How We Stay Organized in Our Pop Up Camper

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Pop Up Camping can be a lot fun and a great way to create memories with your family. Pop up camping is one of my favorite things to do with my family, as it allots a way to travel, with our family of six, for significantly cheaper than even renting from VRBO or a hotel. Our family invested in a 1996 Coleman Pop Up Camper for $500 from Facebook Marketplace, two years ago, this month! You can see how we renovated our pop up here.

Here is a before of our Pop Up Camper on the day we brought her home!

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Staying Organized

Staying organized in your PUC is key to functionality in a small space being able to enjoy yourself while on vacation! We have several trips under our belt now and sometimes it’s trial and error to see what works best for your family. 

Below is  picture of our four daughters in St. Augustine! Stunning beach! 

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Organizing Our Clothing

When we went on our first few trips in our pop up, we had six people traveling in our camper. (We have since had one daughter get married, so we now have five.) When we first began began traveling, we used two seperate sections of our bench seating for clothing storage for myself, husband and two oldest daughters. It works, as we travel only in the warmer months, not taking a lot of bulking clothing or shoes. 

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T-shirt’s, shorts, swimsuits and flip flops! Now that we are minus one, we use that one storage compartment to store  a convection oven. Folding compactly does matter in the amount of space you have in the area you are storing clothes and that you keep that space neat, while on vacation.

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For our youngest two girls, we use the cabinet by the entry, as their clothing storage. We can even slide their add their flip flops, sandals and a pair of tennis shoes in their cabinet on the bottom far left! We have  good week’s worth of clothing on each child’s shelf! Now, who would have ever thought that we could cram so much clothing in our pop up camper?! Pretty awesome!

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How We Organize Our Food 

We keep the bulk of our food, along with paper items like plates, in our middle bench seating. I use metal and woven farmhouse baskets to help keep things confined to their spaces. I try to keep like items together like paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups.

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I have a couple seperate baskets for things like cans, noodles, sauces, juice,  rice, extra condiments and coffee. The other basket has dried goods like sugars, flours teas and mostly baking items. 

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In our “kitchen” cabinets, the first set of cabinets, we keep more food items. I have a plastic  storage basket from Target and a metal farmhouse basket in the cabinet on the left. Those baskets hold spices, oils and measuring cups. 

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On the right hand side of the cabinets, I keep more oils, Thieves cleaner, rubbing alcohol (for cleaning), peroxide (for getting out stains on clothing), plastic storage bags, foil, dog treats and scrubber pads for washing dishes. 

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After we had camped a few times, we realized pretty quickly that we would need some type of overhead storage for more regularly used food items and that they would be easy to access like cereal bars, bread, coffee, apple sauce pouches and vitamins.

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I bought a small coffee pot for our camper, beside it I store salt, pepper and sugar for coffee. Again, these are items that we use on a regular basis.

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Target had the best plastic storage bins and all for under $3.00. I use them in our home and all througout our pop up camper!

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I placed two more metal farmhouse baskets on the bottom shelf. The first one holds forks, spoons, bowls, cups and plates. It also holds our yeti’s that we drink coffee from each morning. The second metal basket holds fruits and veggies. 

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Organizing Our Small Appliances

Bench seating storage is amazing! We literally have almost any appliance you can think of on this side of our bench seating storage! To the far left, I keep three, 6 quart rubbermaid containters. In these containers, I keep first aide, vitamins and allergy meds. I made the labels with my Silhouette.  I also have my waffl maker, blender and apple sauce pouches. 

In the middle of the bench storage, I keep my Ninja Foodie, accessories, my recipe box and a couple mason jars.

The far right storage area has my Ninja Foodie with a couple mason jars and a tupperware container. See how much it holds?!

How We Organize Pots, Pans and Cooking Utensils

In our “kitchen” cabinets, on the bottom of the cabinets, I keep a pots and pans set, along with a mixing bowl, cheese grater and a few cooking utensils.  Nothing fancy here!

