new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Mobile Home help  RSS feed

 
Sheila Kingsley
Posts: 9
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It surprises me how few items there are for the millions of people who live in mobile home parks.

Of course I'd love to have land of my own, and if I could afford it, I would. However, at 75 years of age and in iffy health, that's not in the cards for me.

My home is well insulated and has double paned windows throughout. Since I live in Upstate NY it is essential to find ways to control heating/cooling costs.

Alongside my patio I have a 2.5 foot by 40 foot herb garden. Between my skirting and sidewalk I have planted five blueberry bushes this year. I plant only edibles and medicinals.
Next year I plan to put in two or three filberts by the front fence. Under my south-facing kitchen window I have a 4 X 8 ft. raised bed garden in which I grew some mammoth sunflowers for birdseed this summer.
Next year I want to use it for strawberries and salad makings. Our park owners let us and another family go together on a small vegetable garden on some unused space between trailers. It's wonderful how much produce we can get from a 25 foot square garden. We dehydrate and can a lot of food to supplement our diet. The biggest problem is the awful design of the kitchen cupboards that make food storage extremely difficult.

This year we set up two rain barrels to harvest water from the patio roof. My next project is to make a slow sand water filter. My son wants to help me set up an area in our kitchen to grow some micro greens this winter.

I am really blessed to live in a park where the owners allow such activities. It sure makes for some happy tenants.



 
Rick Howd
Posts: 128
Location: McMinnville Oregon
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You asked for help but other than your storage issues it sounds like you're in a really good position!

Post a picture of your cabinets with stuff in them and some basic dimensions. Depth, height between shelves and the material the shelves are made of (and thickness).

I've designed a thousand + commercial kitchens/restaurants lets see if I can bend any of that to your place.
 
Chris Waldon
Posts: 14
Location: Kent, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sheila,
Perhaps posting a picture or two of the kitchen can help kick-start some ideas. The first question I had was whether you lived in a double-wide or a single? Recessed flat ceiling or pitched? I too have seen some crazy kitchen cabinet layouts in manufactured homes. My handyman business has found a great niche in senior and family mobile home parks.

I think you're very fortunate to have park managers that endorse your outdoor growing adventures. Compared to the average sub-division neighborhood, mobile home parks have a more natural and sometimes stronger sense of community, in my opinion.

So lets see...a couple ideas for kitchen storage. Utilizing the under-sink cabinet for food instead of cleaning supplies. Transfer them to the laundry room/closet. If there's surplus dishes, glasses, etc. then lean out what is actually stored in the kitchen. Transfer the dishes you don't normally use to boxes for storing elsewhere, and hopefully opening up an extra cupboard as a result. Add extra shelving where possible inside cabinets. Often a single tall pantry cabinet might have only 3 or 4 shelves, leaving several cubic feet of space unused.

Regards,
Chris
 
Sheila Kingsley
Posts: 9
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Rick and Chris.

My home is a single wide with the kitchen in the end. The kitchen is about 11 X 12 and has a good sized eating area. No way I can afford to replace the cabinets, even though they are poorly constructed and designed.
The two major problems are inaccessiblilty and wasted space. Small, high cabinet over the sink required a step stool (which my son forbids me use when I'm alone) I use to store canning jars and supplies and a few rarely used seasonal items up there. Unfortunately all the upper cabinets are so high I can easily access only the bottom shelves where I keep our dishes and glassware and serving pieces. The base cabinets are even worse. there is only one shelf and storage space on the floor. In all three corners I have four square feet of blind storage on both the shelf and on the floor; my personal black hole of Calcutta. Since I can no longer kneel and still get back on my feet, I have to ask someone to help when I want something back in there. So that's where I store my dehydrated emergency food supply. My regular supply of canned goods is on a large steel shelving unit, which takes up a lot of space in this kitchen.

The bottom cabinet shelves are 13" above the floor. From the top of the shelf it's 21" to the bottom of the countertop. Wasted space!

Since cabinet replacement is financially impossible, can these storage spaces be improved without a big investment? We are considering removing the lower doors and cutting away the toe plate in the door opening so we can slide items out without having to lift them over a 5" board. If we cut back the door opening a few inches maybe we could attach some sliding shelves?
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6698
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For dry goods where it's OK for them to freeze, the area under the skirting can be used. You must have an absolutely vermin proof container. Used metal tool boxes or other well built storage vessels could be used to hold air tight, food safe containers. This is for bulk storage of things that are only accessed occasionally when restocking the larder. Snow and other weather makes it inconvenient on a regular basis. Think of it as a root cellar for dry goods. You may have seen how chairs are stored under the stage in school auditoriums. They ride a big tray that rolls out. Something similar could utilize the space beneath many mobile homes.
 
