TIPS FOR CLEANING YOUR RV’S INTERIOR

 

The new camping season will be here before we know it and before it arrives you’ll want to give the interior of your RV a good deep clean! It may sound strange but I love cleaning my RV. Really! One, it takes much less time than cleaning my house even when it’s a pull-out-everything-from-cabinets deep clean. Two, my RV is my escape, my retreat, and that makes it feel like less of a chore and more like a chance to give her the pampering she deserves.

 

Below is how I clean my RV’s interior. I like to start with the ceilings. Then I work from one end to the other and finally finish with the floors. It’s so satisfying to know that my RV is clean and ready to go for the next adventure.

 

I’ve included a lot of small tips to help make the cleaning process more efficient, but I want to stress my favorite tip: While you are cleaning keep an eye out for any items that may need repair or require preventative maintenance and write it down. Cleaning is a perfect time to do this because you are going over every surface. If you do this along with regular exterior inspections your RV is sure to give you many years of enjoyment!

 

Tip: If possible, plan your cleaning on a reasonably warm day so you can open the windows. You don’t want to be breathing the cleaning product fumes and the air circulation will help things dry out quicker and cut down on odors.

 

Alright grab your supplies and get scrubbing!

Supplies

Multi-purpose Cleaner

Glass Cleaner

Floor Cleaner

Boxes of Baking Soda

Magic Sponge (for any tough marks on ceilings or walls)

Gloves

Vacuum with attachments

Rags and/or Paper Towels

Sponges

Step Stool

Garden Hose

Something to take notes on: phone or paper or my handy PDF checklist linked below! 🙂

 

Ceilings

 

Start with the ceilings so you can vacuum or sweep up anything that may drop out of the vents or fans. Use your vacuum attachment to suck up any cobwebs that may have collected on the ceiling and clean out any dust that may have accumulated in the vents/fans. Pull out the screens and vacuum them. If they are really dirty you may want to wash them with water. Don’t forget to vacuum the vents of your air conditioner and check the filter to see if it needs to be replaced or cleaned.

 

Tip: While wiping the ceiling down with a damp cloth, look closely for signs of discoloration or any “bubbling”. Make a note of any spots that may need some preventative maintenance.

 

Bedroom(s)

 

 

 

Start by cleaning the windows. Next scan the walls noting the condition. Wipe the walls paying special attention to the doorways where dirt tends to accumulate. Take out all bedding and give it a good shake. If the RV has been in storage, I like to wash everything to get ready for the new camping season. If I’m in the middle of camping season, I’ll likely just fold it and put it away. Next, vacuum the closets and clean mirrors. Finally, if you aren’t going to be camping for a few months, stick a box of baking soda in the closet.

 

Tip: Don’t forget to vacuum the under-the-bed storage compartment if you have it!

 

Bathroom(s)

 

 

Start with the walls to remove any personal product residue. Next is the toilet and tanks. You can use a garden hose to spray down inside the tank as best as you can. Drop in some holding tank treatment to keep things fresh and wipe down the toilet. Pull out your belongings from the cabinets and wipe the shelves. Clean the mirror, sink, and shower or tub. Make notes of anything that needs maintenance or supplies you may be running low on and need to replenish.

 

Tip: There is a special attachment for your hose (pictured above) to make the job of cleaning the tank easier. Or a number of people swear that you can keep your tank really clean by putting a bag of ice in it during drives. The movement of the ice scrubs the tank for you. If you do this regularly you may be able to skip the spraying the tank step.

 

Kitchen

 

 

 

Start by cleaning upper cabinets that way you can easily vacuum or wipe away anything that falls down. I throw away any expired or stale food and quickly wipe out the cabinets. This is really important to make sure you don’t feed any unexpected “guests”. Clean the microwave. Next move on to the walls around the kitchen, paying special attention to the area above the sink and the stove and scrubbing away any residue. Give the stovetop and inside the oven a good scrub. Wipe out the inside of the fridge and freezer and leave a new box of baking soda to keep things fresh. Finally wipe down the sink and counters. Few things feel as satisfying as a sparkling clean sink. Don’t forget to take notes for maintenance issues or needed supplies.

