How We Work From Our Rig While Full-Timing – Part One, The Planning

work-from-rig-full-time-plans

rv-office-closet-remodel-735x2000We get this question a lot….right after, “What do you do for a living while traveling?” One of our main criteria, being not of retirement age, was finding a rig in which we could see us conducting our business – both of us. Two people, two homeschooled kids, two cats and two office spaces. And, we were already pretty dead set on a Class A diesel pusher rather than a fifth wheel or travel trailer. Oy.

Running a business – even just blogging – usually requires more than just a laptop and a comfy chair. Even if it doesn’t, if you’re living full-time in your RV you’re going to need someplace to store important papers, files, documents, manuals and other paper as well as basic office supplies. We searched for three years to find a rig that would meet our needs before we finally found The One. This One: a 1998 Foretravel U320 4200 RCFE (Rear Closet, Front Entry).

1998 U320 Foretravel Floorplan

The Floorplan – 1998 Foretravel U320 4200

Before Renovation: Unrealized Office Space

As you can see, the back half of this 42′ beast was originally dedicated entirely to the master suite: the bathroom and adjoining bedroom plus the 5′ x 8′ closet (including the engine “hump” enclosure) took up the final ~20′ of the bus. Here is what bathroom and bedroom area looked like when we bought it:

Where there are louvered doors was the beginning of the 40 square foot closet area which enclosed the engine hump across the middle, a large 24″ wide by 24″ deep TV cabinet for an old CRT monitor, and a set of shallow shelves (VHS video tape deep!) below. There were several shallow drawers underneath a corian shelf that was COLD on my butt in the morning, being less than 12″ from the bedside.

There was a closet carousel – like the kind you see at the dry cleaners (?!?) – on the other side of the closet space, and there was a false floor built out at the height of the (blue-carpeted) engine cover, so even that additional potential space was lost for use as storage. In our opinion, it was a giant waste of space; or, maybe…a giant opportunity!

We looked at that closet and we both thought, “OFFICE!” The trick was figuring out the arrangement. We needed to fit two desk spaces for two laptops, plus we each usually use a second monitor when coding, editing video (or watching videos while working!), and just for keeping up with all the various apps and web services we use while working. We also needed file storage space, office supply storage, ready access desk supplies, a spot for our 10TB storage array, some space for books, a place for a scanner and a printer, an inbox, electrical outlets, a whiteboard, a calendar, space for meetings and elbow room. Impossible? No way!

Planning our Two Person RV Office

It took a little noodling, but working with graph paper to scale, we figured out a fantastically space-efficient, two-person office space on board our 42′ bus with NO SLIDES. That’s right – no slides, but plenty of space if you use it right!

We worked with the renovations team at the Foretravel Factory in Nacogdoches, TX to finalize the design and planning. The details of these original drawings were altered slightly as work proceeded to accommodate reality, budget and practicality, but essentially the results are what we intended. We have two highly functional work stations, shared file and office supply storage, and shelving for office equipment such as our printer, scanner and ready-access files and the best part is, it’s literally just steps from bed. Easiest. Commute. Ever.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two of How We Work from Our Rig While Full-Timing: The Results!

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