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The year was 1519 and Hernán Cortés, with some 600 Spaniards, 16 or so horses and 11 boats, had landed on a vast inland plateau called now known as Mexico.  Their single goal was to conquer the lands and claim riches over all the area had to offer.  Severely ill-equipped for the task of overpowering an empire so exten­sive in its ter­ri­to­ries, he and his team were thought to possess a death-wish.

Cortés was well-aware of this fact.  And it was for this rea­son, that he offered a simple speech to his followers:  “Burn the boats“.

The command was given to eradicate any notion of retreat and to make very real the level of commitment needed to secure vic­tory.  And with that act there was no turning back, failure was no longer an option.  By burning their ships, the sole means of escape was no more.  At that point forward they would need to claim victory or die.

How’s that for motivation?

two PODs with all our furniture

Our stuff

For the past year, Kelly and I maintained the two PODs pictured above.  Together, these simple wooden boxes contain nearly all our belongings currently not physically in Mabel – our Airstream home on wheels.  Each month we pay $100 dollars for the right to maintain this unused stuff in a giant warehouse somewhere unknown to us for the past year.   And with each payment we question the need to continue doing so.

We decided something had to give.  $1,200 dollars spent we were neither closer to using this stuff or eliminating the need to store it.

Yesterday we decided to purge.

But first, we needed to learn where the boxed were located.  How pathetic we only knew the city.

Just over 24 hours later, we’ve deposited what may be the most generous donation to the local Goodwill in recent years.  Other items will be donated to friends, while other remaining possessions are currently listed on Craigslist.  Let the dieting begin.

In our own way, we are burning the boats – these boxes which represent an unwanted safety net.  Directly or indirectly these damn boxes maintain the potential to undermine our commitment to live and travel full-time.  Letting go of this stuff is one step closer to unhindered freedom.  More, once we fully divest ourselves of this crap furnature, we immediately cease to waste $100 each month.  Trust me, I can think of many was to put that money to better use elsewhere.

And so with newfound enthusiasm to better our living situation, we set sights directly towards something that has been akin to a rock in our shoe – a rarely used, space consuming microwave.  Given our already limited pantry space, the cost benefit trade-offs of keeping this appliance simply didn’t seem worthwhile.  Consequently, the microwave found itself bundled in with the aforementioned Goodwill deposit.

Having seen a few pictures posted by others who have done similar modifications, I used those images as my blueprint in repurposing the space into what is now a nifty home for pots and pans.

Before the changes

Before the changes


Ensuring all the pieces fit to my liking


Painted and ready for action


Isn’t it pretty?

Not having any scrap wood handy, I dropped $7 bucks for some pine and another $10 for the paint.  If anyone reading post this happens to be a cabinet-maker or an avid woodworker, I’m sure you will find things to scrutinize in my work.  No matter.  Given the limited tools I had at my disposal, I’m quite happy with the outcome, even if it isn’t perfect.

All in all, a pretty straightforward and simple DIY project which also brings us one step closer to launch.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I came across this post while looking for some guidance on how to re-purpose the microwave pull out in our 2014 27FB International. We have exactly the same set up and no use for the microwave. We desperately want to gain the extra storage space by removing it.

    I like the look of your solution. How did you attach the pieces of pine to the original pull out? With long wood screws through the original base? Nice finished edges on the wood too. Did you cut them with a regular wood saw?

    I hope my efforts turn out to look as good as yours 🙂

    August 28, 2014
  2. HI Lain –
    Sorry for the delayed reply … I’ve been in deep in the woods with no internet access the past couple days.

    Thanks for the compliments. If you have little usage for the microwave, I would highly recommend the modification, as the extra storage space has been a big gain for us.

    The new wood pieces are are secured through the (original) bottom base of the pull-out. To access, I simply removed the slide pulls and re-attached afterwards. The process is straightforward, however I wasn’t able to anchor the new wood pieces exactly where I wanted, as doing so would have interfered with the slider. Initially, I was a bit worried about durability, but the pieces have been rock solid.

    You’ll note that I dropped a ‘false’ floor into the mix, cut to fit inside the new walls. I was hesitant to completely deconstruct the cabinet … just in case we decided to re-install another microwave. I also debated whether to cut both sides of the pullout to the same height. In the end, I opted to cut the near sidewall about 1/2 shorter thank the side close to the curtain wall … and I’m really happy I did. The added space for the pot/pan handles has been so handy.

    Finally, I completed the construction on a whim, which in my case meant limited tools. All the cuts were made with a jigsaw, so the cuts are not as clean as I could have done with a table saw or chop saw. In the end, a bit of sandpaper, coupled with caulk and white paint hid the blemishes enough for me.

    All in, a very easy modification. Good luck with your project. _dave

    September 2, 2014
  3. Hey Dave,

    It’s taken me more than a few days to respond!! We’ve been busy traveling across Oregon to Idaho and beyond. Anyway, thanks for the details on your construction. I had already pressed ahead and it looks like we both attacked the project the same way. I didn’t think to finish the rough edges with caulk but am happy with how it has turned out otherwise. It’s been a couple weeks now since we’ve had the new space and we have not regretted it one bit.

    Cheers – Iain

    September 9, 2014

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