You know you have too much in the RV. You’re shifting things around too much, running into items you know you don’t need, or can’t find the items you need when you need them. It takes time to get everything organized, discipline to keep it organized, and perhaps a little creativity to develop storage solutions you may not have.
Step 1: Know what you have.
If you really want to know what you have in your RV, then you really should write down everything you have in the RV. This is a tremendous task, but this is the best starting point for professional organizing your RV. This is regardless of the type of RV you have, or the space available.
Step 2: Purge.
Now that you know exactly what you have in the RV, you can start removing items. Do you need 12 plates? Why are there three rolls of garbage bags? You should go through this process once a year by looking in every area and bin and asking yourself, do I really need this? What you carry may change as well, depending on where you’ll be camping in a particular year.
Step 3: Maximize spaces.
Does this sound familiar – I need to organize this space. If you’ve been RVing for a while already, then you already know there are some areas where you would like to better optimize and maximize the space to make it easier to keep organized. Closets, pantries, and kitchen cabinets are prime examples. For closets, tiered hangers, wall hooks, double-hang rods, floor racks, shoe organizers, and soft hanging organizers can help you make use of every square inch of space. When it comes to pantries and keeping food organized, one of the biggest space savers is to remove bulk items from the packaging and ordering them in clear containers that fit better on pantry shelves. Magazine racks can be placed in more vertically oriented spaces to maximize vertical space and hold items such as cutting boards and cookie sheets, or even canned goods. Items in kitchen cabinets should have dedicated space; label the shelves if needed to make sure everything returns to its spot. The inside doors of cabinets and sides of counters and walls under the cabinets are also spaces where you can add Velcro, command hooks, or magnetic surfaces (for items such as magnetic spice jars or knives) to keep things organized and handy.
Step 4: Designate spaces.
Each and every item should have its place: where you put the keys, where to find the flashlights, where to store the games. Storage bins should be appropriately sized for where they will be stored, whether that’s in an upper compartment, under furniture, in a cabinet, or in an exterior storage space. They should also be clearly labeled on multiple sides for easy recognition. If you want to go a step further, make (and print out) a list of what each storage bin contains and tape it to the inside of the lid; leave room on the paper for writing in additional items.
Another important consideration is to store items where they will be most available when you need them. You don’t want a bin that you use frequently to be under a bench so that you have to get on your hands and knees every time you need something. Place items and bins within reach. This takes some thinking and may require some real-life practice to find the ideal spot.
Step 5: Something comes in, something goes out.
The premise is simple: If you bring something new in, then the old version or duplicate version should go out. This can pertain to something useful like a lantern or new Dutch oven, or something personal such as boots and coats. This is especially important if you’re a seasonal or full-time RVer and is helpful for making upgrades to the RV without keeping clutter around.
Step 6: Clean.
If you think to yourself, I should really clean, then it’s already past the point. The objective is to keep the RV clean with a daily routine. When you make breakfast, do the dishes immediately and put them away in their designated spot. Walk through the RV and spruce things up by folding blankets, rolling up sleeping bags, putting items away that have been left out, etc. Do a thorough cleaning – floors, counters, sinks, toilets, windows, beating rugs, and so forth – once a week.
An organized RV is a thing of beauty and makes the best use of your living space. Function, utility, and structure are important for RV camping and RV life. So get out that legal pad or tablet and get started!