OK….So we get asked quite often about storage and if we have any tips and tricks on how we organize things inside and outside our coach.
So I’m going to give you a peak inside our coach and how we store and organize things. This is truly how we live. I did not organize anything ahead of time. I did not clean up. This is our life, mess and all. I am not sugar coating any of this and you are seeing the true glory of how we live. No judgement please.
Of course every coach and RV are different but some of these organizational items, tips and tricks can hopefully help anyone out there.
First, let’s start in the kitchen.
Paper and plastic are ok if you are “going camping” but for every day life, regular plates and silverware are nice. We use Corelle-ware for our plates and bowls. It’s lightweight and hard to break. Wine in a regular, although stem-less, wine glass is also nice. We used the plastic wine glasses for a while but we really missed drinking from glass. The stem-less makes them easier to store in narrow cupboards.
One important factor in packing cupboards, no matter what you are packing and storing, whether it’s in the kitchen or where ever, is using the rubber shelf liners. These are very versatile. You’ll see as this post goes on that I use these liners everywhere.
Not only can you line your shelves with them, which will help things from moving around, I also put small slices of them between things. Plates, bowls, bakeware, etc. Everything gets a small slice of rubber shelf liner. It not only protects from damage and breakage but it also will eliminate the clinking of glass down the road, which quite frankly can get very annoying.
As far as oils and other liquids, I like to put the containers in a plastic tub. A plastic shoe sized bin is perfect for this. That way, if there is any spillage or leaking, it is contained in the plastic container. The black item you see in the picture is a bookshelf holder. I saved these from our house to use in the cupboards. It helps keep the bins in their place and, in my mind at least, it will give a little extra help in stopping the bins with the oils and liquids from leaning against the cupboards and potentially falling out of the cupboard if it comes open on a sharp turn. This actually has never happened to us but I really don’t want to see what happens when olive oil falls from a high cupboard onto a tile floor. Any little extra prevention can go a long way in your peace of mind.
A label maker is your friend. I love my label maker. Don’t judge me. As you can see in the above picture, we like our spices. Baking, cooking, sautéing, stir-frying, you name it. We spice it up. A label makes finding things a lot easier. Saves time and your sanity when you are looking for that one particular spice.
Same goes for the canned goods. We have a large drawer underneath our kitchen sink. I like to store my canned goods here. It’s not only large but it’s also low to the floor. So I don’t have to worry about all that weight in an overhead cupboard. Funny thing is, I just recently started labeling the tops of the cans. I’ve been putting them in this drawer since we moved into this coach almost 2 years ago. I got tired of lifting up the cans just to find the one I was looking for. Well, you know what they say; necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I got out the sharpie and started labeling the cans. It took me this long to figure this little trick out but now I can see in a quick glance what I have and what I need. Sometimes the obvious just needs to slap you on the head a few times for you to figure it out.
I store my baking pans in one plastic bin in a cupboard. It’s nice to be able to keep everything together and it saves space by storing these items upright. As usual, I place the rubber shelf liner between the glass and such to keep things safe and stop them from clinking down the road.
As far as the pots and pans, I have one large drawer underneath my dishwasher drawer that fits all of them perfectly. Again, the rubber shelf liner is used on the bottom of the drawer as well as between lids and pans to protect them and stop the clinking.
In the large cupboard above our couch I store items that I don’t use on a regular basis. This coach unfortunately does not have a pantry so all the smaller items that I need to store, extra items, etc, I place up there. I bought a couple plastic storage drawers for these items. One drawer is for all my baking items. Baking soda, flour, sugar, etc. They all go into this drawer so all baking items are together. The other drawer and wire shelving next to that drawer is used as my pantry. Extra mustard, peanut butter, honey, cereal, new spices, etc are stored here until their counterparts are used up. This way I never run out of the staples that we use all the time. It saves running to the store every few days if we just run out of honey. Which by the way, would never happen because I’ve discovered that I have a honey obsession. I seem to be drawn to different artisan honeys and I always seem to be buying more. Much to David’s dismay.
Above the passenger side window I keep other items that we don’t need to get to very often. Extra medicine, deodorants, hair products, power cords and extensions, chargers, glues, fuses, you name it, it is more than likely here. These plastic shoe type bins are good for all these smaller things. Keeping everything together in one particular category is helpful. Again, I used the label maker to label the bins so I can tell at a glance which bin is for what item. The wire shelf is handy for stacking different items and utilizing all the space in the cupboard. Labeling everything also helps with the David finding what he needs without too much effort and frustration. He just needs to know which cupboard to look in; the bin is the easy part.
