Toy haulers are pretty common in the Fulltime Families world and for good reason. You often get higher cargo carrying capacities and you get a room that is a blank slate. We started with a bunkhouse fifth wheel and it treated us wonderfully for 6 1/2 years. 3 of those, we went on weekend and week+ long trips. But for the last 2 1/2 years of ownership, we were fulltime. While the bunkhouse worked out, the living room wasn’t good, the pantry small, and well- we were overloading the rig to the point of frame failure.
Every good remodel project starts with demolition, right? Ours was very simple: we removed the lower benches from the HappiJac bed lift. They fold down and make into a bed. Removing them was pretty straight forward. We ended up giving them to another family who wants to custom build out a trailer. No idea how that ever turned out, but they took the benches.
Secondly, we found a buyer for the rear patio steps. They were big, heavy, and bulky. I honestly never saw us using them and I’m too lazy to move something for every travel day.
Being the bunk room, we had a lot of requirements that we needed to fill:
- Sleeping space for 2 kids
- Dresser space for the kids (could be shared)
- Toy and game storage
- Storage for school materials + supplies
- Sleeping space for 2 adults (my in-laws join us regularly)
- Storage for the guest bedding materials
- Work space for my wife’s budding Traveling Creations business
- Washer/dryer (the hookups are in the garage)
Fixing the Floor
My father-in-law built a triangle platform to fill in the ramp area at the rear of the garage. Before he built this area up, we used LynxLevelers for the various pieces of furniture with varying degrees of success. They really do have a million uses!
Once the floor was done, we added 2 matching carpets from IKEA. They are super plush, soft, and nice. They’re kind of a pain to clean and LEGOs get lost. But hey, it looks pretty and feels great!
Making a Bedroom
Sleeping Space for 2 Kids
From touring other families’ rigs, we had seen one setup that we particularly liked. They took the upper part of the HappiJac bed and made separate twin beds by extending the platform using plywood. We did this and went to a local mattress store to let my daughter pick out the shortest but most comfortable mattress. The kids are beyond ecstatic with the new found comfort.
This gives the kids their own space. We let them pick their own Beddy’s Bedding and decorate the walls on either side.
My daughter designed and we built a shared side table between the two beds. It has drawers on both sides, one for each of them. It was done after the video recording in the video. But it’s amazing and works really well for them.
From here out, IKEA is going to be the name of the game…
Shared Dresser Space
The dresser is just a standalone 6-drawer dresser. I was slow to secure it to the wall and we had a couple of calamities after travel days. To secure it, I used L-brackets screwed into the top of the dresser and then I pop-riveted it to the wall.
The kids also hang some clothing in our upstairs closet that’s shared with the family hamper.
Toys and Games Storage
The kids only use the top 4 drawers of the dresser for clothes. The bottom two are used for various games. (To save space with board games, we throw away the boxes and bag up the pieces.)
We secured this to the wall using a 2×4 to give it some space from the window frame so the day/night shade can still be raised and lowered. I screwed through the side of the shelf into the 2×4 and then used L-brackets and screws into the wall.
We have school supplies in a couple of places. We hung a pair of IKEA wall cabinets. We use baby appliance locks to secure the doors for travel.
Additionally, we have an access to our loft area from the garage. This is via 2 nice sliding doors. My wife and daughter put a set of plastic drawer units to line up with the door. It works perfectly, but you do need to get on the ladder to get to anything up there. Thank goodness for teenage kids!
Sleep Space for Guests
As I said earlier, this is the room that IKEA built. We picked up a sofa bed from them. The nice part is that it has built-in storage underneath. We use this for the bedding materials and it’s my daughter’s secret library.
It’s not your typical sleeper sofa that the whole bed pulls out. This one, you sort of pull the seat of the couch outward and the flip the back down. It gives you a full queen-size bed. Without pulling the sofa out, if you remove the back cushions, you get a twin-size sleeping area. It works well for sleeping 1 or 2 adults.
The comfort level is so-so. We did add a mattress topper to make the sleeping area more comfortable. And we can fold it in half when it’s setup as a twin mattress.
Also for guests, we’ve added a pair of hanging organizers that fold down to nothing when not in use. This gives them a place for clothes, shoes, and whatnots.
When it’s not a bed, we use the couch as a hang out for the kids to let them have their own space.
Wife’s Craft Space
When we first started shopping for toy haulers, my wife told me that she wanted a dedicated craft space. I assured her she would get it … right until I started walking some of the garages and started envisioning all of the uses for the space. Honestly, I didn’t see how it would work. She won with IKEA to the rescue (noticing a theme here?).
She found a nice desk that the top folds down to a workspace and then closes to hid the clutter. The bottom is storage. As I said, it came from IKEA but appears to be no longer available. It’s a shame, it would work equally as well as a desk for kids or even a working adult.
The washer/dryer hookups are in the garage, so we didn’t have a whole lot of say in that. We brought in a couple of stacking plastic drawers (way back to our pop-up days!) and these work excellently beside of the washer/dryer. We keep the detergent and fabric softener on top. Inside holds a couple of pieces for our Wii and misc. items for when we make laundromat trips.
In addition, we added a couple of closet rods to the underside of the bunks.
Otherwise, we have the TV back there with a Roku for streaming and we’ve added the Wii (yeah, we’re super up to date in our gaming system!).
For the 1/2 bathroom that is back there… it was a bit lacking in storage even after my daughter modified the cabinet under the sink on move-in day! We added a set of 3 lockers from above the door. These have given us a great space for toilet paper and extra paper towels.
I did have to move the light because the lockers blocked it a good bit. To do that, I pulled the trim down from around the fan and fished a new power wire as far over on the ceiling as I could. I cut a new hole for it to come out and moved the light. I used a round blank white piece to cover up the hole left behind.
And lastly, I can’t end the post without mentioning the ladder that my father-in-law built for us. It’s incredible and so much better than what we could find for sale. Sturdy for even me to climb up it! And easy on the feet.
So there you have it, our toy hauler garage!