 

Tip: Heat up a bowl of water in the microwave a few minutes before wiping it out. The steam will loosen any grime making it easy to clean.

 

Living Area

 

 

Last but not least let’s give the living area a good clean. Wipe down the walls and windows. Dust and wipe down any upper cabinets. If you have a pull-out bed in the sofa, pull it out to vacuum underneath. Wipe down table. Lastly, dust the TV and entertainment system.

 

Tip: Store items under the dinette in bins or boxes that make it easy to pull things out to clean underneath.

 

Floors

 

 

We started by cleaning the ceilings of the entire RV and now we are going to end with the floors. Give them a good clean with the vacuum and then mop all the hard surface floors.

Tip: Enjoy the satisfaction of having a super clean RV! 🙂

 

That’s it! You’re done! To make things even easier for yourself I’ve put together a PDF “RV Interior Cleaning Checklist” for you to print out and use! CLICK HERE for PDF!

 

Do you have any tips for cleaning your RV’s interior? Please share in the comments below!

 

Thanks to Trailer Source for letting me use one of their RVs for photos while our Airstream is in the middle of a major remodel! If you are in Colorado be sure to check them out! They have a great selection of RVs.

SIMPLE BOURBON APPLE CRISP

When I Go RVing with my family, we make everything over the fire. We grill steak,

veggies, potatoes and more. We even heat up our cider with mulling spices to stay warm over

the fire. It’s always the best dinners in the world.

 

By the time dinner is over though, I start to crave something sweet. Not something too

sweet, but something that will really hit the spot. You know what I mean?

 

Bourbon… Apples… Sugar…

 

When I have a sweet tooth craving around the campfire, I tend to make my Simple Bourbon

Apple Crisp. Made with tons of sliced apples, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon and more. This

one skillet dessert is so simple to make with minimal dishes or prep work. Seriously, it only

takes about 15 minutes of work.

 

So why does it only take 15 minutes?

 

Instead of baking the crisp, you will cook the apples then add a blend of oats, pecans,

and more sugar. Stir in this blend to the added crunch and texture that we all love about fruit

crisps.

 

Add a little bit of bourbon for a night cap, and I am off to bed in the RV. Goodnight!

 

 

Recipe:

Cooking Details

Yields: 2-4 Servings

Cook: 10 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet and Spatula.

 

Fruit Ingredients:

  • 8 apples, sliced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Vanilla ice cream (with serving)

 

 

  1. In a skillet, add butter and let melt until beginning to brown. In a bowl, add all fruit

ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add fruit ingredients to skillet and cook for 8 minutes.

  1. In another bowl, add all topping ingredients. Pull skillet off of fire, add toppings and let

sit for 2 extra minutes.

  1. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

 

EXPLORING A DIFFERENT SIDE OF MEMPHIS

If I say the words “Memphis, Tennessee”, what are the first things that come to mind? For many, we are sure Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley would top the list. For others, Memphis is definitely known as a great place to get incredible barbecue. Both of those are true and as we headed to Memphis, we wanted to see some of the best-known sites, while experiencing some of the lesser known must-see sites. All of this is from a local’s point of view. The only problem was figuring out where we would stay. This can be one of the most important decisions you can make when selecting a campground close to a major city.

 

Picking the Right Campground – Home Base

 

We knew we were going to be spending 4-5 days in the Memphis area and picking a solid campground would be key. Our “homebase campground” is a huge factor in the overall enjoyment when visiting cities. This time we chose the Memphis Jelly Stone Campground, which just happened to be located in the state of Mississippi, go figure.

 

 

That’s because the Mississippi state line is just outside the city limits of Memphis. We knew with our frequent daily excursions, having a kid friendly campground would be the key to keeping the entire family happy. We learned a long time ago that just piling the kids up in the car and touring sites without factoring in plenty of fun time is a recipe for disaster. That’s especially true if we planned to hit any sensitive museums. Once we chose the Memphis Jelly Stone, we showed the kids all the things to do at the campground and they were 100% on board. Being that it was July, we knew it was going to be hot.

 

Tetherball Time!!

 

Water Slides!!!

 

This Jelly Stone had a nice pool, water slides, gaga ball, tether ball and even a basketball court.

