Do you remember Robin Williams’ Genie in Aladdin? When he described life in the Genie’s lamp: “Phenomenal Cosmic Power… itty-bitty living space!” I can relate in some ways – not to the “cosmic power” but the “itty-bitty living space” is certainly us.
We live in a Grand Design 337RLS Fifth Wheel. It is 35.5 feet long, has 3 slides and a good deal of storage space. Our total living space may only be about 350 square feet but our little home on wheels allows us Phenomenal Travel Freedom. Over the past year we have taken our home to several U.S. states and Canada. We have seen amazing and beautiful sights and met many wonderful people.
Before we started RVing full time we lived in a 1400 square foot house. It was adequate space for a family of 4 and a beagle. After the boys moved out, it was too much space for just the two of us. Rather than owning our home, it felt like our home owned us.
We couldn’t live a life of freedom and travel as long as we were taking care of a lawn, paying a huge mortgage, trying to stay ahead of home repairs and upkeep and working jobs that didn’t allow us to have the same schedule. We thought about it, prayed about it and decided to take the “road less traveled.” We opted for adventure and new experiences while we are young and healthy and able to enjoy this unique RV lifestyle.
Like any new adventure it was not without its challenges. We downsized and then downsized some more. Our Grand Design RV was created for the most efficient use of space and to provide a maximum amount of storage space but we still had to downsize BIG time! We don’t really miss anything that we got rid of. What we kept is what we LOVED or NEEDED.
Since moving into our Fifth Wheel (AKA Old Glory) we have tweaked a few things to fit our lifestyle. Today I want to take you through the rig and show you its basic floor-plan.
In the past I’ve blogged about some upgrades Mark has made to O.G. Today I will show you 2 new basic upgrades Mark has done to make our RV life simpler and more efficient in our “itty-bitty living space”.
This is the front yard to our little house. If we don’t like it or get tired of it, guess what? We can move. Because our little home is on wheels.
This front storage space is where our battery is located and it’s also where we store our beach chairs and beach gear. We don’t need to access this space a lot. When we are close to a beach area the beach gear stays in the truck. While we are in the mountains of North Carolina beach gear lives in the front storage compartment.
The pass thru provides a lot of extra storage (about 100 cubic feet) and we have organized it in multiple, well-labeled bins. In this storage area you would find tools, set up gear for O.G., my sewing machine, a tub of Christmas decorations, and some miscellaneous hoses and electrical cords.
Part of what is found in the pass-thru area or “basement” is our water hook ups and tank drain valves as well as the cable connection.
On either side of the RV there is a small storage area where a propane tank is kept. We have 2 – 30 pound propane tanks. We use propane for our oven/stove, our furnace, our water heater and the refrigerator. The water heater and refrigerator can operate on propane OR electric.
Welcome to O.G.! Come on in and take the stairway to your right… you will find yourself in the hallway with our bathroom to your left and our bedroom straight ahead.
The bedroom is at the front of the RV. Our queen-sized bed lifts to reveal a large amount of storage beneath it.
The front closet (behind the sliding mirrored doors) has shelves behind the clothes hanging area. There are also washer/dryer hook ups in the closet but we have decided not to add the weight of a washer/dryer. So far we have been able to find places to do our laundry on the road or at campgrounds. We don’t want to give up closet space at the moment. As long as we are workamping, laundry is included in the “payment” for our time.
At the foot of the bed is a built in chest of drawers below and cabinets above. Our clothes hamper tucks in nicely at the end of the chest of drawers.
The Dining room table and chairs have hidden storage areas. Beneath the table is a drawer and a storage space for the extension leaf. Each of the dining room chairs have storage under the seat. There is adequate storage throughout the RV but our limited living space makes it necessary to stay on top of all clutter. Just a few things left out till “later” can begin to accumulate and quickly make our space feel smaller.
The large kitchen is perfect for food prep. In the above picture, the door you see beside the stove is a deep pantry. There is more storage on the other side of the stove, underneath the island and in the hutch area. Our 12 cubic foot, 4 door refrigerator/freezer runs on either electricity or propane.
In the rear living area there is an electric fireplace which comes in handy to take off the chill. Our main source for heat is a propane furnace. It works well and is thermostat-controlled. The floor-ducts distribute warm air throughout O.G. When the furnace is running it automatically heats the underbelly of the RV where our water tanks and lines are.
The television gets good reception in most areas using the built in antenna on our RV. Some campgrounds offer cable and we do have a cable hook up on the side of the RV.
We have 2 Air conditioners- one in the living room and one in the bedroom. We have rarely had to use the A/Cs as O.G. is also equipped with a ceiling fan (Fantastic Fan) that is very efficient at circulating outside air through the RV when the windows are open. This fan has a rain sensor so it will shut automatically if it detects rain.
The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to successfully living in an RV is this little 3 gallon dehumidifier. In the winter in South Dakota it was necessary to run it to clear the excess humidity out of the air. We didn’t use it at all in Tucson but we have used it a LOT in North Carolina. We have been told that humidity is the enemy of every RV. The goal is to prevent mold in this small space we live in.
So that is the end of the “grand tour” of our Grand Design. Now I’m going to share the 2 latest upgrades that Mark has completed…
The first upgrade involves efficient use of space in our bedroom. As I’ve already said, Grand Design does a great job of providing storage space and using space efficiently… except for the space under the end tables beside the bed. It’s nice to have a bedside table to place our phones, glasses, tissues etc. on.
In this case Grand Design provided bedside tables but enclosed the space beneath them. The enclosed and useless space under the bedside tables was pointed out on a Facebook group we are part of. Another Grand Design owner shared their “fix” and we liked it so much we decided to do it too. Mark took out the old boxes and table tops, purchased some brackets and screws to re-install the table tops and now we can easily access all that lovely storage space beside the head of the bed. We found that the dollar store sells the perfect sized plastic bins to slide in this area and it’s a great space for slippers, a flashlight, a book, or any number of things. The possibilities are endless!
The second upgrade has helped simplify the process of cleaning the bathroom. As you can see there are tracks holding our glass shower doors in place. These work well but they collect water – lots of water and it quickly becomes icky and the tracks are difficult to clean. These are the topic of many conversations on Grand Design Facebook groups.
One fellow Grand Design owner suggested a sponge (as shown above) cut so that it can easily slide through the tracks and clean them. We tried this first and it worked somewhat but it is not as easy as it looks. So we went back to the drawing board, or rather the Grand Design Facebook page, and we found another suggestion. We went with a tension shower bar and a shower curtain. This keeps the tracks from getting water in them – at all- period. No more water in the tracks means no more sponging, scrubbing and cleaning up the icky standing water. Success! We don’t know what we’d do without the Grand Design Community. So much experience and knowledge accessible in one place.
So that is all for this week’s blog. We hope you enjoyed seeing our itty-bitty living space up close. If you have any questions, you can always ask in the comment section below… or if you have any suggestions about future topics you would like to read about in our blog, let us know! email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you. We’ll be writing soon about playing on the parkway and I am working on gathering information about the best places to eat breakfast in Western North Carolina! It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do the research ; )