Last summer, I lived out of an ice chest, which was the one thing about living off-grid that could really become a drag at times. Having a bulky ice chest in the kitchen, slogging around in it to find the desired item, and having things get waterlogged is just no fun. Not to mention having to drag the thing to the bus steps every other day or so (at least it has wheels!) in order to drain the melted ice into a bucket.
The bus actually has a fridge, but of course, without electricity, it's not functional. Or so I just automatically assumed last summer. It smelled bad too, so I just kind of ignored it. After I moved back out to the land this year, for some reason I opened the fridge one day and discovered that the glass shelf in it was cold to the touch, and I thought, "Hey, maybe I could use this as a cooler." Duh, right? I mean, why did this never occur to me before?
Anyway, I cleaned it out, bought a dishpan to put bags of ice in, took out one of the rack shelves to accommodate the dishpan, and voila! I now have a much better way to store my cold food. For one thing, all my condiments can go in the door and no longer sink to the bottom of the ice chest where their labels disintegrate. For another, the ice lasts longer. And I no longer have a monstrous ice chest in the way (which is good, because now that I have an oven, there's a propane tank there instead. At least it doesn't take up as much space.)
Upgrade #2The bus bedroom consists of three benches in a horseshoe shape; last summer I put a twin size futon mattress on one of the benches to sleep on. I had to fold it up a bit so it would fit. It was fairly comfy but narrow, of course, and it would annoyingly slip down from its half-folded position and I'd have to prop it up again.
When I was getting ready to move back out to the land in the spring, I started putting some thought into how I could improve this system and realized that if I could place some kind of board the size of a full-size mattress over the benches, I'd be able to have a real bed. And then, just around that time, a friend of mine was getting rid of a full-size bunkie board (this is one of those boards that goes on a bunk bed, in case you didn't know). Perfect timing.
So now, I have a very comfy place to sleep, which makes all the difference in the world.