Back in the closet area we have lots of nooks and crannies we can utilize for storage. A hanging shoe rack is helpful in keeping the shoes off the floor. Now the Tiffin 45 footers have shoe cubbies built into the back wall area. That was a thought we had for this model however it was too late to put it into your coach. Well, now they have it and thus more storage space!
The clothes are on slim, velvet hangers. Being thin saves space and being velvet saves the clothes from shimmying off the hangers when bouncing down the road.
The shelves above the clothes not only are good for storing bigger items like towels but bins as well. These storage bins have a bunch of David’s electronics, wires and WiFi equipment that he is constantly testing and using. It’s an easy place for him to pull the bin out and get to what he needs without too much fuss. Plus it keeps things nice and neat looking when not in use.
Long handled items like brooms, mops and our Swiffer duster easily fit in the cabinet that the washer and dryer are housed in. A little bit of Velcro on the wall and a little on the handle will keep these items neatly stored until you need them. Space is limited no matter what motor home or RV you have; so utilizing every bit is important.
Speaking of space…
The outside basement area is just as important to organize as the inside.
Our friends turned us on to this awesome self-retracting electric cord reel that fits perfectly in our basement next to our basement fridge. As stated, it self retracts, and is easily accessible when ever extra power is needed outside.
And don’t forget about the thin space between your chassis beams and floor. We use this space to store a small stepladder and our extra step. Perfect size and it keeps these items that we don’t use very often out of our regular storage areas. Note…Make sure noting is in the way of the slide out sliders. You do not want anything crushed, or worse, a broken slide.
It’s also helpful that I have a very handy husband. If it’s broke, he can more than likely fix it. Tools are an essential part of RVing and no one should be without some basics. Keeping these organized is always a challenge for David and he’s forever rearranging this area.
We don’t have a ladder on the back of our coach (by choice) so carrying one is important. You do need to have a way to get on your roof or just to get up high for something. David found this a-frame folding ladder that he stores on the sidewall of the basement. He can still pull the basement drawer in and out without disturbing the ladder and it’s always handy whenever he needs it. He also has this telescoping ladder for other jobs. Different ladders for different jobs. Each has their purpose and each have been handy to have.
Plastic bins also come in handy underneath the coach in the basement. If your partner in crime is anything like mine, he likes to hang on to some items for the “just in case” scenario. I don’t really mind that much because the items that David keeps have come in handy more than once. Extra cables, parts, etc are all stored here and when something breaks, which inevitably it will, he can hopefully fix it with a spare part that he has stored away.
I hope this has helped in answering some of your questions on storage and organization. I can only tell you and show you what has worked for our space and us. It really is a trial and error in finding what works for you and your space. And remember, you can always keep things on the countertops as well. Velcro and Quake Hold (or Museum Putty) are great for keeping things secure. For instance, David’s Jura super-automatic coffee machine (very important for everyone’s sake) stays on the countertop all the time with just a little bit of Velcro. It has never moved going down the road and you can easily lift it up to clean underneath when need be, then just place it right back where you had it.
And don’t forget, those of you that travel with pets, don’t forget to store them away as well.
As you can see, we store Tory underneath the bed. It keeps her safe and sound and we can take her out when ever we want to play with her.
Just kidding. Our pets are our family. As you may know we have three kitties and they have the run of the place. However, kitties do need a place to call there own and go and hide once in a while. There really is no place in the coach for this so David took the storage space that we had underneath our bed and made a “safe” zone for them. He cut a hole out behind the storage area and they can easily get in and out of there through that hole. He even put a motion sensing light back there so no one can “sneak up” on anyone else.
It’s also a great place to store the cat carriers, which fold up nice and neat.
Hope this helped and remember, just because your home has wheels does not mean you will not have space and storage. (Well, that does depend on what you own I guess.) You just have to get a little more creative. Think vertically. Think walls. Label and use clear bins so you can see things easily.
Also, a reminder that everyone should know what your carrying weight is and that you are not unsafely weighing your coach down. Also make sure that when you are storing items, you evenly distribute the weight, left to right, front to back. Just something else to keep in mind.
Safe Travels and we’ll see you out there!