 

 

Not to leave out Ebony, it had multiple “off leash” dog parks, one even lakeside! So with everyone happy with our homebase, it was time to venture out and explore Memphis.

 

The National Civil Rights Museum

 

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, it was very important for us to take time to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

 

 

For those who don’t know, this museum is actually formally known as the Lorraine Motel, and it became a national site to remember and preserve the last days in the life of Martin Luther King. We always make it a point to try to visit national historic sites, museums, and landmarks wherever we travel. But this site in particular with the 50th anniversary year was going to be a special visit, and it did not disappoint. My advice to you would be to plan at least a two-day visit at this museum. There’s so much to see and to absorb.

 

 

We have made it a point as we homeschool our boys to expose them to as much American history as possible, and that includes African-American history. Sometimes easy to separate, but it really should not be. This museum did a phenomenal job of covering not only the impact that Martin Luther King Jr. made on this country, but the key moments and facts of the civil rights struggle from generations ago to today.

 

 

I would say the most striking moment from our entire visit at the museum was as we passed from exhibit to exhibit and our boys said more than once, “Mom! Dad! We’ve been there.” Whether it was the replica of the Edmund Pettis Bridge from Selma, or the market lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter sit-ins.

 

 

We have taken our boys to these locations, and it’s not always easy sometimes, they’re scared. Sometimes they’re confused struggling with the question of why people would treat us like that. But our resolute determination is to expose them to things that are in their best interest and to hear them say to us that they remember visiting many of those places are priceless moments and experiences while RVing.

 

A Pyramid in Memphis?  – Bass Pro Shop

 

On a lighter note, we heard we just had to go check out the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid. No, we didn’t do a lot of research, so we had no idea what to expect.  As we drove nearer, in the distance we could see this pyramid reach up into the skies.

 

 

I’m going to say that this place was pretty cool. You can take this unique elevator to the top observation deck. It changes colors every few minutes. There is a $10 fee per person to ride up.

 

Elevator to the Observation Deck

 

And the view from the observation deck on a clear day/evening was worth the fee (for at least one person). Inside there was an aquarium fish tank that even had live alligators! Also, if you needed anything, and I mean anything for your camping trip, they had it.

 

Justin Marvels at the Fish Tank

 

We didn’t have a chance to eat at the on-site restaurant (due to a long wait), but we heard good things about it.

 

Musical History in Memphis – Stax Records

 

We had planned to visit Graceland, but then decided to check out maybe a slightly lesser known, but important musical history site, Stax Records.

 

 

Second only to Motown, Stax Records place is cemented in American Soul music history. Artists such as the Staple Sisters, Dramatics, Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding launched their careers in the studios of Stax. Stax Records and Southern Soul music were one in the same.

 

 

 

Time to Eat – Memphis BBQ Anyone?

 

Memphis is known as a place to get top BBQ, but how in the world do you choose where to go?

 

So Many Wonderful BBQ Choices in Memphis

 

One of the things we have learned most in RV travel is to ask locals the best place to eat. Tia has a girlfriend that grew up in Memphis, and she said the well-known places are good, but if we didn’t mind going to a different part of town, we would find even better BBQ. So we did and went to Central BBQ.

 

 

I was worried since Tia has become a vegan that she wouldn’t be able to eat, but she loved the BBQ portabella mushroom sandwich. The kids loved the homemade mac and cheese. I wanted to taste a few items.

 

 

So I started with the jerk and dry rubbed wings and ended with the slab of baby back ribs. This place didn’t disappoint!

 

We Will Return…

 

Memphis is a fun history filled place to visit. You may be drawn there to visit because of Graceland, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Memphis has so much more to offer. I know we only scratched the surface of things to do and see in Memphis.

 

 

So if or should I say, when you go, plan wisely, eat local recommendations and take in a few of the sites we visited. The history will draw you in and the food and music will keep you going back.

 

 

Keith Sims

Soulful RV Family

STOCKING YOUR NEW RV

You’ve just purchased your first RV, so now it is time to stock your rig with everything you’ll need to get rolling. It’s tempting to head straight to a camping store or to hop online and order EVERYTHING. New grill? Cute pillows from Etsy? All of the camping chairs? Those items are fun, terrific purchases; however, you might want to pause and prioritize before you find yourself dropping $1000 on gear you might not want or need.

