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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Monday, June 29, 2009

re-inventing the rondyvan

i have been really busy the last few weeks getting ready for the sale at the farm, meant to get rid of stuff before my next trip out. my goal is to leave my half of the farmhouse (which belongs to my brother) with the most basic of furnishings....a bed, a table, a trunk for my clothes, and enough dishes and stuff for when i visit, or when the boys want to come to the farm. think "summer cottage". sparse, simple, and peaceful.

this has been in the planning stages for awhile. what really set me off was reading one of jack's posts (of Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity) with a photo of all he had left in the world. i wanted something like that, or at least close. as a vandweller, you strive for it by virtue of the limited space you have to live in. but after 2 cross country trips in the last year, i was woefuly shy of reaching my goal....at the farm, or in the van. (if you click on the title above, it will take you to jack's blog, and you can see for yourself what he was left with when his process was done).

on saturday, the sale was completed. i sold alot at the sale, gave a ton of stuff to goodwill, and helped fill a giant dumpster my brothers had rented..... yet i am still nowhere near where i want to be. because i look at the van, and it seems overwhelmingly full of stuff. i can't stand it one more minute, because the van is my real home, and i have not been feeling very peaceful in it lately.....just crowded and out of sorts. i need to pull my shelf/ bunk unit out to shorten the legs of the bed, and decide at 5 o'clock on saturday, sunburnt and exhausted, to do just that. and broke it.

now, it can be fixed, but not by me, and not by nightfall. mamma ain't happy if the van ain't right. so i think back to vandweller Vickie's serene and simple modular set-up in her van. then i go back to vandwellers and look at Pan's recent pics of a modular set-up in an astro using crates and air mattresses.

i got a decent redo of the interior in a couple of hours at the cost of less than $20. i spent $11 on a sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard at lowe's (thank-you david hair for the on-site coaching...it was perfect!) i also spent about $8 for 2 more sterilite white crates at the dollar store. it turns out that the sterilite storage drawers i had in the van, the crates, and my 3 gallon porta-potty are all exactly the same height, making the perfect platform for the bed.

this is a photo of the saw that michael gave me in california. we were gonna use it to lower the bed in the van, but we were too busy kayaking and eating hoagies at Johnny D's that we never got it done. so after much trial and error, i figured out how to (very carefully!) run it, and was able to cut the hardboard to size all by myself :-) i love tools!



at left you see the initial arrangement of crates and drawers ready for the hardwood platform.











and this is the platform in place.







the platform is very light, so i can raise it easily to access the crates in the back.








here is the twin mattress that sweet mike's mom bought me in brawley earlier this year when sweet mike was in the hospital, and we had an encampment in the hospital parking lot, right by the helicopter landing pad. i had been pretty much sleeping on plywood. his dad bought me a 12V inflator, too :-) thanks, both of you!!







rear view.









here it is after some rearranging. i am lost without the shelving unit that Bob Wells built me at the slabs, though. when they are repaired they will go right where the canoe chair is now.










but after 2 nights sleeping in a twin bed and having enough room for mutt and i both to move around with out killing each other, i think i will replace the shelving unit , but keep the bed the way it is. it is absolutely luxurious after sleeping on a bunk 26" wide. and i still have plenty of room to move around.
another advantage is that i will buy another sheet of hardboard and cut it to the same size as the first. my yoga mat will layer between them to keep them from sliding. when i need to, i can rearrange the drawers/ bedside table to one level, slide the second piece of hardboard over them, and inflate my full size mattress to fit there. all this versatility and comfort just blows my mind!









but back to simplicity and downsizing and meeting my goals, which, i should add, are rather vague still. when i had every single thing out of the van, i started putting back things with a newly critical eye.....what could i do without? what hadn't i used on the last 2 cross-country trips? what was merely for "just in case"? a great deal of stuff is in the corner of the kitchen now. some really critical things are not yet returned to the van....like my cooler, my water jug, and my guitar. over the next couple days, weather permitting, i'm going to pull all the gear out, photograph it, and prioritize it. see if i can get it all in without compromising the uncluttered serenity. and maybe you all will have suggestions or ideas for me.....

20 comments:

Silver Wren said...

Great post as always Kate. Were I you, I'd go back and look at the pics you posted on VanDwellers' of your old set-ups (like the summer one) and of Bob's set-up. Work out what you want to keep from them that made it feel like "home" but still worked. I particularly like the "summer" look with all the color.

Visionquest said...

It may not be as colorful and homey as in the past, but I believe you are on the right track in terms of simplicity and functionality Sweet Katie. The most important thing is that you are safe and comfortable in your home and can take good care of yourself. I do see a glaring and quite serious deficiency in your new setup though that should be addressed as quickly as possible... Where is the required sock monkey? Bocephus and Tiberius need a friend to play with and get into more trouble with when you are back here and somehow I don't think Mutt is interested :)

Love you Katie!
-Mike

kate said...

silver wren! that is sadie, so this must be you! or sadie learned to type! yeah, i have some time to play around and see what works.

sweet mike! yeah, like silver wren said, the soothing cool colors are nice.....i will add some color and texture with my fiber and a BIG FAT SOCK PIG!!!!!! i love you too!

