When you live in a small space, multipurpose items are a huge help. When we needed a side table in our RV, but still needed a place for the dog bed, we decided to pull the dog crate out of storage and put it to work doing double duty.
It isn’t as difficult a project as you might think.
First, make sure the crate is sturdy enough for what you will put on top of it–the wood table top and any other decor or functional items.
Second, measure your crate top. We wanted to round our edges and corners, so we added a quarter inch.
Third, find a piece of wood for it. Many DIY stores carry pre-made table tops, but check the prices in case a piece of pine is a bit cheaper. We opted for pine since it was a better price and they were out of table tops anyway.
Fourth, choose a paint or stain color and a polyurethane coating you like and be sure to get the correct supplies for these as well.
Fifth, cut, sand, paint/stain and coat it to your preferences.
Finally, attach it to the crate. We attached ours with wire shelf hooks so we could simply slide it off and fold the crate up, if we needed to store it. If you want a more permanent option, there are fasteners and hooks to fix it in place so it won’t move.
Be sure to let it air out so you don’t bring fumes into your home for you or your pet to breathe.
This simple project made great use of our limited space and has been a nice addition. Since our pup was used to having her crate while we were in the house, she has enjoyed having her “room” back while in the RV, and it is a perfect fit for her dog bed, and her heating pad during the winter.
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When I first ventured into the RV life, I watched a lot of videos and read a lot of blogs from social media. There are some beautifully customized RVs that people have shared that are inspiring. But should you customize yours? Here are some things to ask yourself before you do.
AGE OF RV If you are purchasing an older RV (10+ years) chances are it needs a refresh. Many RVs at this age range will sell for very little since many parks don’t allow them in, so the crowd of people in the market for it will be smaller. However, if it is a newer RV (5 or less years) it may still be a desired model or floorplan. If you are looking for one to completely customize and a skoolie isn’t an option, definitely find one that is older or in need of repairs already.
HOW LONG YOU’VE HAD IT Taking time to live in a space to see how it works can be very helpful, but if you set out to customize it before you’ve lived in it, beware. This is especially true with a model that is less than 3 years old.
HOW LONG YOU’LL KEEP IT If you know you will keep this RV for 5 or more years because that his how long you have always kept your RVs, you should be safe to customize. But if this is your first RV, or you’ve changed rigs often, don’t get in a rush. Sometimes a particular RV fits our life for a season of life, then it is time to change to something else. Keeping it in the original fittings is a good idea to get the most on your resale or trade.
FLOORPLANS AND FEATURES Many people shop by models for a particular floorplan or features and finding modifications done to them can be frustrating, or worse when trying to find a needle in a haystack if it is a hard to find option. What is desirable to you and your family’s lifestyle and taste may not suit someone else, so be aware before you change too much.
RV DEPRECIATION RVs are vehicles, and vehicles depreciate quickly, but RVs seem to do so even more, especially in the overinflated market we’ve been in during the pandemic. What you don’t realize is that customizations can result in a greater depreciation because it can be harder to sell with changed features. When we made changes to ours for our lifestyle, we didn’t make them permanent so we could put those items we removed or changed back with little effort and expense if we ever sell or trade it.
UPKEEP Sometimes making changes can result in more work for you. Many people paint their RVs but don’t talk about all the touch ups needed. And since it may not be an RV specific part you may find it challenging to repair. Doing things “on a budget” may look great, but will they hold up to daily life or moving your rig? Everytime you drive your RV, it is like going through an earthquake–make sure you are using RV durable products to avoid further damage.
Don’t think I am trying to talk you out of making your home on wheels perfect for your family–I am not! A personalized space will make it so much more enjoyable for your family and the experiences you seek with the RV lifestyle. Just take your time in thinking and deciding. Happy Camping!
Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Tiktok @sonya.BOMSquadleaderor our adventures at BarnesOnMove.com, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove
Like most moms, I seldom prioritize my own needs over those
of my family’s until I reach a breaking point.
Due to unplanned circumstances, our family ended up moving into a home
that was twice the size of what we were living in and my mom moved in with us. It worked out well in that we had a game room
for our boys to have their computer/video games and toys, a living and family
room, and another bonus office. But when
my husband started a new job working from home, our “shared” office space
became a challenge since he makes a lot of phone calls and I write and make
videos. I tried using various places
around the house, but there was always some kind of distraction, or sound and
light issues. I loved filming outside,
but between crazy Florida weather or the noises of a busy suburban
neighborhood, sometimes it would take an hour to get a decent 15-20-minute
video. My frustration levels were at an all-time
I was talking with—okay venting to—my adult son about the
situation and my frustration. He pointed
out that we had a large hallway walk in closet that was just a drop spot for
stuff that could go other places and that it was a nice size for a small
office/studio area. I saw the potential in his vision and set to work in
relocating and planning the space.
