The not so glamorous side of being a full timer – the female perspective, a rant started on 09/01/19…
The bathroom is too small! I am not your typical girly girl. I don’t blow dry my hair and wear a ton of makeup. I do have my routine and it is challenging in a small bathroom such as the one found in a travel trailer. I am used to a large bathroom with a double sink, one that my husband and I can fit in without bumping into each other. Some might say the solution is to use the shower area on site at the RV Park that I am staying at. I have done that both mornings so far. Yesterday morning was much nicer than this morning, but still not great. This morning there was a family in there using the sink area, which didn’t really matter to me because I would prefer to get dressed and to do my hair & make-up in the convenience of my bathroom instead of hauling everything over there. I couldn’t get in the shower right away because there is only one and one of the ladies had just went in. I went home and came back 15 minutes later which was plenty of time. It was available, but now all the walls were wet. I had to hang my towel up where the wall was wet with moisture. I am not a germ-a-phobe or anything, but I really wanted to go wash my towel as soon as I was done using it. There isn’t a laundry facility at this site so I would have to go into town so not convenient. My hair falls out like crazy when I wash it so it isn’t that I don’t understand why there are long hairs here and there. However, I want to go buy a wastebasket to put in the shower area because when I am done I have a handful of hair that I need to clean off the wall where I placed it so it doesn’t go down the drain. I don’t want to try to grab my wet towel and my shower caddy while throwing the hair away so I left it sitting in the shower area hoping no one walks in wanting to get a shower before I have a chance to get all my things. I do know that there are sacrifices that I am making by agreeing to be on this full time adventure. I am wanting to figure out with this particular situation what the solution is.
My solution for the rest of that particular stay at the North Bingham County RV Park was to use the shower in my trailer. I do seem to run out of hot water towards the end. I am figuring out how to avoid that. I do like having the luxury of just having my stuff right there and not having to drag it all somewhere. I will however try each and every shower area wherever we stay so I can return and report. My husband mentioned as we were packing up and leaving that even he was getting grossed out by the state of the shower. It is a county run facility and they are busy doing a lot of things. The shower walls needs cleaned daily, but from what I could tell that wasn’t happening. They need a better system to get the moisture out of there though. It is affecting the paint on the cinder block walls.
Finally staying at an RV Park where the shower is just a short walk away is also helpful, but not always possible. My husband has been using all the showers at each of the RV Parks.
A Few Cheap Low Tech Solutions
After the first day we went into town and bought a mesh shower caddy for each of us, at Walmart for $6.23 each and silicone bottles to put our shampoo, body wash, etc. into and they cost $2.62 each. A bit more than I would normally spend, but I must say that they are nicer than the plastic 4 pack I bought at the dollar store. They hold 3 oz of stuff so they are ok to take on a plane if needed. We bought a soap holder for each of us as well for $1.03 each. The caddies are nice since there isn’t always a shelf in the bath houses to put your bottles on. They can hang on a hook or sit on the floor. The material they are made out of are washable and since they are mesh then they dry fairly quickly. We just hang them up in our bathroom shower to dry out. When we bought them our plan was to always use the bath houses for showering since there is more room and then someone else gets to clean the shower. That has since changed for me. Not sure who designs shower areas for RV Parks and/or hotels even. Neither are very functional most of the time. The shower in our trailer isn’t any better. It came with one little shelf for soap and that is it. We have added Command hooks that we purchased from our local Kmart for a total of $6.35 for our shower scrunchies, which we get at the dollar store. I am always shocked at how much they want for these at any of the retail stores. I get mine in a pack of 4 for $1 and I get his scrunchy which is more like 3 put together on a handle there also. We added a soap holder that we found at Camping World, one of the items we bought with our $25 voucher from Good Sams. We added 2 Command corner shelves that we bought at Kmart for $12.71 each including tax since it was the only place in town that we could find that had them. Our trailer doesn’t have any drawers in the bathroom so we bought a Rae Dunn 3 tier wood storage organizer that fits perfectly next to the toilet. It makes that space a little tight, but we are happy for the extra storage. We also added a Command hook on the wall to hang a hand towel. I bought foaming soap for the bathroom and kitchen from the dollar store. Also surprising how much this costs in regular stores. The bathroom garbage can I had at our sticks & bricks house was too big to sit next to the toilet in our trailer, but I found one at Family Dollar for $1.59 that is the perfect size and I am able to reuse the plastic grocery bags from the store.