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We even have a convection oven in one of our bench seat storage area’s and it has been so nice because it’s like a mini oven. We bake cookies, homemade breads, toast things, warm things like left overs, ect. 

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A Space to Organize Bath Towels, Washcloths and Kitchen Towels Along with Bath Products

When we bought our PUC, it was in very poor condition. In fact, it was almost complete gut job.

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Since it was missing one of the cabinets on the right hand side of our entryway, we decided not to rebuild and grab a metal, collapsible dog kennel, since we knew our family pet(s) would be traveling with us. On top of the dog kennel, we added a piece of plywood and set a three drawer rubbermaid storage on top of it. In the top storage drawer, we keep bath towels, wash cloths, kitchen flour sack towels and Norwex cloths in the top drawer. We also have a collapsible laundry basket for dirty clothes and towels. 

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The middle drawer houses bath towels! In the top two drawers, we store twelve bathtowels and two dozen washcloths plus a dozen flour sack kitchen towels and several Norwex cloths.

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The bottom drawer contains bath products. I even used some of the Target plastic containers to help organize the drawer space to help it be as effecient as it can be with space! 

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We also keep a metal farmhouse basket on top of the three drawer basket. In this basket, I keep more bath products. I also have a woven basket that I keep tissue rolls in. I like to keep a couple plants, well more than a couple, in the camper, as it helps purify the air and give a more homey feel in our camper.

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To the left of the three drawer storage, I keep a medium sized woven basket on the bed that holds our hair dryer, flat iron, curling iron and a few hair scruncie’s. I even have a mini heater stored in the woven basket! Sometimes other things can get thrown into here! 

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When we were renovating our camper, I wanted to paint chalk paint on half of the inside of the door, so I could use it as a menu board. It is another way to help me stay organized with food and groceries, when we are traveling. I usually use a chalk pen but you can also use a regular piece of chalk too!

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And that is about it folks! Staying organized is key in such a small space.  I don’t think we would be able to function in here without organization! If yall have any questions, please reach out! 

Love~Shae

Below is a picture of my husband and I on St. George Island! One of our most fav places on earth!!

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HOW TO CREATE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are needed in every relationship. A boundary is a imaginary line that seperates me from you. Boundaries seperate your physical space, needs, feelings and responsibilities from others. Your boundaries tell people how they can treat you. Boundaries say what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. If you do not set boundaries with people, they may take advantage of you because you have not set limits about how you expect to be treated. 

A boundary illustration 

Think of a boundary like a property line. In the last home we owned, right after we moved in, I had noticed the neighbor cutting our grass on our property line. Like 15 foot over the property line. I thought it was odd, but did not say anything the first couple of times it happened. After the third time, we asked him to stop. He said he had always cut our grass on that side. We kindly let him know that we would be cutting our own grass. The previous homeowner never cut the grass, so the neighbor always cut that side. I would like to think that, with us being the new homeowners, he would give us the opportunity to see if we wanted to cut our own grass. He did not, so we needed to establish a boundary with him.  Point being is that if you do not speak up and say that a boundary is being crossed, it gives the impression that your ok with it. 

When a boundary is crossed, you need to give feedback saying if it is ok or not. The boundary is worthless if you don’t enforce it by giving feedback and consequences. Now, some people will accept the boundary and some will continue to challenge it and even escalate it. The specific consequences depend on the relationship and the history of the relationship, as well. 

Do you know how to create healthy boundaries?

Does creating boundaries make you feel guilty? Have you wanted to create boundaries in relationships but just do not know how or are you afraid of feeling guilty for creating boundaries?

Toxic relationships are really common. Heavy cultural conditioning makes it painful to speak about those types of relationships. A lot of times, the person sharing their experience is often being judged or viewed as crazy or wrong because its a family member or parent. People may think you are overly imagining things or that it couldn’t possibly be that bad. You may even feel pressure to maintain the relationship on the other person’s terms and afriad to set boundaries. The truth is that the pressured feeling, from not wanting to create a boundary, comes from a desire to receive the love you wanted, but never received. Without boundaries, people will walk all over you.

