How you organize your belongings and store them in your RV them will make all the difference in how you’ll succeed in living the RV lifestyle. Because, there’s simply no room for clutter and disorganization in small spaces. So, using these RV organization and storage tips and ideas, your RV lifestyle will be less chaotic and more rewarding.
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RV Organization and Storage: How to Organize Your RV
Growing up, serving in the military with constant PCS transfers, we know all too well the importance of keeping everything organized and stowed properly.
Now, as full-time RVers, we’ve literally come full circle to appreciating space is a precious commodity. After all, we live in compressed tiny homes less than the size of some people’s walk-in closets. Which means, all of our belongings need to be organized and stored just like we had to on the ships we were stationed on.
Keeping small spaces free of clutter and tidy keeps us from constantly moving things. But also, keeping everything stowed properly will allow us more time to enjoy the RV lifestyle instead of trying to remember exactly where you put them or constant rearranging.
Transitioning from Home to Home-on-Wheels
While waiting for our sticks and bricks house to sell, we had to downsize quickly by selling, donating, giving away and trashing everything else. Seriously, how were we going to fit everything from our 3600 square foot house into a 350 square foot RV?
So, let’s look into how I utilized some RV organization and storage tips without sacrificing the possessions we really need.
Read about how we downsized in our Full-Time RVing: 8 Tips for Getting Rid of Your Stuff.
Minimize Our Belongings
Our RV organization and storage process started with minimizing our possessions. Even after moving our belongings into our RV, we still found ourselves pairing down even more because once we started filling those cabinets, we still had a bunch of stuff leftover.
We’d ask ourselves, “Do we really need a hair dryer?” “Would we really need an iron and ironing board?” Or, “Why do we need 8 place settings when it’s just the two of us?” You get the picture.
“GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It is the maximum loaded weight of your vehicle (or trailer), as determined by the manufacturer.”
Then, as every RV owner should, we seriously needed to take our RV GVWR seriously. So, my favorite heavy crock casserole dishes? NOPE! My brand new heavy cast iron campfire cooking set? HIT THE ROAD! Three extra thick blankets and comforters? BUH BYE!
So, I packed them in a few empty boxes to later discard what we didn’t need (more like ‘couldn’t have’) to be hauled off to storage, donate or sell.
Prioritize, Categorize and Organize
Once I’ve paired down and kept what we absolutely needed or wanted for our upcoming full-time RV living, it was time to organize it all. I separated and created separate piles; electronic and tech gadgets, extra linens, kitchen items, household essentials, tools and gadgets, etc. This allowed me to then, see how much of each category we had to put away in our RV.
I’d then prioritize them by usage. I planned for items that are used less often to be stored in the harder-to-reach cabinets. And, of course, the lower cabinets would be for essentials used everyday or more frequently.
Each item is strategically stored. My cooking essentials are kept in or very close to the kitchen. Our RV travel books and maps are kept in the cabinets over the recliners for easy reach. And extra linens and blankets are stored cabinets above the sofa.
Measure your storage spaces
Once I’ve figured out what would go into each cabinet, I’d measure the inside of the cabinet (height x width x depth). I’d take into account of shelf lips and hinges that may extend. I’d then see what I was storing and decide whether I wanted one big basket or multiple smaller baskets.
I’d log the measurements in my phone. Then, I’d have those measurements everywhere I’d go. Then, if I’m out shopping and happen upon some interesting baskets, badabing! I’d also keep a small sewing tape measure in our truck or my pocketbook so I could measure baskets if their tag didn’t already have the measurements labeled.
Now, keep in mind, square or rectangular straight-sided baskets are the best for drawer and cabinet storage. I’d want to utilize every inch I could. I didn’t want baskets that tapered to the bottom. That would just be lost storage space.
I’ve found the best containers to store your belongings in your cabinets and drawers should be lightweight yet sturdy. And, handles will make for easy grabbing, removing and carrying.
Also, I prefer ones that are soft so they don’t scratch or damage your cabinets or drawers as you pull them out or put them back in. You can get extra large baskets to for laundry, blankets and linens, toys and any other items you may wish to store. We use the extra large rope baskets to store seasonal clothing or dry stores up in our cab over bunk.
And, for more uniform storage, cube storage bins are also great for bigger cabinets.
If you prefer, tight-weave with sturdy inserts are also great so nothing falls out through any holes. Those stiff duck cloth or canvas storage baskets with rope handles are perfect because they hold their shape and have a longer handle making it easy-grabbing from higher cabinets. Plus, they look so stylish and cute even if they are visible.
Anytime you need to get something out of the cabinets, simply pull out your basket. No more getting smacked in the face by things falling out. And, it just makes it easier to organize your belongings by keeping them in separate baskets instead of jamming everything in the cabinet itself.
If possible, I get the same baskets for all of the cabinets. It makes for a tidy and clean appearance when opening our cabinets.
Now, if you prefer stylish storage boxes, here’s some ideas. Click on each image for exact measurements and information:
Cabinet Organization and Storage
We designate separate cabinets for all of our gear. We try to categorize them. For example, we designate one cabinet for our battery storage box, small USB-powered fans, small dehumidifier, travel maps and brochures, and even some holiday decorations. And of course, I’d need a designated place to store goodies we pick up for our Grandson.
Of course, we all have those items that are just too awkward to store into baskets. Yet, we still had to figure out a way to keep them secure in their respective cabinets without tumbling out when pulling or driving our RV down the road.
So, to remedy that, we bought extension curtain rods to insert between the adjacent walls inside towards the door of the cabinet. In fact, we bought one for almost every cabinet.
Sometimes, depending on what was in each cabinet, I may insert two or three. I use these especially for upper cabinets or those containing bottles, glasses or breakables that may tip over or fall out.
Spring Tension Curtain Rod Adjustable Length for Kitchen, Bathroom, Cupboard, Wardrobe, Window, Bookshelf DIY Projects:
You can also use extension rods for other areas in your RV as well. We use them in our refrigerator to prevent jars and bottles from bouncing around and falling out when opening the refrigerator door.
Oh, if you have books, magazines, travel brochures and folders to store in your cabinets, these book and folder organizers keep them upright.
Drawer Organizers and Storage
Drawer storage is treated similar to our cabinet storage but on a much smaller scale. Most drawers are typically in the RV kitchen. So, those are reserved for cooking utensils, kitchen knives and other small kitchen essentials.
Again, we take measurements of the insides including height. There are a few drawer organizers that are perfect for storing your RV kitchen gadgets and cooking utensils.
Here are some drawer storage organizers that may fit in your RV. Click each for specific details and measurements:
That’s a wrap on RV storage and organization
So, what did you think of those RV organization and storage tips? Think you could do it without losing your sanity? Of course you can! With these simple tips on how to keep your RV organized, you’ll have more time enjoying your adventures rather than looking for things.
Though we have mastered the whole tiny living thing, we still work on it every day. We admit, it’s sometimes challenging to live the minimalistic lifestyle. We have to stay organized or our RV experience will be miserable. And who wants that?
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