The Great Drawer Dilemma

Owning a travel trailer comes with all of the joys and pains that go along with traditional home ownership. However, unlike a traditional home, the travel trailer bounces around which puts unique stresses on everything. One of the things that drove our decision to purchase our Micro Lite 21FBRS was the amount of storage – especially in the kitchen. In addition to two small drawers for utensils and such, there are two deep drawers perfect for holding pots and pans and other larger miscellany. However, those large drawers have been problematic from the beginning.

Opening a drawer in your traditional home is simple, you place your hand on the drawer knob and pull. Easy peasy. Opening a drawer in a travel trailer requires a bit of a tug; that extra bit of tension is required in order to (usually) keep the drawers from bouncing open when on the road. Early into our travels with Serenity (our 21FBRS) I kept finding pieces of “stuff” in the bottom drawer. Obviously, something was malfunctioning, but what? The what became clearer when the top drawer got harder and harder to open. It turned out that the drawer slide on the top drawer was failing and that where the random pieces were coming from. Kenn replaced the drawer slide and we thought that was that. Wrong.

During one of our last trips, I was getting ready to cook supper but I couldn’t get the bottom drawer open. Without the pots and pans in that drawer, no cooking transpires. I assumed something in the drawer had shifted, preventing it from opening. Wrong again.

It turned out that the bottom of the drawer had collapsed. We had to remove the top drawer in order to empty the bottom drawer and then wrestle it out of the cabinet. In order to save weight, many drawers and such in travel trailers and rvs are made from thin wood veneers; while these materials are lighter, they aren’t always sturdy. Kenn has already replaced the “floor” of the closet next to our fridge because it broke during my month-long stay in SC earlier this year.

Rather than tack the chintzy bottom of the drawer back in place, Kenn decided to just rebuild the entire drawer out of plywood. Once that was done he decided to go ahead and rebuild the other drawer as well instead of waiting for it to fail at some future date. While the new and improved drawers should last for years to come they have created issues of their own. Due to the increased weight of the drawers, new slides were required along with some sort of mechanism to keep the drawers closed while traveling.

The first device Kenn purchased to secure the drawers didn’t work out, but we had a weekend trip planned. As a temporary alternative he installed some childproof/cat proof latches of the same type we use on our kitchen cabinets in The Cabin. (Our kids are grown, but Nyx, our black cat, is fixated on the kitchen cabinets and refuses to leave them alone.) However, the latches were not strong enough to contain the drawers. Fortunately, we always stop a few miles from the house to attach the weight distribution hitch so we discovered the problem with the latches early on. Cue the arguing.

If you want to stress test your marriage, or if you just like stress, buy a travel trailer! I’m convinced that getting a camper backed into a site has led to the demise of more than one marriage. Kenn and I don’t argue much, but when we do it’s more than likely going to deal with navigation or something to do with the travel trailer. When we discovered that the existing latches weren’t going to keep the drawers secured, my recommendation was to just remove the drawers, leaving the contents in place, and put them in the bed of the truck. Kenn wanted to use bungee cords to secure the drawers to the faucet. This was a big NOPE from me. One of the first thing we did after buying Serenity was to replace the default kitchen faucet with a nice gooseneck faucet with a pull-down sprayer. I didn’t want to get several miles down the road only to find that not only were the drawers not secure but that we also had to replace the faucet. Basically, I wanted to err on the side of caution. After several rounds of both of us repeating ourselves, Kenn emptied the drawer contents into a container and then stored the container and the drawers in the bed of the truck. This in turn was followed by several uncomfortable hours of little to no communication. You’d think after thirty-six years of marriage, we would have learned how to argue. Not so much.

A permanent solution for securing the drawers is still in the works. Kenn has some industrial strength magnets on order so we’ll find out how well those work on our next trip. Once the drawer issue is resolved we need to figure out why the oven door insists on being cattywampus and why the stove burners keep falling off.

How do you keep disagreements from turning into arguments/pouting?