Why do we need boundaries?

Boundaries create a entity that allows you to make your own decisions and have your own feelings. It also allows you to know and ask for what you want without the need to please other people.

Boundaries are a form of self care and healthy boundaries mean that you value your own feelings/needs. Boundaries also mean that you are not responsible for how others feel or behave. Boundaries can also allow you to let go of worrying and create a sense of peace with placing accountability with that particular person. Boundaries mean that saying no to things that are not your priority. 

Boundaries will create a realistic expectation to your friends, your spouse, boss or family member to know what is expected. Clearly communicating boundaries will let people know how they are expected to behave. When expectations are not communicated and met, resentment and anger flourish. 

Boundaries create a safety by providing  physical and emotional safety by keeping what feels hurtful or uncomfortable. 

What prevents us from setting boundaries?

Fear keeps us from setting boundaries. What are you scared of? Are you afraid of dissapointing someone by creating a boundary? What will happen if you do not set a boundary? ASK yourself those questions to see why your stuck. If you grew up in a family without boundaries, you probably did not have anyone to teach you about boundaries or anyone to model healthy boundaries. Setting boundaries is definitely a skill that is learned. Some people do not want to create boundries because they do not want to dissapoint others or they will just avoid conflict at all costs. 

Bottom line of boundaries

The truth is that setting boundaries can disrupt relationships.. You will probably even get some resistance but sometimes it is not as bad as you have imagined. Boundary setting takes time and becomes easier with practice. It will also take time for others to adjust to your boundaries. 

Love~Shae

GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

HOW TO DEAL WITH GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

The sadness of grief around the holidays seem to begin surfacing right around Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations, family holiday traditions and festive Christmas music that are meant to bring joy, serve as painful reminders of loss. For most people experiencing loss, the holiday season, seemingly can be the most painful time of all.

OUR FAMILY

For our family, we have had so many changes recently, from selling our home, to moving hundreds of miles away, new jobs, clearing our property for building our pole barn and home and a sudden loss. These are major life changes!

I actually thought that by us building our pole barn and home, that it would be a great distraction from the holidays. I thought that by running a 5k with our family on Thanksgiving Day, would also be a great distraction. I thought that by not being in our home during Christmas time and not pulling out all the family memories of ornaments, made by the kids when they were little or stockings with their names on them, would all be great distractions of not having our loved one here. I was wrong. Retreating into our own little family shell, is probably just a subconscious coping mechanism to help numb the grief; but then the grief comes in waves, where it will hit you out of no where, right in the middle of a store, while Christmas shopping. You then take yourself to the restroom, cry for a minute and dry your tears. That is what is so hard about grief-that life just has a way of moving, always constantly moving and never stopping to allow yourself to catch your breath or grab some sense of normalcy. You actually have a new normal.

Our whole family broke down last night and had one big pity party, crying, hugs and all. My oldest daughter told me that she sometimes cried on her way home from work.  She said she cried because she thought that her sister would be riding to and from work with her and that may be they would even be working together. You see, on the eve of a milestone birthday for myself, one that I was really looking forward to, we all cried for a daughter and a sister that was not present, yet greatly missed.

Isn’t it so tempting to pretend that the holidays aren’t here, while entrenched by your grief? I mean, I know we can’t because the holidays are all around us. Every store we walk in, every drive we take, down on every street, lined with Christmas lights and decor. At times, I wish I could be a fictional character, such as the Grinch. At least in the Grinch, the story has a happy ending.

