Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RV Little Big Mansion

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife is dragging her feet when it comes to buying an RV. We have been planning this move into retirement for a number of years. We plan to keep our home, but live in the RV for most months of the year. Her problem seems to be space. She doesn’t want a big RV, but she wants lots of storage, cooking area, bath and bedroom. That is an impossible combination. Please give me some reasoning firepower so we can get past this perception obstacle in our road to retirement.
--Little Big Mansion on Wheels

Dear Little Big Man:
If you have never had an RV it will take some adjustments. I do not know how your wife defines “Big.” Just about every manufacturer has added slideouts to their models. This makes a huge difference in what is being hauled and what is stretched out at the destination. This could help in meeting her standards for size and space. The other things to consider when shopping for a rig would be storage. Being organized in a small space is key to successful living. Having plenty of storage will be a significant help in staying organized. You will find the smaller the unit, the less space is dedicated to storage. Something with basement storage (storage space under the floor) will make a huge difference in what you end up stepping over. (Pun intended) You need to look at as many floor plans as possible, with your list of needs, likes, and dislikes. I can’t guarantee you are going to find a unit that will make your wife happy. She needs to be open-minded about the fact that this is not going to be a 1500 square foot house on wheels. Most people in the retirement stage of life begin to downsize, throw out ballast they have collected over the years, and start sharing family heirlooms with children and family members. My grandfather in his last years told me to tell him what I wanted of his and he would put my name on it. I told him I wanted the safe. I should have been more specific. I did get the safe, but it was empty. Another point that may help your cause is housekeeping. You will both find it much easier to clean and maintain an RV than a home. Once you actually get on the road you will find you have much more time on your hands to explore and do things you truly enjoy. You can always start small and work your way up. Once your wife is comfortable with traveling in a smaller rig, she may find it more realistic to bump up a bit. Looking at units will give you an idea of how just three feet can gain you more elbow room in various living spaces. In most situations you will also spend more time outdoors than you normally would at home.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Carol Love said...

A good place to explore RVs is an RV show. The sales people are less intent on making a sale and you are more free to wander and look. Be sure to note which units are most acceptable and have what you are looking for. Size does matter and compromise is needed no matter what you finally choose. Happy camping. We do it full time - no house to go back to - and don't know why we waited so long to begin!

Jerry X Shea said...

I would focus on her request for "cooking area." First, she needs to understand that she will not be doing Thanksgivings Day dinner for the whole family anymore. All those "cooking items" she always used will be staying at home. Go to her kitchen and see how many knives she has. Tell her she will only 2 or 3 for the RV. Those 6 potato pealers, she only needs one. The idea is for her to understand she will be cooking for 2. Big pots & pans need to be replaced with smaller ones. Thus, she will end up not needing as much "kitchen space" as she thinks.

Anonymous said...

Another great place to start looking is Lazy days in Florida is the one we went to, they are so nice and NOT pushy at all, we wandered for the entire day and we would see an occasional golf cart with a sales person, they always asked if we had any questions. It's like an RV show but better because there are SO many to look at. Good luck

sbowers54 said...

We have just bought our fifth wheel for full timing. We spent many hours looking at dealers and on the internet. Camping World was a great help in letting us go through the units at our pace. We kept a list of likes and dislikes of each unit. We finally decided on a model that gives my wife a nice kitchen area, large living room, bath with a full size shower, and king size bed. We had other units before so we had an idea of what we wanted. All units will have some things you can work with.

Anonymous said...

A good idea is have her take several of her favorite pots and pans to the RV and try them in the cabinets. We were very surprised to find that some of the doors were not wide enough for many kitchen items.

Anonymous said...

After experiences with 3 different trailers, I've found that a rear kitchen model seems to work for me as an enthusiastic cook. We now have an Aerolite 29rkss. It is long, but very light (we're getting an average 15mpg pulling it with a Ford 250 TurboDiesel, hubby says it doesn't even feel like we're towing anything!). It has a large slide in the living room that really feels spacious, domed roof, and a king sized bed! It has excellent counter space and kitchen storage, but I still do need to sort out what's essential and what's not. The truck is a long bed, but we have a locking cover for the bed and that acts as additional storage. At end of the day, it's really still a trailer and not a house :-). For longer trips, this couple may wish for something more heavy duty and more storage friendly, like a 5th wheel, but that rear kitchen is wonderful. Yes, the KitchenAid mixer will probably have to stay home.