The first task was to clear the closet out and find a home
for everything. The winter coats and
suitcases were able to fit in our separate closets, the pantry items and card
tables were able to find a home in the laundry room, and the donation drop box
items went to the donation center and we just found a smaller box and another
spot to put stuff we clear out.
Once that was done, I took measurements and started scanning
the web and Pinterest to get a vision for what I wanted. A home office/recording studio wasn’t something
I found readily available, but by pulling ideas from larger scale set ups of
each, as well as elements and color schemes that appealed to me, I was able to
create an idea of what I wanted. I made
a list of items I would need: a desk, a rug to go over the hard surface floor,
storage, sound paneling, lighting, office materials and decorations. The next step was creating a budget and
finding items that would fit that budget.
I did a lot of online comparison shopping and store wandering before
finding what I was looking for on Amazon and at Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Target and
having a realistic idea of costs. I also
scavenged the house and my own stash of supplies and décor in my classroom for
the little touches that could save me money.
I settled on a budget of $1000, hoping desperately for it to be less
since this was all that was in my rainy-day fund. Here’s a breakdown of what I purchased and
spent. I am happy to report I was WAY
under budge and able to keep money in my rainy-day fund for another day!
Storage 6 cube organizers Wal-Mart $28.24 each x 2 ($56.48)
Storage boxes Target $4.99 each x 6 ($29.94)
Cork boards Target $11.39 each x 2 ($22.78)
Acoustic panels Amazon 3 12 packs $16.90 ($50.70)
Letters Amazon 4” & 2” $21.98
Borders Amazon $21.13
Backing (gift wrap) Hobby Lobby $4.99
Desk lamp Target $14.99
Floor lamp already owned
Dog bed Pet Supermarket $13.99
Stapler/Tape dispenser $7.59 & 4.99 ($12.58)
Camcorder/cell phone camera—gift/already owned
Odds and ends (glue, rollers, etc. $40-50 ish)
Light ring with phone mount $39.99
TOTAL costs: $531.21
My first step was to paint the room a fantastic grey color I
found after going cross-eyed with colors and samples and I settled on one I
found at Lowe’s called HGTV Home/Sherwin Williams Web Gray SW7075 (flat). My husband, the photographer, applauded my choice
for being an 18% grey that works well on film.
Hurray for luck being on my side.
The next step was ordering furniture and getting it assembled and in place. I moved things around several times while trying to find a cohesive workspace that would record well. Then, I shopped for lighting and sound paneling and worked at getting that installed. That was a bit of a challenge as I didn’t want to ruin the walls by gluing them directly on. I ended up hot gluing them onto the cardboard packaging it shipped in and affixing that to the wall with picture hooks, hot glue, or anchors (on the ceiling panels). The sound absorption has proven to be a challenge as I didn’t want a completely soundproof cave, nor did I want a ton of dust collecting material since I have a severe dust allergy, so I needed the surfaces to be relatively easy to clean. I found a rug that could be steam cleaned and also strategically placed throw blankets on a shelf and hanging on the door when needed to help dampen the sound a bit. Next, I played with the lighting and, while I found some great light boxes on Amazon, they proved to be too large for the space, so I opted to go with a light ring camera mount along with the lamps and overhead light that was in the space. It isn’t perfect, but it works for what I needed and with my budget. Finally, I scavenged for accessories that would personalize the space.
I added a couple of bulletin boards, one of which became my dream board with pictures to inspire me and remind me of what I am working towards. I also collected up artwork I had created at various painting parties and other mementos that would make me smile. I also added a dog bed into the corner since our pups like to be wherever we are working.
My “mom cave” was a fantastic place for me to work and be
inspired, as well as be left alone when I need to record or concentrate on work
and I don’t have to stop the rest of the family from what they are doing or
wait for the weather to cooperate. I’m
sure I will still create videos in other spaces, but it’s nice to have a go to
place of my own, and one that was under budget!