 

The ultimate goal with stocking up is to have everything you will need and nothing you won’t. When we first started RVing, we hauled many of our regular household items out to the RV for each and every trip, and then we hauled those same items back into the house.

 

Of course, this process got tiresome after a bit. However, it helped us figure out which items we used the most. Those went to the top of our packing list. Over time, we bought dedicated gear that stayed in the RV and continued to use a checklist to repack items as needed.

 

You can use our complete stock up checklist as a starting guide for your first rig. Over time, you’ll learn which items you can’t live without and which ones you never touch. Then, you can develop and refine your own personalized packing list. Here’s an overview of some of our essential recommendations:

 

 

RV Tools and Safety Gear

Tools and safety gear are less fun to purchase than the cute or kitschy camping décor many of us covet; however, these items ensure your safety and security while on the road or in a campground. Put these necessities at the top of your list—or else!

 

To set up camp, you’ll need the following items:

  • Chocks
  • Leveling boards
  • Sewer hose (the stinky slinky)
  • Potable water hose
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Surge protector
  • Electricity converters (to move between 20, 30, and 50 amp)

 

The following basic tools and gear can help you roll safely down the road and repair small problems:

  • Basic tool box
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Fuse replacement kit
  • Replacement bulbs
  • Air compressor
  • Jumper cables

 

Other overlooked safety gear might include a rechargeable flashlight, a fly swatter, a water filter, and latex gloves. These will come in handy!

 

 

Camp Furniture and Outdoor Gear

Once you’ve safely set up your rig, now comes the fun part of turning your campsite into a pleasant outside living space. You can always start with relatively cheap versions of these items and then upgrade over time. After five years of traveling, we’ve become camp chair connoisseurs, with each family member having a favorite style, but trust me, we didn’t start off that way.

 

Here are some items you might want that will make your campsite even cozier:

  • One camp chair per person
  • An outdoor rug
  • Table cloth
  • Lanterns

 

Now, comes the fun part. You can truly personalize your campsite with the following gear:

  • Awning lights
  • Pop up shelter
  • Rope lights
  • Hammock
  • Outdoor games

 

What’s a campsite without a campfire? If you forget to stock these items, you’ll miss out on this revered camping ritual:

  • Firewood (note: some states do not allow the transport of firewood from area to area)
  • Fire starters
  • Lighter & matches

 

 

Kitchen (Indoor & Outdoor)

Ah, the kitchen. Some people use camping as a chance to take a break from their culinary duties, while others take pride in becoming the consummate camp chef. No matter which one of these is your goal, you’ll likely need some kitchen essentials.

 

Of course, you’ll need the basic eating utensils. Consider purchasing unbreakable items, whenever possible. Our rule of thumb is to pack one for each per person, plus a couple of extras.

  • Plates & bowls
  • Silverware
  • Cups and mugs

 

Next comes the cookery. Think about the wares and utensils you will need to prepare the types of meals you cook most often. Consider stocking the following:

  • Nesting bowls
  • Cutting board & quality knife set
  • Cooking utensils (spoons, ladle, tongs, peeler, whisk, etc.)
  • Collapsible colander
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Pots, skillets & baking wares

 

We don’t store food in the RV when not in use, but these pantry staples can be kept in airtight containers, ready to load:

  • Salt, pepper, & other seasonings
  • Nonstick spray
  • Oil & vinegar
  • Coffee (don’t forget the filters and coffee maker)

 

Finally, you’ll want these miscellaneous kitchen items to help keep your kitchen clean and functional:

  • Dish towels & washcloths
  • Sponges
  • Can opener & bottle opener

 

If you’ll be using an outdoor grill, be sure to include the specialty supplies to accompany your grill.

 

 

Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the places you’ll want to have well stocked. Health and hygiene are pretty essential! Take care of those with these items:

  • Shampoo, conditioner & body wash
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Shaving cream & razors
  • Hand soap & sanitizer
  • Towels, hand towels & washcloths

 

Bedroom & Closets

We highly recommend having dedicated bedding for all of the beds in your rig. Bonus points if you have pillows and blankets you can leave in it—those are the biggest pain to haul in and out! Whether you buy new or choose to use spares you already have, here are just a few of the main items you’ll need for your beds and bodies:

  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Laundry hamper
  • Jackets and rain gear
  • If you have old shoes and spare clothes that can “live” in the RV, it’s nice to leave them packed, just in case you ever take off without these essentials (not that we’ve ever done that!)

