CALM THE CLUTTER: RV STORAGE SOLUTIONS AND ORGANIZATION
The majority of RV interiors have been designed with organization in mind. There are usually ample cabinets, dressers and compartments under the furniture. Not to mention the storage bays accessed from the outside of the RV. Even with all the space, a little extra organization can go a long way. Not only will you make the most of your space, you won’t have to worry about finding this or that thing or battling clutter (trust me I know about this one!) because everything will have its place.
So let’s go through the RV room by room and talk storage solutions and organization. I’ll share my real photos here and some things I’ve learned from the RV community at large. Of course, I’d love to hear about your storage solutions in the comments below!
In most RVs the kitchen and living area is combined into one space. Our kitchen and living area is the heart of our RV. It’s where we gather for food, conversation, games, and entertainment. Often Brent or I will prepare food while the rest of the family sits and chats with us. Having this area organized not only makes food preparation easier, it contributes to a warm and welcoming space the whole family can enjoy.
While our RV came with plenty of cabinets, much of the space inside the cabinets was wasted because there weren’t shelves, just a big open space. Adding an extra shelf or two greatly increased the space and makes it easier to put things away.
LEFT: We added a wire shelf to give us more room in our kitchen cabinets. (Note: We’ve been using Corelle dishes for 4 years on the road without any breakage.)
RIGHT: C. Baksteen uses plastic baskets with handles to keep cupboards clutter-free and keep things within easy reach. No more digging in the back of the cabinets for her!
For an extra simple storage solution, consider expandable adjustable shelves to give you a little more room to organize your kitchen cabinets and countertops.
LEFT: C. Baksteen uses an adjustable corner shelf and basket above her sink to make the most of her countertop space.
RIGHT: Adjustable and expandable shelf From Amazon
Help dishes stay in place while en route to your next adventure with no slip shelving liner. It’s an easy and affordable way to keep things in their place.
Save space with glasses, dishes, and kitchenware that nest inside of each other. I love this Joseph Joseph set of mixing bowls, strainers, and measuring cups all tucked away in one handy bowl.
Some RVs have an extra narrow or short cabinet space. Using extra short or slim containers can be really helpful to make use of the space. The containers above are from Ikea and allow us to make use of the extra slim cabinets next to our fridge.
Everyone should have spices on hand for flavor but the glass bottles can quickly get unruly without a system in place.
LEFT: Spice gripper clip strips from Amazon
TOP MIDDLE: Ditch the glass bottles all together like C. Michaels and store spices in small-labeled ziplock bags.
BOTTOM MIDDLE: Many RVers like S. Lende are fans of the DIY magnetic spice racks. She found an old pie tin for the magnetic spice jars to stick on. She says they stay in place while traveling down the road.
TOP RIGHT: Our spice rack from World Market above our stove.
BOTTOM RIGHT: C. Baksteen puts her spices in small drawers. The spices are labeled for easy identification.
Have you ever noticed those thin, vertical slots above your stove? For the longest time, I thought they were vents. Then one day someone told me they were knife storage slots. Your RV probably has storage solutions you can use right now!
To make the most use of space in the living room, consider purchasing baskets or storage bins to stow things in cabinets, under furniture, and on shelves. Storage bins can get an unruly shoe pile under control or be a great place for extra toys, blankets and craft items for those rainy days.
If you have a dinette with storage under the bench seats, boxes are a simple fix to keep things in check under the cushions. My friend, C. Baksteen, is a little fancier than I and uses canvas crates for extra storage underneath her table benches.
I know many of us wish for an endless summer but even during the summer you’re bound to need a jacket and, if you are winter warriors, then you’ll need to pack heavy coats. If your RV has a coat closet you are good to go but if it doesn’t, consider hanging a coat rack on an empty wall. We hung this one from Ikea to the right of our front door. It keeps jackets and hats out of the way and easy to find.
I think we should all just go barefoot instead of fighting the never-ending battle to keep shoes under control. However, that’s probably not a good idea especially if you love winter RVing like us. I asked a bunch of fellow RVers to share some picture of their shoe storage solutions and this is what I got.
TOP LEFT: J. Hyde uses the Ikea Trones cabinets to keep shoes in one place.
BOTTOM LEFT: As you can see, the Trones are a favorite among RVers. E. Thomas uses the same cabinet but different color. Trones also make a great little extra shelf.
TOP MIDDLE: C. Murray mounted a small shoe rack to the end of one of their cabinets.
BOTTOM MIDDLE: The C. Boyink family built a clever shoe storage rack out of PVC pipe.
TOP RIGHT: The Ticknor family built a shoe storage cabinet by the door in the back of their toy hauler.
BOTTOM LEFT: J. Miles modified a shoe bag and attached it to the inside of her screen door. Brilliant!
Nobody wants to sleep in a cluttered room. By keeping clutter to a minimum your bedroom will stay as relaxing as the rest of your RVing trip.
Keep bedroom clutter at bay with extra baskets that can be used as a catch-all, for accessories, or, in our case, for baby clothes and diapers. Baskets for the win again!
If your RV has under the bed storage consider vacuum bags for extra bedding and towels. Don’t have a vacuum? Then hang on to those vinyl bags that new bedding comes packaged in. They won’t be as compact as the vacuum compressed ones but they will keep things tidy under your bed.
Need to make some room in the closet? Consider using space saving hangers. I prefer the flocked ones so my clothes don’t slip off. The only downside to these hangers is they do tend to break easier than plastic ones, but as long as you don’t jerk clothes out of the closet they work great! (Note: I recently bought a box of 35 of these from Costco for $8!)
Perhaps you would prefer not to use hangers at all. In that case, check out the pull-out drawers and shelves with baskets my friend, C. Baksteen uses, in her RV. It keeps her closet organized and clothing accessible.
Our RV came with factory installed wall netting in the bunkroom. I was skeptical at first but it has turned out to be a great solution for some larger more awkward items that won’t fit in the closets like the boys’ hydration packs and Rock Band guitars.
A similar one can be found on Amazon.
Don’t forget the humble, over-the-door-shoe-holder like this one from Amazon. Shoe holders can be used to store much more than shoes. Use it for accessories, toiletries, personal items, toys, pet supplies, and travel keepsakes. You are only limited by the size of the pockets and those can be modified as we saw in the living room. Our boys keep hats, belts, scarves, gloves, and a few shoes in theirs.
A favorite bathroom storage solution for RVers are the Ikea Bygel containers. They are inexpensive, versatile and keep clutter to a minimum in small spaces like bathrooms.
LEFT: In our old RV I hung the Bygel containers next to the bathroom sink. Each person got his or her own for personal items.
TOP RIGHT: They come in many different colors from Ikea.
BOTTOM RIGHT: S. Lende hangs them from bars under the towel shelf in her RV.
Another popular bathroom organizational tool for RVers are color-coded towels for each member in the family.
LEFT: Our color-coded towels hanging from our factory installed towel rack and shelf.
RIGHT: The Ticknors (a family of 10!) finds this system especially useful for their large family! They hung individual hooks for each person’s towel.
Still short of storage in the bathroom? Just like in a house, an over the door towel rack can help keep towels, robes, and other items off the floor.
Our last RV had one small bathroom as opposed to the two larger bathrooms we have in our current RV. To make a little more space in the bathroom cabinets, I made a little “vanity” on an empty wall space just outside the bathroom using hanging canvas baskets and an old mirror. Not only did it help keep clutter down in the bathroom, it helped free it up quicker for others to get ready. 🙂
I hope you got an idea or two. I know I did while I was writing this post! Now I want to know about you! How do you save space in your RV? Any organizational tips to share?