With our time here at the farm starting to come to a close (and the weather finally getting nice) I’ve been scrambling to get some of the trailer projects on my to-do list done. They included better bunkhouse organization, storage for our new (& bigger keyboard), and an outdoor office.
While I spent time on the outside & roof of the trailer getting the new internet gear installed and cleaned up the inside portion was still a mess. I added a network backup drive, and found that I still needed our older Cradlepoint router for times when the new WifiRanger couldn’t seem to connect via our aircard.
It was all laying up out of sight, but just a jumble of equipment on a towel. I cut a piece of plywood, covered it in automotive carpet, arranged all the components on it and routed the wires using tie-downs. It’s still all up and out of sight but I’ll admit to being a bit OCD with wiring and knowing it’s tidy eases my mind.
I’ve done organization projects elsewhere in the trailer but we hadn’t touched the kids’ bunkhouse space much. I wanted them to live in it a bit before we made any decisions about how to best use the space.
We ended up removing the upper-left flip-up bunk but I’ll cover that below as the main reason for doing so was to store the keyboard.
Clothes storage has been an issue. In our last trailer we used the plastic drawers that Wal-Mart and most other stores sell. They worked OK for a year-long trip but ultimately the drawers didn’t stay in place while traveling and broke from use. We had purchased fabric drawer units from Target but they have already started pulling apart from use (they’d be good for baby or toddler clothes but just didn’t have enough room for teen clothes).
I found some bigger stacking storage bins on Amazon and decided to try them instead - hoping that they’ll provide the necessary storage and get around trying to keep drawers from walking out while traveling. They left enough space in the wardrobe to store a guitar and a keyboard stand - so all instruments are now out from under the master bed (musical inspiration often seeming to strike perfectly at nap time). The few hanging clothes our kids have now get rolled up and stored in the drawer below. We aren’t so formal that a few wrinkles really affects our appearance…
I also modified the rear dinette bench by removing the face boards from the lower bench support. There is a lot of storage under these seats but the rear one you had to flip up the entire seat to access. I added some metal corner supports to keep the unit rigid and with it open now shoes or a laundry bag can be tucked under the bench.
This was the big project. The new keyboard I bought the family for Christmas was a whole lot wider than our previous one - having the full 88 keys. I decided the top/left bunk could be cut down into a shelf as a base for storing it then we could build up from there with additional cabinets for clothes storage. I sketched out what I wanted and brought it to a local cabinet maker - but his estimate of $500 was just a bit more (ok, alot more) than I was hoping to spend.
Giving up on the cabinets I scrapped together a shelving unit from our host’s wood pile, covered it all in carpet, and installed it in place of the upper bunk. I installed some marine-type rope cleats so we could rope it all off for travel.
The shelf isn’t full-width, so it allows the kids to sit at their table without slouching.
Our trailer unexpectedly came with an exterior door for an optional outdoor fridge that we didn’t get as it cost some really nice drawers in the kitchen. Our previous RV had a little clip-on table in this spot and I often worked there on nice days either in the sun or under the awning, and it was a nice change of pace from working inside.
As soon as I saw the size and shallow depth of the storage space I started scheming a way to turn it into an outdoor office (it would be mostly unusable otherwise..that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
I saved the clip-on table from our last trailer and installed it here, ran power into this space from the refrigerator in the compartment next door, and used a Command brand smartphone holder.
Almost-instant outdoor office!
I’m considering a second monitor installed on a wall bracket above my laptop (as a web developer I sorely miss dual monitors) but have to decide if the wooden backer will support the weight as we travel. I also plan to glue a whiteboard to the back of the door for use when it’s open.
I have a few other odds and ends to wrap up but they are probably too small to bother blogging about.