Home Office in an RV

Post updated on July 9, 2011: go to this post to see my current home office in an RV.

I was tidying up the study tonight and realised that it was the perfect time to post ‘before’ pictures of my home office.

This is pretty much what it usually looks like (give or take a cup or water glass and a few sheets of paper) when I’m stationary. When I’m on the road, everything is put away. It’s therefore very hard to work effectively when I’m on the move. The makeover’s aim in this area is to make the home office area of my RV functional at all times.

Just about the only thing that works in the current set up is the cubby hole of sorts at the end of the ‘sofa’ where I have my all-in-one laser printer/scanner/copier/fax machine and my box of files.

The first change I want to make is to put the bookcase on the other side of the desk to free up access to the electrical panel. You can’t see it in the pictures, but I have a shredder stashed away behind the bookcase. It’s easily accessible when I need it and tucked away when I don’t.

The second change I will make is to mount my UPS under the desk and make a hole in the desk through which I will feed all the wires. Changing to a wireless mouse and keyboard option is not an option, so the amount of wireage is here to stay. The other wires are for the USB hub, the iPod charger, the camera, the cell phone, the PowerBook, the calculator, the printer, and the main power cord for the iMac (whew!). What I would like would be to not have to unplug and put all those wires away every time I pack up but rather have them sticking neatly out of a hole in the desk ready for use with either the Powerbook or the iMac when I stop.

The third change will be to find a permanent home for my supply cubbies. As you can see in the pictures, each little drawer is labeled so I can find what I need easily. The top three drawers have ‘pens’, ‘pencils’ (as well as erasers and sharpeners), and ‘markers’ (everything from highlighters to sharpies). The middle two drawers have ‘tape’ (and related fasteners like glue and staples) and ‘scissors’ (and related cutters like X-acto knives). The single bottom drawer has ‘rulers’ (including a tape measure, and also a three-hole punch). My overstock office supplies like notepads, envelopes, the label maker, and paperclips are in bins in an the overhead cabinet. When I move, I have to put the cubbies under the desk, facing the wall, and wedge them in place with the over-turned chair otherwise the drawers fly out. I think that nuts and bolts would secure the cubbies to the desk while elastics in an ‘X’ formation will keep the drawers in place but I’m still pondering the aesthetics of this plan.

Fourth, I want to set myself up an in and outbox system, which will simply be a two or three pocket filer affixed to the wall between the old lounge bar/new study cabinet and the window. I don’t like to keep a lot of paper lying around, trying to deal with it as it comes in so that I don’t get a huge mountain, but I occasionally have some things in progress that are better being left out than being filed right away.

Finally, I  will be sticking my family photos to my walls rather than have them sit on top of the cubbies where they must be put away every time I travel. I have thus far avoided sticking too many things to my walls, but now that I know I’ll be here for a while, I don’t mind. I’m just going to wait to paint first. I have used 3M command picture hanging strips (check out my comments to this post as ‘TravelingRae’) with great success and will continue to use them during my renos.

These pictures show that it is possible to have a complete functional office in an RV if that is something which is a priority to you. I’m lucky in that I have a whole room to devote to my home office (even though the office is concentrated in a third of the room), but I can imagine a similar set up in a spare closet (class As actually have those!) or a dining area.

My study is the room in Miranda that works best for me and which will need only very minor structural tweaking, with the most major changes planned being cosmetic. I’m very glad that I had the good sense to buy an RV with this room in the back rather than trying to do double duty in the living room or bedroom of a class A.

I’ve thought a few times about how a queen-bed layout in this room would have given me some better storage options (like mini-wardrobes), but, ultimately, the twin-bed layout with overhead cabinets has given me a much more open room better suited for conversion to a study. Behind the desk, on the opposite wall, is currently the base for a twin bed over which I have a drawer in which I keep printer paper. That drawer will soon be sent to another part of the rig (and the paper relegated to an overhead cabinet) while the base (which is like a big storage trunk) will be dismantled to give me space to put in a dresser. A Queen-bed layout with cabinets against the back wall only would never have given me so many options for the room’s layout!

This room’s fantastic functionality has inspired me to do great things with the front room’s tiny footprint. All in good time!

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  • When it comes to family pictures, what I really like for our layout is one digital picture frame. That allows us to have our entire Rogues Gallery in a single wall mounted frame. …. of course, that would add one more cord to your pile….
    Missed Croft, but perhaps as he weaves his way back we will cross paths….
    Congrats on the job, and may it last only as long as it takes to get a living wage job!!

  • Sorry Donna, but I’m not a fan of the digital frame. I’d rather be able to rest my eye on a variety of pictures than just one at a time. Plus, I don’t like that it uses power.

    Too bad you missed Croft; you guys would have liked each other.

    Thank you for the job congrats!

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RC Badraun, Dick Mansfield. Dick Mansfield said: RT @connectrvs: Home Office in an RV | http://bit.ly/3N3HLp […]

  • With the new solar panels, it will be carefully watched for its affect on the power draws. There is definitely a good point for the print outs. We do have some old fashion ones about too. 🙂

  • I would have thought that there would be a battery option for these frames.

  • […] current layout has been okay for casual work, but I’m now going to be working twenty to forty hours a week […]

  • […] My desk was fine while I was only doing a little work from home, but its lack of ergonomics was starting to get to me. I also learned that the importance of drawers should not be underestimated. So, I started to troll Craigslist for a desk. It had to fit under the window within the bumpout, be reasonably lightweight, have at least three drawers, be cheap, and be attractive enough to not drive me nuts until I got around the refinishing it. […]

  • […] this out while I was going through the spam comments tonight, discovering that, among others, my Home Office in an RV post was tweeted three times. So, I’ve added a widget that makes it easy for tweeters to […]

  • […] while working on the final layout for the study, I had an epiphany. Remember my supply cubbies? I have used them for ten years to house all my office supplies. I haven’t been able to find […]

  • Jumped here from your Squidoo page about your blog because I was curious to see what a home office looks like in an RV. You’re such a good writer, I get the gist of it without the pics, but I would love to see them all the same (links are down at time of this writing).

  • Hi Kathryn,

    That’s a super old post; I have no idea what happened to the pictures! Go here http://travelswithmiranda.uskeba.ca/?p=10994 for the latest post about the office. Lots of pictures about my current setup which is nothing like the one in the old post.

    Thanks for stopping in!

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