Do you have a packing list that you use when you are going on vacation? Tom and I leave for North Dakota in less than a week and we are busy packing. Before we bought a house, all we had to do to move from one place to another was bring in the slides and hook up the 5th wheel to the truck. Packing is a little more complicated with a house because we are no longer carrying everything we own with us.
I started putting together a packing list as soon as we agreed to go to North Dakota. What will we need for four months of working in a park and doing some sight-seeing on the side? It turns out that about half the stuff we are taking with us relates to our living history demonstrations. The Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Union Trading Post, Lisa Sanden, is excited for us to come because we are so experienced with demonstrations. Unfortunately, because the site did not have any European-American women, they have not stocked up on items such as a loom or spinning wheel. But they want me to demonstrate them anyway because they are period-appropriate. So I have to pack up my little loom, my spinning wheel, and the bins of things that go along with those. Tom has been doing the same with his demonstrations – getting his gear together.
Even with living history items excluded, I still have a four-column, two-page packing list. And I had to condense some of the stuff to fit it on two pages. Instead of listing everything in the refrigerator, my list now says “items in refrigerator and freezer.” Even with my very comprehensive list, I am still concerned about leaving something I will need behind. I never had to worry about this before! Everything we owned traveled with us. Now I wander through each room of the house, checking each drawer, so I don’t leave behind a power cord or charger.
We think the 27′ Leprechaun is big enough that we can get the things we need in it comfortably, but until we have been in it for a while, we won’t know for sure. So, for now, we have a staging area in the kitchen where we are putting stuff and it won’t get checked off my list until it is actually stored in the RV.
An additional problem, of course, is how many of something we take with us and what size. For instance, I’m taking two pans. One skillet and one bigger pot. If we have potluck dinners at Fort Union Trading Post I will need the big pot. We have a tiny oven in the Leprechaun and it is just big enough for my 13×9 inch baking pan so I am taking along stuff to make brownies and other bars. We will take four plates, but we shouldn’t need many more than that. We will be doing the dishes at least once a day. There isn’t counter space or sink space to let them stack up.
Clothes are another thing to think about. When we had everything we owned with us, I had a “rule of four:” no more than four of any one thing. I’m trying to keep that down to two with the smaller RV: one to wear and one to spare at any given time. Hopefully that will keep me in between visits to the laundromat. I am taking most of my shoes with me: my hiking boots, tennis shoes, work shoes, historical costume shoes, and a pair of water sandals.
I’m sure this is a lot more detail than you want to know about the packing list for the RV. But it is definitely on my mind right now. There is a fine line between barest bones and comfortable living and I want to be on the comfortable living side. Tom keeps reminding me that the Walmart is only 30 miles away from Fort Union.
I am a good packer and have had lots of experience with RVing. I’m sure everything will be fine. Maybe I’ll just look at the list one more time . . .