 

 

Wow! That seems like a lot of stuff. Just remember, you don’t have to pack EVERYTHING on this list. Start small, and add only the gear you think you will use. Once you have a handful of trips under your belt, you’ll develop a rhythm and routine all your own. Soon, you’ll have a good idea of your perfect stock up list. Until then, feel free to consult our Complete RV Stock Up List as a starting point. Then, get out there and make that new rig the cozy home on wheels you’ve always dreamed of!

 

HOW WE CHOSE OUR RV

It is hard to believe that we have been full time RVing since July 2016! Time definitely flies by and I couldn’t be more grateful for making the decision to escape what was “normal” according to everyone else and doing what meant freedom for us.  I am not saying that RV full time living is for everyone, but it is definitely a lifestyle that is perfect for our nomadic spirit!  A question we are frequently asked is “How did you choose your RV?”

 

 

We went to a dealership and decided to walk into different models to see what felt like “home.”  The year before we had actually gone dream board shopping and fallen in love with a toy hauler model because of the high ceilings.  At the time we were not planning on living in one full time, but it was just a thought to have one for getaways in the future.

 

Exactly a year after our dream board shopping adventure we went on a SUPER last-minute RV getaway with my in-laws (a whole other fun story of its own). It helped inspire us to go buy an RV and live in it full time instead of renewing our rental lease at the time! It was a pretty wild decision and quite honestly the best one we have ever made for ourselves and our family.

 

When we purchased our RV, we had a one-year-old who was just learning how to walk and a three-year-old.  We knew that we wanted two bathrooms and a good area for them to play and also sleep.  We went shopping again and decided to look at different types (Class A, travel trailers and Class C).  We ended up falling in love with the toy hauler once again because of not only the high ceilings but this one happened to have a side patio and a back patio.  We were totally sold on the side patio because we could set it up as a play area for our little ones.

 

 

We were extremely happy with the layout and the fact that it not only had a second bathroom, it had a small bathtub in the kids’ bathroom as well! It was truly perfect for us!  We honestly should have done more research, read more articles like this and spoken to fellow RVers about their RVs to educate ourselves on the differences.  Luckily, we ended up choosing a toy hauler which later we realized has a lot less sway than a travel trailer.  The more people we meet with travel trailers the more we realize that the toy hauler was the right decision for us.

 

I love the fact that our RV just like any other RV out there gives us the freedom to move around if we choose to move it.  For us it’s a great feeling to have our home wherever we go.  It means less packing for vacations and always having our toilet and our bed (seriously priceless lol).

 

 

Something that I wish I would have done before purchasing our RV was to rent different types.  I think this would have given me a better feel for the different layouts.  Nowadays there are neat companies like Outdoorsy and RV Share where you can rent an RV from someone in your area! I think that is one of the neatest ways to rent because you are renting from a private owner who you can even chat with about why they chose that specific RV and then try it out for yourself to see if you really like it.

 

I highly recommend when searching to write down your “Must Haves” on paper because it will make it easier when finding the perfect RV for you.  The perfect RV for us has been our Heartland Toy Hauler AKA Big Bertha because it is what got us on the road.  It can be overwhelming with the different RV types, hitch types, axles, landing legs, etc, etc.  Best advice I can give is to ask yourself the following questions:

 

 

  • What kind of camping will you use your RV for? (Campground camping or off-grid boondocking?)
  • What is your budget?
  • How many people will you be traveling with?
  • How long are you planning on RVing?
  • Who will be driving it? (You want to make sure the driver is comfortable driving the RV.)

These are a few questions that helped us when we chose our RV.  Trust me, before you know it you will also have the perfect RV for you to take on your next adventure! The more experiences we collect the more we realize that all the junk we left behind to live full time in our RV doesn’t even matter.

 

I would love to hear how you chose your RV. Please do not forget to comment below and share away. We love hearing from you!