Life update: as this project has been in the works, life has continued to happen. If your life is like mine, it happens at the speed of light and this summer has been twice that. Shortly after getting the studio office set up, a great opportunity to work from home came up and I jumped on it. Unfortunately, the closet studio was no longer the best space for working 8-10 hours a day, plus it was in a main thoroughfare in the house, so we came up with a new plan.
Since my husband and I both work from home, we decided to commandeer the boys’ game room since it was larger and away from the family area so we can work and they can live at the same time, let our oldest have the old office and the closet studio became the toy room. So, we spent a weekend swapping everything around and getting reset, but it is working out fantastically. We have been able to make the space a shareable office that can double as a studio and, with the addition of a futon, it has actually made a great spot for the boys to come and sit and share their day with me when they get home while I take a break from work. I know it will probably change again, but for now, it is inspiring and comfortable and exactly what we need to be productive.
This is a guest post by a friend and colleague that told me about her experience with creating a planner of her own when she couldn’t find what she was looking for and was kind enough to share her process with me so that I could share with you!Happy reading…and creating!
Let me start by saying that I am terrible when it comes to lesson planning. I have a very hard time keeping up with a planner and a calendar. I tend to forget to look at it and it becomes another paper weight on my desk. However, I always want to improve myself and work on my weaknesses, so I decided that this year I would vow to keep up with a calendar and planner. I started searching for the ideal planner, but in my search discovered that it was either too expensive, or did not meet my needs. I found a majority of teacher planners were geared towards elementary school teachers and I am a high school teacher. This is when I decided to make a list of what I would want/need in a planner. I knew I needed to be realistic with myself as far as what I was most likely to keep up with. My list included a monthly calendar for an overview and important dates, a weekly calendar for the nitty gritty daily details, to-do lists, parent contact lists and meeting notes. I decided to use Microsoft Publisher to create my own planner. I wanted something I could decorate myself, as I find adult coloring very relaxing. With this in mind, I kept the design very simple, with outlined letters I could doodle in and a design I could color myself. I searched for a mandala coloring page in the image search feature and used that as the focal point of my cover page. (I made sure the image I selected did not violate any copyright rules.) made a first page with room for my contact information and my daily schedule.
Next I decided I needed a monthly calendar. I could have
chosen a pre-made calendar, but I decided to do my own so I could control the
amount of space I would have to write in. This is where I made an error that I did
not discover until after I had the printed copy in hand. I did not make enough
room for the last week of the month! So my best friend, Sondra, who requested a
copy of the planner, came up with the BRILLIANT idea that we not work the last
week of the month! We can’t work that week if it does not exist, right? I wanted the calendar to span two pages, to
make plenty of room to write. I purposely left off Saturday and Sunday made
those columns reserved for notes.
I wanted my weekly calendars laid out similarly in a
Since I love to make check off lists, I decided to include a section of to-do
I also wanted a convenient place to log parent contacts. I
included a place for a date, student name, type of communication:
email/phone/text, and reason for contact.
I made the last section of my planner for Meeting Notes.
Once I had the sections and pages that I wanted, I decided
to have it professionally printed and bound. I have had experience with Staples
copy and print services before, so that is where I went to explore. They have a presentation and manuals section,
so I went there and chose “Pro-Presentations and Manuals”. This gave me the
option of having it coil bound and having a clear plastic cover. I also chose a
cardstock back cover, but could have selected a vinyl back cover. I saved my
Publisher document as a PDF file to upload it to the Staples website so I could
set up the print job. I had the option of adding tabs to separate the sections.
It was in setting up the tabs that I realized that I would need to add
additional pages so that my two-page calendar spreads would print
correctly. I decided to search for more
mandala coloring pages and added those in.
I had the option of what type of paper to use to print the
pages. I ended up choosing 32lb cotton paper, so that the pages would be
heavier than copy paper, but not as heavy as card stock. I paid extra for the
nicer paper, (about a $10 difference in total cost) but I think it was
definitely worth the extra money. The total cost of the planner was $33.10.
If you didn’t want to have it professionally printed, you could print it yourself and put it in a 3-ring binder, or Staples can bind it for you for a small fee. I am very pleased with the outcome!
Check out this video to see a flip-through of the completed product.
My name is Allison Alexander and I have been teaching math for 20 years in the Polk County Public School district. I have experience teaching all levels of math from 6th-12th grade. I became National Board certified in Adolescent/Young Adulthood Mathematics in 2006. I was also the math department chairperson for 6 years at Auburndale High School before moving on to a different school. I currently teach 10th-12th grade math at Winter Haven High School.