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Just like our motorhome, but different colorway.

There are two things I find critical when you live in an RV that’s only 300 square feet: keeping everything shipshape and making sure your space smells clean. 

When your living area is so small that changing a throw pillow is the equivalent of a home makeover, everything must have its place, and be in it.

In a conventional home you have more leeway for a bit of whimsy, even some artful arrangement. Not in an RV. I’ve always loved books piled on my coffee table, or stacked on the floor, but that won’t work in a home that accelerates, corners, and brakes. They must be put away lest they become projectiles. Can you imagine being knocked-out by Stephen King’s The Outsider? Or tripping over Baldacci’s The Fallen? Feng shui is always the order of the day.

In our travels we’ve been invited into other RV coaches where they don’t live by these standards, but you never know that until you walk into their home. Sometimes we stand there, appalled by the chaos and overcome by the smell of the litter box. We smile politely, trying to ignore the cat hair that floats everywhere like the L.A. smog and counting the minutes ‘til we can make our escape. 

As my Grandma used to say, “You have to have a pound of dirt in you before you die.” I felt like I was getting perilously close to that limit.

On the flip side we’ve also sat, happily, visiting in coaches with both cats and multiple dogs in residence, and if you weren’t petting them, you’d never have known they lived there, too. Their space was immaculate and smelled wonderful.

In my book I talked about making my bed, first thing each morning, and it’s even more important here. Otherwise it looks like the FBI has “tossed” our bedroom. But before I pull up the sheets, I spray them with a natural air-freshener or linen spray. I prefer natural, and Mrs. Meyer’s makes some of my favorite scents: honeysuckle, lavender, and geranium. 

Since I also love other fragrances, I often create my own home spritzers:

Mix 1.5 ounces distilled water, 1.5 ounces of vodka, and 15-20 drops of any clear essential oil that you love into a 4 or 5 ounce spray bottle. Shake well before using, then spray away! Think of it as a cocktail for your home… and you get to reap all the heady benefits.

Speaking of cocktails… Cheers until next time!

XO Donna

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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

8 thoughts on “NEAT AS A PIN”

  1. For 10 years I lived in the Little House at the ranch. It was 22 feet by 22 feet, a bit larger than your RV, and I quickly came to the same conclusion: One pillow out of place and the whole house looked like we lived like slobs. It’s a challenge! xoxo, Brenda

  2. Ten. Years. Egads! You are a brave, strong woman! And, you’re right… it only takes one pillow! LOL. I am enjoying this, but have decided this isn’t how I want to spend the rest of my life… I miss my herb garden, my king bed, and taking bubble baths!

  3. The fad of ‘Tiny Homes’ is like living in a RV but it doesn’t move and it has to be kept up. I don’t get it. I lived in a small house, not as small as Brenda but it was a constant dash to pick up and put away lest you fall over something!

  4. The 2 of us lived in a 28 ft camper for a couple of years while building our log cabin. It never was set level so that was sort of a problem. And there were no utilities, no water, no electricity. We turned on the generator at night which was unpleasantly loud even though barricaded behind bales of hay. A tent toilet stood 100 feet away in the pasture. Totally private. Not bad over all. We went to a motel for baths and TV on the weekend. While it had its charm eventually I was glad to sell it and move into the 1700 square foot cabin. Decorating the camper no problem. I didn’t decorate. A 7 gallon plastic water container took up most of the kitchen. All the furniture was built in. That was that. Would I do it all again knowing what I know now. Sure. Life does not need to be full of comfort. An adversarial relationship can bring out the survivor in us. The experience left me feeling more alive. Well worth it.

  5. I live in a 1400 square foot home which sounds large, but I share it with three teenagers, two dogs, and a large husband. I can’t imagine going any smaller. At least not until some of the crowd departs.

  6. Loved this! I have a girlfriend who just moved into an RV and when I visited her, it was almost transforming for me. I went away with the urge to simplify my life, to declutter, and to start believing that less is more. I envied her half hour cleaning regimen. I envied the fact that she could now spend more time doing the things she loves to do rather than has to do – like gardening! Wonderful post.

    Donna – please delete the spam comment left by Obat. Poor you. I hate spam.

  7. You are living my dream. I am in the process of simplifying my life – getting rid of extras – so that I can hit the road in something even smaller than your home on wheels. I find the entire idea freeing and look forward to hitting the road and seeing this beautiful country of ours. Happy and safe travels!

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