Rick Howd
Posts: 128
Location: McMinnville Oregon
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To increase usable density in your shelving these work well we alternate canned veggies and soup (sometimes we have to put one back in the top) http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/02/16/build-your-own-can-rotating-rack/ the original plans here http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/fsme/docs/shelfplan.pdf can be modified to be taller to fit your storage height. After making a few of these I would add 1/8" in width and height to allow easier can movement. If you need help modifying the plans let me know, I have a copy someplace where I redrew it with the new dimensions.

There are some storage ideas here, perhaps some will fit in your existing cabinets http://www.pinterest.com/diyboards/diy-kitchen-storage/

If you decide to remove your toe kick be sure to build up the floor slightly to prevent moisture at the floor level for cleaning or only use plastic/glass containers. Also, cut it out carefully as in most cases it does provide a significant support to the structure above, perhaps start with every other cabinet?

I've often seen bags of onions, garlic and herbs hung from the ceiling on hooks, that can be retrieved with a hooked stick.

If you decide to store under your sink be sure to use water safe containers, you might want to seal around the cabinet and floor area as well to prevent any leak to move at floor level. I could even see a drain line out with a vermin screen.

Some of these might work for your shelf spaces:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/10583489?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227000017061&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40343530592&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78306270632&veh=sem

A rack like this works well on a ceiling or a high shelf as the output location is lower
http://www.zesco.com/Amco-SM-10-Module-Number10-Can-Rack-Storage-System-pz015A195.htm be aware this is a #10 can rack and I haven't found smaller versions.

Magnet strips or pads can be screwed into the underside of cabinets or shelves to accept ferrous metal lids or vice versa; you can mount magnets to jars and provide a surface for them to attach to. This is ideal for spices with their light weight and shorter time availability.

Ok, let's leave the kitchen for a minute...
Under the couch, bed, in the bottom of the closet (add a shelf for the things you use frequently).

Find space that isn't used or cared for and find a way to fill it with what is appropriate for you. I have corners/edges in every space, that I don't use appropriately, they are locations of opportunity, we just need to find the appropriate method and somebody has done that, we just need to find it.









 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have experience living in a 35-year-old trailer with the same-sounding terrible cabinets. One thing I did was buy some of those cheap (about a buck each) enameled-steel right-angle shelf brackets and simply put up shelves (using 1x4 and 1x6 plain lumber, though you could stain or paint it) on a bunch of interior walls. It's not so aesthetic, but then, in an old mobile home that's often a "take a number" situation, competing with a lot of other unaesthetic items. I space these shelves 12 or 14 or 16 inches apart and they are ideal for holding large numbers of jars, cans, plastic food storage containers, cannisters, spice containers, and so forth. Stuff is handy and reachable and visible. Only you can decide if it's worth the aesthetic trade-off, but it works for me.
 
Chris Waldon
Posts: 14
Location: Kent, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote:For dry goods where it's OK for them to freeze, the area under the skirting can be used. You must have an absolutely vermin proof container. Used metal tool boxes or other well built storage vessels could be used to hold air tight, food safe containers. This is for bulk storage of things that are only accessed occasionally when restocking the larder. Snow and other weather makes it inconvenient on a regular basis. Think of it as a root cellar for dry goods. You may have seen how chairs are stored under the stage in school auditoriums. They ride a big tray that rolls out. Something similar could utilize the space beneath many mobile homes.


Under home storage can be tricky for manufactured homes. If there's a chance of flooding, whatever you place under the house is going to have a bad time. Most manufactured homes rest on pier columns which have a side benefit of allowing flood waters to pass right underneath the home. Here in Washington State, storing underneath the mobile home is actually prohibited (though it's not enforceable and a lot of people store there anyway. lawn chairs, Christmas stuff, etc.) Mobile home parks may have their own rules & regs regarding storage outside the home, like limiting it to a shed.

Sheila, I think the most economical shelving update you can do is either tackle the "wasted space" in the lower cabinet you mentioned, or to take Dan's suggestion of putting up metal/wood shelves on some empty wall space. The perk of that plan is that finding a wall stud couldn't be easier on an old single wide. If you have the wood wall paneling, just find the staple marks along the seams every 12" or 16" on center. Just remember that the walls are thin, with 2x3 or even sometimes 2x2 studs, so use as many proper length screws (gold plated zinc, not graphite) as the metal shelf brackets will allow. Considering the potential weight load on such a system, it would be even better to put a bracket on every stud.

Are you close with any other residents in the park? Maybe you make some kind of arrangement to store some of your excess canned foods in your friend's place?
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!