I spent the last several days making the hard decisions of what to get rid of and what to keep. Once I leave this position, the Mini Van is my Home Sweet Home. Sure I’ll get breaks , as when you visit friends and family , they like to have you visit in their sticks n bricks homes. 

Now since my visit to Pa. will be extended, I may take a short term housekeeper position. We’ll see what cards life deals me. Now onto the packing of the van. I can’t really show you pics of where everything is, as it just won’t show up well, with my camera. Suffice to say….it looks exactly the same, except drawers are full now, and every nook and cranny is filled up. Refer to pics in the last post, as to a visual of how it looks.

The hardest things for me were to get rid of tools and craft items. I’m sure you know how some of those things just sit in your tool,boxes, and rarely get used…… I crochet and do wire wrapping. I also had a whole tub of paints and stencils, which I honestly rarely use. I also am an avid gardener, and am going to try to find a place to bring my fav. garden tools along, as I will be putting in a large garden for the family. I will be leaving the garden tools, dehydrator, electric fan , elec heater, and some bulky bedding, stored with family, for future trips. So being a little overloaded on this trip is acceptable. I hope to have a snowbird lifestyle. Visit family up north in summers, and travel rest of the time. I am also looking into getting on a waiting list for a senior apartment in Fl, for my permanent residence. 

How I fit it all: 

Tools/Crafts: I condensed all hand tools and crafting items to One big drawer and half of one skinny set of drawers for the over flow. Tools are in one plastic shoe box and crafts in another, set inside a bottom large drawer. Over flow was a glue gun , staple gun, and cordless drill in a case. Due to the contour of the lift up back door, I had 4″ of space to stick a couple items. The cordless drill, and satchel with my MC jacket, and a small foldup camp table, went there. 

I mounted large drawer units to one side, and created a space to store tall bulky items like the heater, a magnifier lamp/mirror, elec fan, and hopefully the heads of a couple garden tools will fit there.

The remaining large drawers are reserved for my clothes, both summer and winter. Amazingly….they are fitting. I even had room for a 3/4 leather jacket, a shorty, and a zip up sweatshirt in one drawer. Tanks and gym clothes/swimwear are in one drawer. 3 pair jeans and 3 sweaters in another. I have 2 drawers left for tops and capris, which are my primary clothes right now. 

The remaining skinny drawer unit, facing the front of the van, most accessible to the side door, is for food storage. My nested pans and gadgets are in small top drawers, in the opposite skinny unit. 

Under bed drawers;

Two are reserved for shoes and purses. I used to collect these things, so this is as small as it goes …so far anyways. Other two have all my important papers, pens, stapler, etc.

Behind Under bed drawers:

I made my porta potty out of a lidden chamber pot, that came with a chair..For added strength, I cut down a sturdy 2 1/2 gal bucket to the right height to house it….a perfect fit, and with snap on  lid and cover, it all fits under the 9′ clearance of the bed. I am quite proud of myself on this , and happy it doesn’t have to sit out in plain view , except when I need to use it. 

Next down the line, is my one burner butane stove and a grill plate i got at thrift store to use to toast bread and grill things. Mostly I’ll just be heating water up for coffee, or making one pot dishes, in my nested pans. 

The large blender/smoothie maker, I am taking for when I have 110 use, sits in the middle, between the drawers. I wrapped the glass part in a towel.

Behind the second set of drawers is reserved for the dehydrator and smaller garden tools like loppers. Eventually i will buy a fold up shovel, fold up pruning saw, and fold up rake, for my travl’in tools. I have it in my head to tend the earth , plant seeds, help folks with their gardens, where ever I travel. 

The kitty liter jug sits in a space in the door well, behind the bed frame. Easy to get to, yet hidden by pillows. Once I store a few things, it will fit nicely, under the bed frame.

My 12v cooler sits handy at the side door entrance, and doubles as my desk. I have a large ugly , but oh so handy 5 gal. yellow and red water cooler with spigot, which will sit beside the cooler when travling and outside on a table when camped. My 12v cooler doesn’t hold much ice, so most of the ice from a bag, will go in the water cooler. I’ll carry along an extra re purposed kitty liter jug to hold extra water…just in case. 

Front seat area will hold my laptop bag, gym bag, and craft bag. I just keep them there in the passenger foot well, so it doesn’t mess up my living quarters. I cover them with a towel or throw. 

My portable battery pack will sit between the drawers in the back , tucked out of sight, for now. It fuels my 12v fan and small 240wt blender. I currently use laptop at public places like mc d’s.

I’ll update with pics, as I have more time , and get the final things packed.

To become an expert at simple,, gracious living, is my goal. I know I can’t do that completely, as my very home uses gas and I am still using some electrical appliances….but my carbon foot print  is getting lower by leaps and bounds. 




  1. Brenda said:

    Sis.. Sounds like you have been major busy this past week. I’m very excited for you, as I know you are so looking forward to some travel adventures and also some very needed time spent with your kids and grandkids 🙂 It sounds like you have done a great job prioritizing your downsizing.. My hopes for you are safety..health and happiness… I love you.. Hugs! Love..Brenda 🙂

  2. jenniferjohns said:

    Sounds like you are really getting it together now. So sorry I missed you when I was so close. If you are going to PA it sounds like you might be traveling the same way I am so we will meet up I’m sure. I am in St. Augustine now and heading north slowly.

    I have discovered that having a large plastic drawer on the front seat works great for food. I just turn around in my seat and open the drawer toward me and have the top for counter space. That way I can just fix a quick breakfast or lunch right there without having to go into the back. Sounds like you might have room to do the same.

    Please stay in touch…Jen

    • Hi Jen,
      Actually, it’s looking like my carry on, weekender bag may be used like your drawer. I have already run out of room otherwise to store dry goods.

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