Before we could take our new camper out for its maiden voyage we had to stock it with goodies 'n supplies. We wanted to load it up with items that would stay in there all the time so that packing for a trip would require little more than adding our food and clothes and hitting the road. I'm a bargain shopper and I love a good deal. I hoard coupons, I read weekly sale ads, and seeing a fully-stocked clearance rack makes me happier than it probably should. I knew that I didn't want to spend too much money filling the camper with our living essentials and I had fun looking for deals and sticking to a budget.
Using What We Already Have
Before making a shopping list I took a spin around our house and pulled out extra items that could be given new life in the RV. I started with the linen closet and found I had plenty of extra sheets, pillows, and blankets that are no longer used. After a run through the washing machine to freshen them up, they're good as new, I have extra space in the closet, and I saved myself the expense of buying new bedding.
Next, I headed for the kitchen. It is insane how much kitchen "stuff" we have. In fact, we even use some of the shelving in our laundry room for additional kitchen storage as well as the linen closet in the half bath next to the kitchen. What, isn't that where everyone keeps a 26-quart turkey roaster oven?
Just us then? Okay, well, I was kidding anyway. There's not a roaster oven in my half bath. Or a lasagna pan. Or a set of pancake molds. Or a whole slew of Christmas tins. Or a cake stand.
Let's just move on, okay?
If you know us or read this blog with any regularity then you already know that cooking and food are huge parts of our lives and something that will be a big part of our RV life as well. I knew that I already had quite a few extra things such as knives, cookie sheets, baking pans, pot holders, mixing bowls, ice trays, and even a full set of vintage Presto copper-bottom pots that my mom gave me years ago but that I no longer use. Once I had my pile I was able to check off everything I salvaged and make a (much smaller) shopping list of kitchen essentials for the camper. Yet again I was left with some extra space in my cabinets. Bonus.
Finally, we pawed through our old tent camping supplies and were able to find some useful things such as a set of extra small tools, a camping mallet, a tarp, and some other useful outdoorsy things.
Then it was time to shop! I hit up several of my favorite discount shops and scored some great deals. I thought it would be fun to post a little cumulative haul of a few of my shopping trips, so here we go!
Bargain Hunt - specializes in overstocks, out-of-season goods, customer returns, and new and refurbished items. Discounts increase the longer an item sits on the shelf. I became addicted to shopping here last year. Sometimes I end up with some great deals and sometimes I totally strike out. You never know what you'll find and that's part of the fun. (see website)
- Faberware 11.5" non-stick skillet - $10.80
- Mr. Coffee 12-cup programmable coffee maker - $15.40
- Kitchenaid stainless steel spatula - $6.30
- Room Essentials tool set for kitchen (includes slotted spoon, spoon, slotted turner, a pair of tongs, and a non-stick spatula) - $5.00
Bargain Hunt Total - $37.50
Tuesday Morning - also a close-out retailer similar to Bargain Hunt. They don't use the date system of continuously marking down products, but there is a pretty large clearance section at the back of the store. (view website)
- KitchenAid measuring cups and spoons - $5.99
- Silicone collapsible strainer - $4.99 - major space saver. Campers just don't have the storage space for a big bulky strainer!
- Dishtowels - set of 3 - $4.79
Tuesday Morning Total: $15.77
Wal-Mart - no description needed... I think we are all familiar with this discount giant.
- 4 wash cloths @ $1.97 each
- 4 towels @ $6.97 each
- Plastic trash bin - $8.92
- 16pc flatware set and caddy - $6.88
- Kitchen scissors - $3.97
- Vegetable peeler - $3.97
- Mini whisk - $1.44
- 4 plastic drink tumblers @ $0.58 each
- 2-pack BIC utility lighters - $4.97
- 2-pack plastic food storage - $0.98
- 4-pack plastic food storage - $1.84
- Rival 2-slice toaster - $6.88
- Non-stick liner - $4.74 - this stuff is a must-have for cabinets and shelves! It will keep your supplies from sliding around while in transit. I've already gone back to purchase several more rolls.
Wal-Mart Total: $82.67
Dollar Tree - I love shopping at Dollar Tree for travel supplies. I stick to the name brands when it comes to food and toiletries and can score some great deals.
- Set of 6 plastic hangers - $1.00
- Sheet Grippers - $1.00. Since most RV's use a "short queen" size, these grippers will help the fitted sheet of our regular queen-sized sheets hug the mattress a bit better.
- 6-cavity muffin tin - $1.00
- Lint roller - $1.00
- Round hairbrush - $1.00
- Regular hairbrush - $1.00
- Plastic comb set - $1.00
- 2 Softsoap hand soaps @ $1.00 each
- Crest toothpaste - $1.00
- Colgate soft-bristled toothbrushes, 2-pack - $1.00
- Crest baby toothbrush - $1.00
- Johnson & Johnson dental floss - $1.00
- 2 shower poufs @ $1.00 each
- BPA-free infant flatware set - $1.00
- Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, and quart bags @ $1.00 each
- 2-pack kitchen sponge - $1.00
Dollar Tree Total: $22.00
Dick's Sporting Goods - while I was doing some serious bargain hunting, Matt did a lil' fun shopping at Dick's. I chuckled to myself when he showed up with the cast iron skillet. I knew he'd want one just for the camper. He loves his cast iron.
- 8-inch Lodge cast iron skillet - $9.99
- Coleman collapsible cooking fork - 2 for $4.48
Dick's Sporting Goods Total: $14.47
Amazon - Though I was able to find most of what I needed at bargain shops, there were still some must-have items that we needed and for those, I went to good ole Amazon.
- Corelle 16-piece dinnerware set - My one requirement for a set of camper dishes was that they be microwave safe. Though sets of reusable melamine dishes can be found for extremely cheap prices, they will melt in the microwave. Corelle is nice because the pieces feel like you're eating off of something more substantial than plastic but they can take a little more of a beating before chipping or breaking. You can find less expensive patterns if you hunt around at Far & Away, but I really liked these so I splurged.
- Outdoor dog pen - Because floor space is limited in the camper, we needed a safe place for Dexter and Dewey to play outside during the day without having to be tethered to a leash. This pen is fantastic because there is plenty of room for two corgis and it uses simple U-stakes to anchor it to the ground so they can't push it over.
- Low wattage hair dryer - Yeah yeah, go ahead and laugh, I'm taking a hair dryer camping. But hey, having the extra amenities is part of the fun of glamping, right? Though technically the camper can handle a full-sized blow dryer, I thought I'd play it safe and go with this smaller model that uses only 800 watts. The one I use at home is 1875 watts!
Save for loading up the pantry and fridge with our food and putting our clothes in the closets, we are ready to camp!
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