The RV is an amazing machine. It’s a house on wheels that allows us to roam the country free from ties to hotels; plus, we can enjoy a lot more comfort than we would be able to trying to camp our way across America. RVs are comfortable, fun ways to see the world, but one of the problems with using them is finding ways to make the best use of such limited space. If you love your camper but hate having to work out where to put everything, you should try out some RV storage solutions; they’ll make your camper experience much more fun.
WHAT IS RV STORAGE?
One of the great things about an RV is that you can take your home around with you, and unfortunately, one of the worst things about an RV is that you can take your home around with you. RV storage is by nature limited, yet these camper vans and motor homes are usually so much larger than vans, cars, and trucks. It’s easy to think we can basically stick anything in them, but that’s where we tend to run into trouble.
How Much Space Have I Got?
This is going to depend on the type of camper you get. The term “RV” covers a wide variety of style and size options. Some are small enough to fit on the bed of a large pickup truck, some are towed by a normal vehicle, some drive themselves, and some are so large you can tow a van or truck with them. Obviously, the bigger the motor home, the more RV storage you have to play with.When you buy your RV you’ll want to take some things into consideration as you think about space issues. These can include:
- How far do I expect to travel at a time?
- How many people will be going?
- How often will I stop?
- What type of facilities will I seek out for stops?
- How many “seasons” will I go through in one drive?
- How many kids under 15 will be coming along?
- Do I have any special items to bring? (such as medical devices)
- How many “side trips” do I plan to make, and what special gear might I need?
Where Is the Space in an RV?
You can basically expect to find space in the following areas of your basic motor home:
- Living room
- “Basement” or outside storage
Obviously, you’ll want to keep certain things in certain spaces. You’ll place bathroom items in the bathroom, cooking utensils near the kitchen, maps or coins for tolls in the upfront area, and things like dirt bikes or camping chairs attached to the outside or stored underneath.
IS THERE A NEED FOR RV STORAGE TECHNIQUES?
It’s important to have a plan before you set up your RV and get it ready for a long trip. Here are a few things you should do before you begin storing:
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING
There’s nothing worse than starting a storage process and thinking you’ve got plenty of room only to find out at the end that you’re swiftly running out of space for things you didn’t realize you’d need. Make sure you consult with everyone coming on the trip so you don’t forget that someone absolutely NEEDS storage for things they want to bring along. You never know what items your crew will want to bring with them.
Yes, this is the hard part, but you really don’t need to bring your entire home with you. Are there three of you going on the trip? You simply don’t need 12 plates and 18 cups. You need one drinking cup and one mug for each person, and you need a maximum of six plates (three small and three large). Better yet, just commit to washing between every usage and using a mug for all drinks, hot and cold. Then you’re down to just three cups and plates total.
Neglecting to clean regularly means that stuff will start to pile up. Before you know it, your RV could be awash in so much clutter that there’s a serious risk of losing a small child in it. Additionally, if you commit to just a 10 to 20 minutes daily clean-up, you’ll never have to spend an entire day of your vacation cleaning (and possibly fighting, too). Make a schedule, assign people different jobs, and keep to it.
“ONE IN, ONE OUT”
This rule means that once the camper is loaded up, you never bring a new thing into it unless you’ve taken an old thing out. If you find the perfect mug on your travels, throw out the one with the crack in the handle before you put the new one in the kitchen. It means that when you fall in love with a particular bamboo bath sheet on one of your shopping trips, you throw out a thin “travel towel.”
HOW TO CREATE RV STORAGE YOURSELF
Even if you’ve followed all of the tips outlined above, you’re still going to need to apply some creativity and ingenuity to make the most of your limited RV storage. With that in mind, here are some RV storage tips that you can easily implement in your camper no matter what size it is.
UTILIZE UNNOTICED SPACE
In the kitchen, put some metal sheeting on the underside of cabinets and shelves. Then, put magnets on your cutting board, knives, and other relatively flat items that can be stuck up under the cabinets easily. In the bathroom, try putting in a simple over-the-cabinet door hanger that can hold a trash can or an organizer full of cleaning supplies.Finally, don’t forget the walls. There is a lot of wall space in an RV, and a simple pegboard or some wall-mounted magnet strips will let you put almost anything you can imagine on the walls, freeing up space in cabinets and on the floor.
SPACE WITHIN SPACE
You should also get in the habit of noticing unused space within used space. Most of your cabinets are probably rectangles; there’s plenty of space near the top that won’t get used unless you pile things high (which means it’s hard to get at the stuff on the bottom). It’s a much smarter move to use storage bins or baskets to make the most of every inch of that space while still making it easy to access each bin.Wherever you’ve got any shelving or cabinets, you’ve also got a place to stick hooks. Those hooks give you a great place to hang jackets, towels, drying clothes, or anything else that will stick to them. You can use small tension rods for curtains to make more space on your shelves. Just put them in vertically and you’ve made “walls” on the shelves that make them a lot better for storing plates, cutting boards, books, or anything similar.
There are plenty of ways to add some storage to existing space and make it more useful. Get, or sew your own, storage headboard. It should go at the head of the bed and will be able to hold all kinds of bedtime-use items that you’d like to take along. You can also use it as a window curtain if you prefer.
Also, don’t forget your ceiling. Whether you’re talking about the ceiling of the RV or just the ceiling of a cabinet, installing the right brackets will let you put all kinds of things up there and completely out of the way. There’s no better place to keep the broom, an umbrella, a tire iron or hatchet, or anything else you might need.
People are going to walk in the door and want to drop things. That’s just the way it is, and that’s why most homes have a mudroom or other place for people to throw their stuff. In the limited space of an RV, this habit can become chaotic very quickly. Stop it before it starts by installing a small space where people can hang and toss small items right by the door.
Don’t forget these important space-saving beauties. They are available in nearly every length and width you could ask for, and you can get them on Amazon, in Walmart, or almost any craft supply stores across the nation. Hang them from the walls, in the closets, or suspended from the ceiling to make more space for storing stuff.
UNPACK THE FOOD
Food in cans is fine until you open one, but if you don’t use it all right away, how do you store it? Invest in stackable, airtight containers. As another example, boxes of cereal can take up a lot less space when decanted into an airtight plastic container. Measure your space and see how many of these you can get and what arrangement works best for your cabinets.
RV storage is limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of what you’ve got. Make sure you’re only taking what you actually need, make time every day to do some cleaning, and never bring new things in without removing an old thing. These simple practices will help keep your living space neat and tidy. Then, use your imagination to make the most of extra space, unseen space, and all of the hidden areas where you’ve got room in your RV.