Write It Down - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Write It Down

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Installing a white board on the inside of a compartment door puts note-taking within reach when a smartphone just won’t do.

Unless you have a photographic mind with endless memory space, you’re going to have to write a note occasionally. Some say it’s an age thing, but heck, every smartphone and tablet has a note-taking app, so forgetting must be a universal problem. It’s easy to dictate notes into your smartphone, but there are times when it’s simply not handy — and reaching for a piece of paper and a pencil/pen these days can be almost comical. Ever ask a young person if he/she has a pen you can borrow? All you’ll probably get is a glazed look.

As an RVer, I like to keep track of when the holding tanks were dumped last since, as we all know, the monitors are practically useless. I also like keeping an RV “to-do” list and keep track of upcoming maintenance procedures. Rather than chasing a notebook, which seems to disappear frequently, I installed a white board on the inside of the storage compartment door nearest the utilities.

technician holds a 8 ½ x 11 inch white board from Office Depot

White boards in various sizes are commonly available online and at office supply stores. This product measures 8 ½ x 11 inches and was procured at Office Depot for $10. We found that the clip for the provided pen just got in the way when it came time to mounting the white board, so it was removed to allow the white board to be flush-mounted to the inside wall of the compartment door.

White boards are commonly found at office supply stores and there are dozens of them online. For my purposes, an 8 ½- x 11-inch white board found at Office Depot was large enough; the real writing surface is 7 11/16 x 10 3/16 inches, and that’s plenty big for my needs. These boards are relatively cheap, in price and quality — the one I got was $10 because it came with two magnets for hanging loose papers. It also came with mounting pads, which were cheesy and destined to fail under RV usage, so they were “round-filed” immediately.

Rather than hang the board to the inside of the cabinet door with two-face tape, I opted to use four screws and washers. Overkill, I know, but it stays put on the road. Simply find the appropriate length of self-tapping screws that will not go through the depth of the compartment door and small washers, then drill holes in each corner of the white board and tighten the screws carefully. There’s not much here, so it’s easy to blast right through the surface when using a screw gun; to be safe, use a screwdriver. The clip for the pen was junk and prevented the white board from lying flat against the compartment door, so it was removed and tossed. I just tuck the pen in the corner of the compartment shelf.

To write a note, the compartment door is lifted and the white board is there staring you in the face. It’s comfortable to take notes, and the messages can be wiped away when not needed any longer — but there is a rub, literally: the ink is erasable, so anything rubbing against the white board when the compartment door is closed has the potential to inadvertently erase the words.

technician marks a washers placement on a white board corner using the provided white board marker
technician drilling a hole into the white board corner using a screw gun

While it’s possible to use two-face tape to mount the white board, we decided to take a more permanent approach considering the bouncing around while on the road. Washers were positioned and marked to make sure they would clear the frame. Holes were then drilled in each corner to allow the screws we found in our parts box to rotate freely.

technician mounts the white board using self-tapping screws and a screw gun

Self-tapping screws made it easy to mount the white board against the inside of the compartment door. Washers were used to prevent the screws from penetrating the surface of the white board. Use caution when using a screw gun; the board is not very strong and the attachment surface is fairly thin.

There are two takeaways here: First you’ll be reminded of any notes every time you open the compartment door, so you’ll likely comply with what needs to be done. Second, you’ll have to delve into your Rube Goldberg book for creative ways to mount the white board if screws are not preferred. White boards can also be mounted inside the RV.

Happy note taking.

technician writes notes on the mounted white board using the provided white board marker

Notes are written on the white board surface with the provided pen, which has erasable ink. The ink can be removed with your hands, or better yet a soft rag. Just remember that anything rubbing against the board will likely remove the words. Two magnets were provided with the white board that can be used to hold loose paper to the surface — great for notes you need to take with you (say, for grocery shopping). If you open the compartment in a strong wind, however, the notes will likely take flight.

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