RV Stuff We Really Needed: Organization

When we were preparing to hit the road, we knew we needed WAY less stuff. We got rid of almost everything and embraced a minimalist lifestyle, which has been great for RV life. Some of our ideas about what RV life would look like have ended up being different than the reality. So, what things did we truly need and what could we have done without?

This is Part 2 of a series. Make sure to check out Part 1 on Kitchen gear


I told you I’m an organization ninja. I’m here to tell you all my RV organization tips and tricks that I’ve learned for making the most of a small space. Since our RV is smaller and older, it doesn’t have a lot of the features (like bathroom closets, for instance) that bigger/newer rigs do. I’ve had to get creative!

Golden Rules of RV Organization:

  1. Have less stuff. Organization can maximize your space, but not create more of it.
  2. Utilize products that let you make the most of every inch of space.
  3. Organization should be travel-friendly. That means storage in a cabinet is better than storage on an open shelf.
  4. If it doesn’t have a spot, it doesn’t belong in your house. Make a place for it or get rid of it.

RV Organization Stuff We Needed

Wire Shelves

Organized Living Large Cabinet Shelf

We found a set of these in a variety of sizes for a very low price at a big box store right after we hit the road. Originally, we got them to utilize vertical space in kitchen cabinets (e.g., cans below, basket of grains and such on top). They have ended up being very versatile though. We use one as an extra dish drying rack, one for organizing brushes and things around the sink, and one for stacking towels in a back cabinet.

Shoe Pockets

Honey-Can-Do Over the Door Shoe Organizer in Blue/White

This has been one of the best organizing hacks we’ve used. We have a shoe pocket organizer that we hang over our shower door. It matches our curtains and decor and stores all the little odds and ends that normally you’d put on bathroom shelves or in drawers. Plus, it’s cloth, so our medicines and nail clippers and all that aren’t completely out in plain view for the world to see.

You can see it here in action:

PANO_20160528_123331
Fish-eye view of bathroom and shoe rack organizer

It actually matches the pattern of our curtains well enough at first glance that multiple people have asked us if we made the shoe organizer from the same material!

3-Drawer Set

I have had this little 3-drawer organizer for office supplies since I left for college. It’s lasted me a decade now! So far it has held up great in the RV, too, and it is perfect for storing smaller office supplies like pens and tape. To make it travel-ready, I secured it to the table with Quake Hold and looped a gear tie around the drawers so they wouldn’t fly open.

Sterilite ClearView Desktop Unit

Baskets

We have SO many baskets.

IKEA Skubb Storage Bin

IKEA Skubb Storage Bins, Set of 6

These IKEA Skubb baskets are cheaper if you can get to an actual IKEA, but they are lightweight little things that are good for organizing small stuff inside drawers. We use the small ones for holding everything from bracelets to socks. The big one organizes our hats and my running accessories.

Sterilite Small Stacking Baskets

These are the perfect size for fitting stacks of two side-by-side in our cabinets. We store stuff in them we need fairly regularly. One contains rags, one contains camera accessories, two contain dog brushes and such. I used a label maker to keep it streamlined- no throwing random camera chargers in with the dog bags, people!

Room Essentials Super Stacker Document Box

This is the closest I could find to our interlocking document box set. We have two interlocking document boxes that we use to store mailing supplies and larger office accessories (like the portable scanner, label maker, batteries, etc). It’s sturdy enough to hold a decent amount of weight for its size, it has a handle, and it has a lid. We keep it in the cabinet and only need it occasionally, so it’s worked perfectly for us.

Dresser

IKEA Malm Chest

We have this dresser, but 4 drawers and in white.

We only have 1/2 length closets, so we installed a dresser to store our clothes. We got rid of enough clothing that Nik and I share an IKEA Malm 4 drawer dresser (and honestly, I still think I have too much clothing. Nik would definitely agree. 😛 ).

We anchored the dresser securely to the wall and installed latches for keeping the drawers closed during travel.

Side Tables

IKEA Malm Nightstand

We already had these nightstands (also IKEA) from our sticks and bricks house. Now they store miscellaneous electronics gear.

Pantry Rack

ClosetMaid 4 Tier Rack, 18 inch wide

I installed this wire rack to give us a bit more pantry space. It has been a fantastic use of an otherwise empty wall! I do wish the wall it was mounted on was a normal wall instead of cheap RV particle board. I don’t have a lot of faith in this holding up over time (even if I go back and install drywall anchors), but that’s the fault of the wall, not the rack.

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Pantry rack at right

Broom Grippers

Command Broom & Mop Grippers

We use these Command broom grippers to hold our mop and broom out of the way. Out of the way, for us, means on the ceiling! I think two grippers per broom will end up being perfect (right now, with one gripper each, they both like fall down when we move).

RV Organization Stuff that Didn’t Work for Us

We really had to start from scratch here because we had so much room (relatively) to spread out in our sticks and bricks house. We basically had to look at our stuff, look at the space, and customize our organization for what we needed.

Magnetic Storage

 I really wanted to use magnetic storage solutions for things like spice jars or knives. Turns out, our RV has almost no metal surfaces at all! Womp, womp.

Trash Can

To be honest, we still haven’t found a great place to store our trash and recycling. Right now it lives in a gap between the dinette and the dresser, but that makes opening the drawers hard. :-/


Overall, I’ve become really good friends with my label maker (I can hear my mom and sister laughing now…) and the RV feels like home. The organization system and products we have in place make it a lot easier to pack up and go on travel days without sacrificing convenience every other day. Let me know what tips and tricks have worked well for you!

Next week, I’ll be covering the RV Stuff We Really Needed for making our rig feel homey and clean, AKA, “Decor and Chores.” 

Note: This post uses Amazon affiliate links, which cost you nothing and help support our blog! We only link to products we like and use. 

5 thoughts on “RV Stuff We Really Needed: Organization

  1. Storage is king in a trailer. I was lucky and had a nice new bare trailer as well as a new to me truck with which to tow it. Time to initially organize and now after six and half years time to reorganize and make better solutions many times. A self built roll out in the storage basement (tow behind built like a fiver) made from 500 pound drawer slides and a bunch of covered storage boxes purchased to fit perfectly make organizing and getting to a lot of things easy. Same with the truck under the cap. Two commercial roll out shelves and purchased covered boxes. Inside added items every where. Like taking out the chairs in the dining slide and installing storage benches. So many ways to maximize space as you look for every available cubic inch. I currently have a couple extra boxes that need sorting out. Seems like a never ending task. However, I want for nothing on the road.

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    1. That sounds really nice! Do you have any pictures of the roll out drawers? Also, one problem we ran into with packing things in so tightly was that we started running into the weight limit on the rig. Have you had any problems with that?

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