Gypsy Trails said...

Oh I love this layout Kate...and I like the concept of simple living.that is what I am working towards also, making good progress!

kate said...

kylie, i really am excited for you....you've waited quite some time for this! i'm rooting your progress!

Carolyn said...

Kate, this was great! gave me all kinds of ideas. What do you use for your front and back windows? reflectix also? I use black sheets and safety pins! works great for the sides. Can you take the reflectix stuff down and with what, masking tape? is it kinda self stick? I see black tape on your side windows?

kate said...

carolyn-
i use reflectix in all my windows, but take it out and fold it up most of the time, except for the two rear windows furthest back. i don't use anything to hold them in place....i cut them a little larger than the windows, and tuck the edges under the plastic edges with a spork spatula. the black tape on that one piece is just patches on tears.

i intend to redo them soon. i'm going to put black fabric on the outside, and contact paper on the inside, maybe in a woodgrain. i have an old tablecloth to make new curtains eventually. i'll add more pics when i do!

Carolyn said...

Fabric on the outside of the reflectix? then contact paper?... I'm dense... lol. I'd love to get a bit of the reflectix and work with it but it seems I have to buy a whole roll! and I wasn't sure if that's how I wanted to cover the windows. If it stays in place and can be easily taken down, I'd love that. I have a Honda Odyssey and there are no plastic rims to poke the edges in though. I don't think. I need to go recheck. Thanks so much for answering me. I've been traveling quite a bit but have never gotten it 'together' so THIS TIME! ha! I'm going to try to make my van .... serene and comfy... instead of just where I spend the night.

kate said...

yeah, use spray glue to put black fabric on the outside of the sheet of reflectix, and contact paper on the inside of the reflectix. it'll look nicer from the inside, and black out the windows completely on the outside.

i saw a hardware store near the slabs that sold reflectix by the foot off of a roll. i'm sure other places must, also. call around wherever you are and see! i used prety much my whole roll cause i used it to make cooler covers and other stuff....

Lynda said...

Thank You for posting Jack's web-site. Amazing, and I've got a lot of catching up to do.

Can't wait to see all that you do with your van.

Greatly enjoy your blog.

Nick Anderson said...

I've been a Yahoo Van Dwellers member for awhile now (usually lurking in the shadows!) and just stumbled across your blog.

It's really inspiring to see what you can achieve with such little space, I look around here and all I see is useless junk!

kate said...

lynda- i really like jack's blog. glad you do too. tell him i sent you :-)

i need to update my blogroll and links more often.....

nick! glad to have you visit!i'll be following your blog...cute pup you have there!

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

Kate-- I replied back to you on my blog :) I just wanted to stop in and say your blog is great as well!

On the van-- it looks extremely organized! I think you did a fantastic job... If it weren't for our flock of children, I could see John and I years down the road doing the same thing :) (actually we've discussed it but we want to wait until our children are older... but it's a future "maybe" for us!)

CaravanLife said...

I think the rondyvan looks good. I hope my caravan will look half as good as your van!

Thanks for posting!

A Gypsy's Child said...

Kate, I know you posted this forever ago but how did you keep the shelves under your bed from moving as you drove? I want a simple setup like you're showing and I'm not sure how to secure the shelving under the bed. Thanks for your help.

hoboknitter said...

Gypsy's child- i don't have anything secured, it all just stays in place. there's enough weight in the drawers that they don't slide out when i'm cornering. i corner slow, though :-)

i have since added a deep cycle house battery under there. i have that securely lashed to the seat anchors in the floor with heavy duty webbing!

Good Luck Duck said...

So your mattress is right on the storage shelves. I hadn't considered that, thinking I would need a built structure.

I don't like to confess this openly, but it might be good for my innards. I have two boxes of books that travel with me. I tried to leave them behind, and they just got right back in next to the water jugs. I guess, for now, they are essential.

Gypsy Jane said...

I just sewed fabric on one side of Reflectix to match curtains, left the other side silver. doesn't it need to be silver to reflect? wouldn't black fabric absorb heat instead?

twokniveskatie said...

I have a hearty supply of books on my little bookshelf! They crawled right up there and like you, am not about to trifle with them...

twokniveskatie said...

I have been told both sides of this argument and was baffled by the little bit of research i did myself.a solar guru told me that with my darkened windows it didn't matter. Well, this summer I felt the insides of the reflection and there felt to be a significant temperature difference between those covered on the outside and those not, so I am redoing it all this summer and leaving it silver outside. I dont care about stealth anyhow. You say you sewed yours? How did that work?