Welcome to a new feature at A Writable Life!

I’ve opened up my blog for some of my dear friends and colleagues. Kathi Burns is my first guest, and since I am a hiker, fly fisher, and camper, I fell in love with her wisdom in this blog. Enjoy!

Camping Anyone?

Camping in an RV means that you can bring all of the comforts of home with you to the campground. Gone are the worries about airline tickets, hotel rooms, and finding a place to eat three times a day. Everything you need can be onboard with you at all times.

If you grew up as a tent camper, like myself, RV Camping = Glamping. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing better than the comforts of pulling up to a campsite and not having to work hours setting up camp!

My husband and I have owned two VW Westie camper vans and love the luxury of not having to pop up a tent!


Looking for Advice

A few years ago, one of my newspaper readers wrote to me with this question:


Dear Kathi,

My family just purchased a new RV and we love to go camping. The challenge is that every time we want to go somewhere, we invariably forget things. With multiple people packing, important items often get left behind. Without making one person responsible for everything, how can we manage to be provisioned?

PS After we put all this stuff in the RV, how do we keep it from falling around when we drive?

This was my response:

Solving Provisioning Challenges

You can solve your provisioning challenge by creating a list. This list will itemize the food that you prefer to have onboard for each trip. It should contain staples like olive oil, spaghetti noodles, and sauce, along with perishables like onions, butter, potatoes.

It is best to camp once as you develop the first draft of your master list. Once you analyze your list away from home, it will become clear what you forgot to include. After this, you are ready to type and print several copies to keep in your RV.

Make sure to leave a few blank lines for the future ref to mark in with open or pencil because who wants to use their laptop while on vacation?

When you are underway, keep your master list visible. A spot on the refrigerator keeps it front and center. As you consume food that needs to be replenished, add a checkmark beside the item. Family members can also add forgotten snacks to this list.

If your RV is not going into a storage facility, DO NOT MOVE this list until you are ready to buy new provisions. Keep your list on the fridge for safekeeping.

If your RV does go into storage in between trips, place this list in a file at home until the day you shop. It’s a great idea to restock as soon as you return so that you can leave on a whim if the spare time presents itself.

For bedding and towels, keep a collapsible hamper on board where you can toss soiled items. Don’t mix your clothes into this basket, they should have their own dirty clothes bag. Launder the bedding hamper items separately and take them immediately back to your RV. You don’t have to worry about unpacking at this point. A family member can make the bed and stow the towels once you are underway on your next adventure.

Speaking of stowing, it is best to place loose items in plastic boxes with lids that fit snugly inside each cabinet. When a door pops open because you take a bump or curve, the worst that will happen is the items within each bin will become jumbled. Bins also make it easy to clean the inside of your cabinets.

There are so many plastics available that you should easily find a bin to fit within each space. If you have never used plastic bins, take the measurements from space inside the cubbies and take the list with you to make sure you buy the right sizes. I am a big believer in containerized everything inside an RV. It makes it so much easier to clean, pack, and unpack.

If you have multiple kids, give each child a separate bin or a packing cube for their clothes and a designated place to stow their shoes. This way they can easily organize their clothes and find their socks and shorts without your help. Putting them in charge of their clothes will be a huge bonus once you are underway!

Essential Items to Pack

 Each person should pack:

  •  Hiking boots
  • Athletic shoes
  • Athletic clothing
  • Bathing suit
  • Swim towel
  • Sun hat
  • Rain hat
  • Raincoat
  • Warm coat
  • Shirts/pants/shorts
  • Sandals
  • Sunglasses

Kathi Burns is my first guest blogger. She’s been a friend for over a decade and incredible help in helping me create order out of my creative chaos, particularly my papers! She is a professional organizer who has been working one-on-one with clients for over a decade. She started my consulting company addSpace To Your Life!  in 2003 after moving from Florida to California––and she has effectively and efficiently mastered her own muck. Her mission: “My purpose in life is to help others become masters of their image and environment.” Discover more tips from Kathi at https://organizedandenergized.com/