RV storage hacks

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Thank goodness RV builders recognize the storage constraints of vacationing and/or living in a small space. As they design the RVs, they do their best to give us as much storage space as possible. But sometimes you just need a little more space, and you have to make things work for the way you camp.

We have a 37-foot Holiday Rambler Vacationer with ample storage, but to make it work for our family, we knew we would need to get creative both inside and out. Each season we seem to adjust, tweak and find better ways to store our items. We have a few hacks to share that could come in handy for you, too, when loading up your rig. 

Stackable Storage Shoe Bins

In a small space, organization is key. Everything should have a secure home. The last thing you want is a bunch of loose items and clothes thrown all over your RV on travel days. We have found that clear, stackable shoe containers have been one of our best investments. They come in different sizes, but we mostly use the ones that fit a single pair of shoes. Our cabinets in the living area are tall enough that we are able to stack two clear bins on top of each other. At some point, we plan on labeling the bins, but clear bins make it easy to quickly see what is inside.

The items we use frequently get stored in easy-to-access cabinets, while the bins with items we use occasionally get stored in the cabinets up front above the windshield. Do you know that junk drawer in your home? Come on, we all have one! Well, we have a junk bin, and it’s our most-used container of all. It holds scissors, pens, tape, screwdrivers and more. We definitely suggest creating a bin for these types of items if you don’t have an actual drawer to spare. 

Another bin we use often is our game bin. We love playing games, but we don’t have a lot of room for them, so we created a game bin. We allowed ourselves to bring any games we wanted, as long as they all fit in that one storage container. We also use clear storage containers for plastic utensils, miscellaneous kitchen items, makeup, jewelry, our son’s toys, tech gear and receipts.

Plastic Bag Dispenser

We have always saved and reused our plastic grocery bags. They mostly get reused as trash bags for our small trash cans, making sure we leave no trace when boondocking and as dog poop bags in a pinch. We needed some way to store them but didn’t have a lot of space. Thankfully, we found a small plastic bag dispenser and used Velcro to attach it to the inside of the door on our under-sink cabinet. It’s been a great solution for our plastic bags and fits perfectly in the space.

Command Hooks

Whoever invented Command hooks is a genius! To be able to add a hook almost anywhere is an absolute lifesaver in an RV. We’ve used these hooks for years and love how great they work. They have saved us over and over again from having to put nails in the walls. We have quite a few in our RV. They get used inside cabinet doors to store potholders, keys, measuring cups/spoons and a few other items we want to be easily accessible. They have also come in handy in our bathrooms for hand towels and other things. We’ve even used some of the beefier ones to hold a step stool for our son in his bathroom. We have been thinking of adding a few more for bath towel hanging space when our upcoming guests arrive. And, after they have left, we can just remove the extra hooks and it will be as if they were never there!

Stylish Hooks And Bars

Like us, you will probably find a few “wish we had” items once you spend some time in your rig. For us, we needed more hanging space for items like jackets, our dog’s leashes and bath towels. While Command hooks would have certainly worked for these items, they didn’t really fit in with our decor. So, we opted to actually screw in industrial pipe hooks by the door and behind the driver’s seat for jackets and leashes. And in our main bathroom, we added two of the same hooks and a towel bar for additional towel hanging options. You can find all sorts of hooks and bars to match your style and decor — just be sure to use the correct fasteners for the walls in your rig.

Shower Dispenser

One of our favorite space-saving storage hacks is adding a liquid dispenser into our RV bathroom. Our shower has a few little built-in shelves for bottles and such, but we didn’t want to have to worry about removing and securing the bottles each time we moved. Plus, not having a bunch of bottles and clutter around makes our little shower feel a bit bigger. We ordered a shower dispenser with four chambers to hold shampoo, conditioner, body wash and kids’ soap for our son. Not only does it remove clutter in the shower, but it is convenient, as it’s mounted on the wall and clearly labeled for each product. You can find them in two-, three- or four-chamber versions to suit your needs.

Closet Storage Solutions

It’s pretty incredible how many floor plans are available throughout the RV brands. Our bedroom area is set up with a built-in six-drawer dresser next to a double-doored wardrobe. And our king-size bed lifts up for additional storage underneath. There are also two cabinets above the bed. Considering this was all the clothing storage available, we needed to make this space work for the three of us, and we got pretty creative in how we went about it.

To create a place to store smaller clothing items like socks and underwear, the first thing we did was use the space on the inside of the wardrobe doors. We found these cool, stretchy cargo netting pouches, typically used in car trunks, and attached them with Velcro to the inside of one closet wardrobe door to essentially act as drawers. On the other door, we installed snap-in broom holder clips to store our Swiffer and broom.

At the bottom of the closet, we use zippered fabric storage bags (usually used for storing things under a bed) for clothing, too. Because they are soft-sided, they work better than plastic bins for fitting into more confined areas. In addition to clothes, we also hang a fabric shoe organizer and jewelry organizer. Using vertical space for these items really lets you maximize every square inch you have available to you.

Add Or Remove A Shelf

You may find that some of your cabinets have built-in shelving. This is typical in the pantry or bathroom cabinets for things like food and towels. But, the height or space between the shelves may not necessarily fit the way you want to use the space. Our pantry has several shelves, and the highest one was built for taller things like cereal boxes or paper towels. We didn’t need a space that tall in our pantry for any of the typical things we store in there. On the other hand, the cabinet in our bathroom had two shelves for towels when we really only needed one. So, we removed a shelf from the bathroom cabinet, cut it down to fit in the pantry, and now we have an extra shelf in our pantry and more space for towels in our bathroom cabinet. If you don’t have a shelf to repurpose, it’s easy to build one out of plywood. Try to use vertical space whenever possible while keeping things accessible and easy to grab!

Outdoor Storage

Under our RV we have several storage bays that vary in height and width. We use a variety of items we already owned and a few we purchased to store things in these outside compartments. One storage bay is dedicated to our son’s toys, including his bike and sled. We use a wicker basket for trucks, balls and other small stuff. But when we are settled down in one place for a while, we use a large collapsible storage basket that stays outside for all his trucks. This way he has easy access to them, and it gives him a place to put them away so they aren’t always scattered around the campsite. On occasion, it doubles as a trash can, too. We really need to order another one!

We also store seasonal things in the storage area underneath. We are four-season campers, so we have all our winter ski gear with us, too. So, to switch out our gear seasonally, we use larger plastic storage bins for shoes, winter/summer gear and clothing. We also store bulkier seasonal clothing in duffel bags as they can be pushed, pulled and squeezed into tight spaces better than the storage bins. We put these in the storage compartment that we access the least since we only get these things out to switch our clothing when the weather changes.

These are some of our favorite storage hacks that we’ve used to maximize the efficiency of the space in our RV. But our biggest tip, whether you live in your RV or use it for weekends, is to spend some time in it before you go throwing hooks and shelves everywhere. You may find over time that you don’t necessarily use the space like you initially thought you would. Instead, make notes as you go about your days to really get a feel for how you use your RV and what would make the most sense for a storage solution for you and your family.