girl to do?

One of my very dear friends is living full time in a camper now.  According to my children, that makes us copycats.

She did the leg work on finding an awesome space rack/organizer.

So I did the only proper thing a copycat could do.  I bought one.

The Zevro

This is one fancy spice rack

Ladies and gents….I present to you the Zevro MSR1400 Zero Gravity Magnetic Spice Rack.

In my opinion, if your spice rack has a model number, is magnetic, AND zero gravity, it pretty much rocks.

It comes with these handy little labels that are pre-printed and oh so simple.

Spice Rack Labels

Preprinted Spice Rack Labels

There wasn’t any label for some of my spices such Cream of Tartar or Allspice.  Maybe Allspice isn’t considered a common spice??

Do you use Allspice much?  I do during Fall more because of baking.

That camper oven may just change my entire world.  And not in a warm, fuzzy, happy sorta way.

Anyway, I’m over it.

So we filled them up with the spices I use most often.

We were able to downsize from this…

big bulky spices

My big bulky spices before

To this…

Filled With Spices

Whaaa laa!

The best part about this spice rack, it hangs on the wall.

What a beauty!!

So there is one more thing to show you….

You can either close the opening, open it to sprinkle, or open it to pour.

Closed

This is how the jar looks closed.

See that little white ball below?  Well that is the slider that you can move to control the flow of the seasoning.

Open to Sprinkle Position

And Pour Position

Jar is opened to Pour position

 

If I had a traditional home, I’d love to use this spice rack.  I do wish the jars were stainless steel (they are plastic) but I’m guessing that has to do with the actual zero gravity feature.

I got mine from Amazon for just under $40, the reviews are pretty mixed but I tend to think the low ratings were due to user-error.

I purchased the 12 canister set, but it is also available as an 8 or 6 canister set.

Our old spice cabinet was a mess in spite of my efforts to organize it.  This is one of the best options I have found.

 

Organizing on the Cheap

There is big bucks that can be spent organizing a kitchen

Lazy susans, pan dividers, spice rack, slim toaster, shelving, stools, baskets, hooks, collapsable containers…..you get the idea.

BUT I have a freebie that is proving to be great for space-saving storage!

Sam’s Club parmesan cheese.

Yep, Sam’s Club parmesan cheese is the key to my space-saving tip.  That and orange oil.

Orange oil is amazing stuff for another post!  And it is worth every penny.  I’ve had mine for years and bought it from a garden supply store in Texas.  But you can buy it here from Amazon if you can’t find it locally.

My secret weapon ~ Orange Oil

Be still my heart! It is so clean and shiny!

For the containers, let me explain that I sorta have issues with throwing containers away that I think might be useful *someday*.  I have bunch of similar sized containers from buying real parmesan, cashews, & cocoa almonds over the years.

Years of saving those plastic containers looks to have worked out in my favor though.

The original labels are stuck on in a heavy duty sorta way!  So you need to get those off.

15 of the 18 containers I had, had the labels.  (I told you I have issues)  And those labels were driving my OCD bonkers.

So while my mom was here the other day I conned her into asked her to help me get the labels off.  And she did!

What a chore!

There are all sorts of ways to remove the pesky labels, which you can find on Google.

Here’s our method.   Because you know, we’re pros and all.

  1. Soak labeled side in warm water.
  2. Peel off as much paper as you can with a razor or by scraping with your nail or a scrub brush.
  3. Use orange oil and a rag to rub the remaining stubborn glue off.
  4. Wash oil off with soapy water.

Not rocket science by any means, but it worked.

I know it’s a process.  But since they were the space-saving square shape and repurposed I couldn’t help myself.

And they were free.

I can fit 9 of these in one drawer with a very minute amount of unused space.

Pretty Lid

Lid that is all ready for my label

When life settles down, I’ll print these labels that I made.

[gview file=”http://www.thenewlighterlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Canister-Labels.pdf”]

I modified the ones found here and plan to mod podge them to the lids.

I could have just used that really cool file from Worldlabel, but I really don’t want to have to buy special label paper, I wanted them larger, and wanted them to all be the same design.

You know…OCD.