Finding Real Estate
While the typical RV countertop area is small, other places can make up for the loss of real estate. Think out of the box, think under the cabinets.
A variety of galley equipment is made that takes otherwise unused space and puts it back in circulation. If you “just gotta have” that morning cup o' Joe, then an under-cabinet mounted coffee maker may be the next best thing to the corner barrista. Black and Decker makes the Optima model for less than $50. Camping World and Wal-Mart are just two of the many outfits that carry these java machines. Yes, they do require shore power to operate. For boondockers conscious of their power, the old-fashioned range top perker, or a “pour it over the grind” a la Melitta, makes good brew. Pour the results in a vacuum carafe and you can have coffee clear into the next day.
Other popular under-cabinet devices take far less juice to operate. A favorite of ours is the under-counter spice rack. This plastic critter has adjustable shelves to hold differing sizes of spice cans and jars. If you frequent bumpy roads, you may find that the supplied “catch” that holds your spice rack closed doesn't have the muscle required. After sweeping up sweet basil, we added an extra strap of double-stick Velcro closure material to add another layer of security.
If you hate washing dishes, then another under-cabinet critter may serve you well. Trade-named “Pop-a-Plate,” these simple characters dispense paper plates from a round reservoir. Since we tied up all our under-counter space with spice racks and paper towel holders (ah! there's another one!), we mounted ours vertically between cabinet doors above the sink. It works just as well as the normal mounting method. Other “Pop-a” devices include those that dispense coffee filters, napkins, even plastic bags. There are so many that they could prove addictive. Check out your favorite RV accessories dealer.
In our rig, counter space really was an issue. We settled on adding a foot of counter space when we need it by adding a countertop extension. This finished oak board hangs on a hinge at the end of our countertop, and has a “dog leg” type brace that allows us to bring it up into position when needed. When you're done with it, simply snap the brace back and the extension folds down and out of the way.
For the RV park-frequenters, here's an RV appliance that the galley slave will covet: a genuine RV dishwasher. You'll need a couple of things for this one: shore power and countertop space. The little buzzard takes about an 18-inch chunk out of your counter space, but in return claims it will wash up those dinner dishes with just about three and a half gallons of water. It does chew up shore power at the rate of 680 watts, and we haven't been able to determine the total electrical cost for a load of dishes. But if you've got the power and the space, for around $500 you can complement the cook's helper.
For a whole lot less money, may we recommend an inside refrigeration fan? This little fan box circulates the air inside your refrigerator, leveling out the temperature, and should reduce the amount of propane or electricity required. It's said to also reduce the amount of time required to cool down room-temperature items put inside. One sells under the trade name “Fridgecool” and operates on a couple of batteries. For less than $20 it may be the answer to keeping Mr. Bud in a happy state.
There are many ways to make your RV galley more functional. Since we've been full-timing, we've found life has to work like “back home.” Bare cabinet doors seem like such a loss, so one of our doors now is “faced” with a small whiteboard. As we find things we need to shop for, they get marked on the board. On the next door hangs our calendar, keeping track of appointments, deadlines, and all those other commitments we'd sometimes like to forget.
Our dinette is a built-in model with booth seating. We've found that the space under the cushions is an ideal place to stick a few newspapers. These are great for starting campfires or lining the cat's dining area.
No doubt many of you have great ideas for enhancing the livability of your rig. We'd love to hear your experiences and suggestions. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russ and Tiña De Maris are writers who divide their time between Washington and Arizona.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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