Closet Space Solutions
Less space for clothes. I am also not one for having a ton of clothes. I did have to get rid of quite a few things to have room for what I really wanted to keep. So if I end up having to have something new then I will need to get rid of something in order to have room for it. We have storage above our bed and I bought the soft sided cube storage bins for this area. It holds 5. I was able to find a 2 pack of bins at Family Dollar for $4, I bought two of these and it cost me $8.48. Looking on the Walmart website the cheapest ones I can get is a 4 pack for $16.54 plus tax. The ones I bought aren’t as heavy duty as the ones you would find at Walmart, but they are doing the trick. We will see how well they hold up. I do have a sturdier one that was purchased several years ago so I will be able to compare how each one holds up over time. I am placing the things in the bin similar to the Marie Kondo style so it is easier to find what I am looking for. (I also used her method when scaling down my clothes, my husband used this method as well). Figuring out where to put the shoes was a problem that needed solving. We ended up choosing an over the door shoe organizer for the back of the bedroom door. It cost us $13.64, a little bit more than online apparently.
We have an area with hooks for jackets and such on the wall behind the door and now our door doesn’t open up as wide as normal. It is a bit of a pain, but much easier to get to than in bins under the bed as originally planned. I also bought a soft sided 5 shelf closet organizer for my husband’s things. Nothing is perfect, but under these circumstances they are helping make things easier to get to and to be more organized.
Other Changes in Routine
Need to buy groceries more often because the fridge is smaller. This isn’t truly that bad since it is just the two of us. Especially since my husband helps with meal planning and with the shopping.
Not having a washer & dryer in my home. You can purchase a trailer that has room for a washer & dryer, but we didn’t hear any positive things about going this route. Not sure how the cost varies from the water & electric used in a residential setting. We are keeping track of the cost and we will see how it adds up. Each on-site laundry or even a local laundromat prices vary. I have started using detergent pods to make it easier even though the cost is more. To me the convenience is worth it. The upside to doing laundry at a laundromat is that you can get more loads done at once than just one at a time. I have not just sat there waiting for the washer to finish, but returned to my trailer to do things or ran errands if in town at a laundromat. Making sure you always have quarters is important. Today I only had enough for 2 loads instead of 3. Which is not a big deal just a bit inconvenient. There is a chance that I could get change at the office, but I don’t have much cash on me. Something else that is new for me to get used to, carrying more cash.
Not much in the way of being able to recycle. It is much more difficult to do when you are traveling from place to place every few days like we are. Plus some areas of the U.S.A. doesn’t have much in the way of recycling. We do use reusable bags when we buy groceries, but don’t always remember to bring them in for smaller purchases. I use the plastic grocery bags in the small garbage call in our bathroom as well as the garbage container we have in our truck. The current place we are staying has a place for aluminum cans and it is located next to the dumpster. We just don’t have the space to bring any of our recyclable items with us until we find a place to dispose of them.
If you get into a disagreement then there aren’t many options of places to go. There is the outdoors, of course, but that isn’t an option if the weather is bad. Let’s be honest, things aren’t always going to go smoothly in any relationship. Someone is going to ruffle the other’s feathers at some point. So I guess one of us goes to the other room for a while. Because there are only two. Well three with the bathroom. We joked about getting a ‘his and hers’ trailer, towing a smaller one behind the big one, but so far that hasn’t been necessary.
Overall in the past 2 weeks, it has been better than I thought it might be. We always have the option to buy a sticks & brick house again. However, we are enjoying Adventure in the Outback so far and looking forward to many more.