I have always loved Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Heck, I’d be decking the halls on October first and listening to Christmas music. I always looked forward to the Christmas traditions that my husband and I created over the years for our family.  From all of us decorating our family Christmas tree to the youngest daughter placing the angel on our tree to our homemade hot cocoa, to riding around looking at Christmas lights to the Alabama Theater for a Christmas movie or picking out gifts for a child in need to Briarwood’s Live Nativity to reading The Christmas Story on Christmas Eve or baking and decorating Christmas cookies for Santa or our girls dancing in the Nutcracker Ballet to driving around looking at Christmas lights or making homemade ornaments. All of our traditions are my favorite. (There are many more!)

STRATEGIES FOR COPING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

GRIEF IS PART OF HEALING

Understand that grief is part of healing. Time does not heal the pain associated with a loss; it is actually what you do during that time that matters-to understand that grief is apart of the process of healing. Try to give yourself time to experience the pain, rather than constantly trying to escape it, by allowing yourself time to experience grief. This can actualy help you feel better in the long term.

Eventually the holidays will get easier, but only if you allow yourself to experience the grief of going through them without your loved ones. The “first” holidays without your loved ones will be the hardest.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

There are so many things that we can’t control about the holidays like I described above. Like walking into every single store with Christmas decor and Christmas music or even hearing of other people talking about holiday plans. We definitely can not prevent those things from happening but think about you can do to lessen your heartache. It is ok to not decorate for the holidays. Instead of shopping in stores, try shopping online instead. What about sponsoring a family in need this Christmas? Giving to others instead of ourselves. We have always let our children pick out items for a child around their age, that was in need, at Christmas time. I think it is good for children to understand that not everyone is like them. Teaching them to give to others is important. Also, remembering that it is ok for others to celebrate the holidays and be happy.

SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDRIES

Remembering that you don’t have to force yourself to go to every holiday event or do every holiday tradition. If attending a family gathering is going to bring on to many painful memories this year, just be willing to say no. You and your family’s well being is more important that pleasing other people.

FOCUSING ON PLANNING AHEAD

Think about this: a lot of times, the anticipation over how hard something is going to be is actually worse that the event or events itself. For example, Thanksgiving dinner will only last a couple hours, but you could easily spend weeks dreading it. By creating a simple plan of how you and your family can get through the holidays will avoid extending the anguish.

One other thing to plan is an escape plan. Have a secret word that only you and your immediate family knows. When someone says your secret word, it means they are ready to leave the holiday gathering. Just knowing that you or a member of your immediately family can leave at any time can help you enjoy the holiday gathering much more than if you felt stuck.

ALLOWING YOURSELF TO FEEL ALL THE FEELS

The holidays can bring on many emotions on a wide range! You can feel joy, sadness, guilt and they can all be within a few moments of each other. By allowing yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging yourself, will help to cope during this holiday season.

FINDING WAYS TO HONOR YOUR MEMORIES

Be creative by finding a special way to remember the person you have lost. That could be lighting the person’s favorite scented candle on Christmas Day or making a Christmas ornament each year. This is something that can be tangible and serve as a beautiful reminder that the love for this person never dies.

CREATING NEW TRADITIONS

Get creative! Start new family traditions this year. Do something out of the ordinary! For us, our first new tradition was running a 5k on Thanksgiving Day! We actually had a blast and are already planning to do another one this year!

GIVE TO OTHERS

In the middle of your grief, during the holidays, do something kind for another person. Serve meals for Christmas Day to the homeless, donate or give to a family in need this holiday season or volunteer at a local retirement community.

ASKING FOR HELP

Don’t be afraid to talk with a trusted family member or friend when your struggling with the holidays. Reminding loved ones that your having a tough time may be enough, but you may need to reach out for more support via local support groups or even contacting a professional counselor to help you deal with your grief in a healthy manner.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If your finding yourself here because you are dealing with grief this holiday season, know that I understand the pain you are going through. I know it does not make it any better but knowing that someone understands what you are going through is helful during your grief. If I can pray for you or help you in any way, please feel free to reach out!

Love~Shae