How to Organize RV Storage Space
If you live full-time in your RV you will want to make the most of your space by utilizing wall space and maximizing existing storage space. You have already downsized from a home or an apartment to an RV; assuming you have already reduced your belongings to the bare necessities, let’s begin with some suggestions for space saving ideas that work well for one of the most lived in rooms in your RV, the bedroom.
The Bedroom Clothes Hamper
RVs seldom have a dirty clothes hamper. Maybe you put your dirty clothes in a mesh laundry bag and store it in the shower or possibly you simply throw them on a pile in the corner. Well here is an idea for that corner.
Purchase a kitchen cabinet front from a home center or surplus store. You can easily find one to match the cabinetry in your RV. Turn it upside down so the top cross board serves as the kick plate and spans the corner. Use spacer boards to frame the sides. You could also buy a corner cabinet and cut a hole in the top. Then find a nice piece of natural wood with an attractive grain and cut it to fit the top of the cabinet and place snugly in the corner. Attach hinges, smooth the edges and stain the wood and it becomes a table top.
Now you have a nice corner hamper with a hinged lid to drop clothes into and a door in the front for easy clothing removal on wash day. It also doubles as bed table or lamp stand, and a nice piece of furniture is so much classier than a pile of dirty clothes in your bedroom corner.
Those nice big closets with the double sliding doors are great if you hang all your clothes. If you’re like me, you’ve discovered that socks and underwear don’t work well on hangers so here is another great bedroom storage idea.
Go to Walmart and purchase three white plastic, rolling, 3-drawer units with the see-through drawers. Take off the casters and stack all three units on top of each other. Bolt or clamp the units together and you have a 9-drawer dresser for the one side of your closet. These drawers are great for socks, underwear, pajamas, t-shirts and jeans.
For the other side of the closet you can purchase, also at Walmart, white plastic shelf units easily assembled to fit your closet height. These shelves can store anything from extra bedding, cleaning supplies, to seasonal items like fans and heaters, anything that needs a shelf.
You can also use heavy duty velcro and fasten white storage crates to the shelves to secure them while traveling. Fill them with anything that needs to be stored. These white plastic units are also light weight so they won’t add weight to your RV like wood or particle board will. Remember, weight is critical when living in an RV.
The space between the two sides of the closet can still be used for items that need to be hung. We personally have opted to use the space in our bedroom closet that was designated for a washer and dryer as storage space. We live full time in our RV and all our earthly possessions travel with us in our rolling home so space is at a premium.
Under the Bed Storage
Instead of throwing shoes, slippers and sneakers on the floor around the bed, why don’t you hang them from the bed with a canvas shoe organizer that fastens to the bed frame? The bed comforter will hang down past the organizer and the shoes will be tidy and out of sight. Lift the bed and all of your off-season clothes can be easily stored in space bags, flat as a pancake, one on top of another in the underbed storage compartment. It’s surprising how many clothing items will fit in one or two space bags.
If your bedroom television is mounted in a cabinet from the ceiling you may be able to remove the large older model and replace it with a new flat screen TV. Use the space behind the television to store toilet paper, tissues and paper towels.
One last space saving tip I have for the bedroom is utilize your wall space with fancy brass or wrought iron hooks or even old door knobs if you prefer, and hang your bath robe, belts or purse. Get those things off the floor and neatly put away on that lonely, empty wall.
A room in close proximity to the bedroom is the bathroom. Some RV bathrooms are large and spacious, however, some are not. What we’ve done is added a wall rack over the toilet that holds our extra towels, similar to the ones used in hotel bathrooms. This towel holder frees up a drawer that can be used to store other things. We have also added an over the door, triple towel rack to hang wet towels.
A decorative hook to hang a robe by the shower is within arm’s reach. Last but definitely not least, to make a small bathroom space seem larger, what we do is close our bedroom door and open our bathroom door. This enlarges the small bathroom space, and the hallway serves as a very nice dressing area.
Rules to Live by When You Live in an RV
- If you get it out, put it away.
- If you dirty it, clean it.
- If you buy something, get rid of something.
- If you haven’t used it in the past year, you won’t miss it so don’t keep it.
Organizing RV Storage Space
How to organize a small space such as an RV can sometimes be a tricky task. Knowing the layout of the unit and keeping images and logs of supplies will save time and energy by not having to dig through cabinets or flip up seat cushions to find something.
Create an RV Binder
When traveling away from home, having the necessary documents on hand will help RVers avoid stress and frustration in the case of an emergency or when trying to keep a fully stocked trailer or motorhome. Keeping everything organized in a 3-ring binder will make the information easy to find and refer to when needed.
Items to keep in an RV binder include:
- packing/clothing checklist
- food/grocery checklist
- supply checklist
- maintenance receipts
- insurance information
- campground reservations and contact details
- activity flyers
- emergency phone numbers
- a drawing of interior spaces
- inventory list of onboard supplies
Sketch or Print a Layout of Interior Spaces
It doesn’t take an artist to get a general idea of how the inside of an RV is set up. The important thing is having a picture to reference when organizing, not the quality of the drawing itself. Having drawings of multiple areas will keep each layout clear and to the point.
2 primary drawings to have in the binder include:
- a layout zoning the purpose or primary use of the space such as: cooking, sleeping, dining, bathing, or lounging. When a space is designated to meet a certain need, supplies for that zone can be stored in or near the area. Simple examples are toiletries and towels in the bathroom cabinets and blankets and pillows in the cabinets closest to the beds.
- a drawing of the design of lower and upper cabinets and drawers – including spaces below seating areas. This task may take up to 3 separate sketches of upper, lower and hidden storage. This process is comparable to recreating the floor plan on the manufacturer’s website or sales flyer – if possible, print out multiple copies of the online manufacturer’s image to use for reference instead of drawing by hand.
Now that the sketches are complete and placed in the binder, it is time to make a log of what is in each cabinet, how much of each, and a running list of what is needed. For example:
Kitchen Cabinet #1
- 6 dinner size plates
- 6 soup/cereal bowls
- 4 coffee mugs
- 6 drinking glasses
- 2 divided dishes (kids)
This list is helpful when the time comes to store the RV for long periods of time, or for when the rig has not been used consistently in a given season. Continue this for each zone of the RV making sure to keep supplies nearest to the area in which they will be used. To make the most of usable space, buy double duty products such as all purpose cleaners for the kitchen and bath, or come up with creative ways to use everyday items – zipper bags not only make convenient and disposable food storage, they are also great for marinating meats or as a pastry bag!
Place all finished logs and other important documents into an appropriately sized 3-ring binder and keep it inside the trailer or motorhome where it can be easily referenced.