How To Organize An RV For Full-Timing
Nobody wants to spend time in a cluttered space. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for a tiny space such as an RV to become cluttered. All it takes is a few extra things and you have a mess on your hands. If those things don’t have a home, you’ll likely spend a whole lot of time moving them from one spot to the next.
Obviously this is not ideal, but there is a way to fix it. In this article we will give you our best tips for decluttering your RV. Use these simple tips and tricks, and your RV will once again become the relaxing space you intended it to be.
Put it all out
The first thing to do is pull everything out of your RV and lay it out in your campsite or on your lawn. This may seem counterproductive, but it’s actually extremely helpful when it comes to identifying the things that need to go and ensuring everything is organized at the end of the project.
Lump similar items together
Next, take a look at all of the things you’ve accumulated in your rig, and organize them by lumping similar items together. Put all of the clothes in a pile, all the linens in another pile, place kitchen items together, and give tools their own spot. This will make it easy to see duplicates.
Get rid of duplicates
Now that you can see which items are duplicated, fix it. Get rid of duplicates, keeping the item you prefer out of a given duo. Even if two items don’t match exactly, if they have the same job, one really needs to go. For instance, there is no reason to keep both a rice cooker and an Instant Pot.
Ensure each item is earning its keep
Now take a look at what is left. Is every item really necessary? How long has it been since you used each thing?
If something hasn’t been used in awhile or if it’s something you won’t use again, get rid of it. If there’s something you don’t really need in the camper but really want to hold onto, consider storing it in your house, garage, or a storage unit.
Replace several items with a single multi-use item
At this point, the items going back in the camper should be significantly diminished. Now we want you to take one more look at the things spread out on the lawn and see if any collection of items could be replaced with a single item. As an example, you might replace the rice cooker and slow cooker with an Instant Pot.
Go for small, inflatable, stackable, or collapsible
If possible, you might also try to replace some items with smaller versions. If smaller isn’t an option, look into inflatable, stackable, or collapsible versions of things.
Stackable food containers store better than cardboard packaging. An inflatable kayak takes up much less space than a traditional kayak. A collapsible booster seat will raise the baby up to the table just as well as the bulky highchair.
The more items you can replace with smaller, inflatable, stackable, or collapsible items, the better off you’ll be.
Adopt a capsule wardrobe
Okay, next on the list of tips for decluttering? Your clothes. Most people carry way too many clothes in their RV. We highly recommend adopting a capsule wardrobe in order to limit the number of clothing items in your rig.
Do this for each member of your family, and you’ll likely see a significant decrease in the amount of stuff in your RV drawers and cabinets.
Set a limit for toys
Toys are fun, but they can also take over a space very quickly. They are often the main cause of clutter in RVs. Hand your kids a small plastic bin and let them know they can travel with as many toys as they can fit in the bin. Everything else has to be donated or stay at the house or storage unit.
Switch to digital entertainment
If you keep a lot of DVDs or books in your home-on-wheels, it might be time to make the switch to digital entertainment. The books can live in the house, but whenever you’re in the RV, move your reading over to a tablet instead.
When it comes to family movie night, use a streaming service or download some movies in advance if you know you won’t have internet access.
Give everything a home
Now that you’ve minimized your stuff, the next step on our list of tips for decluttering is to figure out where things will live. As mentioned above, items that don’t have a home will cause clutter and chaos. Therefore, you will want to ensure every single item has an assigned place to live.
Make sure you continue to assign homes to items that come in after this initial organization, and your organization will last a lot longer.
Drive-proof your cabinets
At this point, you’re done getting rid of things and finding them homes. That said, there is one more step you will definitely want to take. You will want to make sure everything is going to stay in place when you drive.
For this, we recommend using stackable bins with lids in all cabinets, organization cubes in drawers, and gripping shelf liners. It’s also a good idea to place small tension rods across the front of all cabinets (especially shallow cabinets), so nothing falls out when you open the door after a rough drive.
Get tips from the RV LIFE Community
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.
There you have it, our top tips for decluttering your RV. Use these tips as you clean your rig before your next big trip so you can enjoy a clutter-free adventure!
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
Marlys Thomsen says
Cabinet doors – if arched handle, i tie closed with ribbons. The big square peanut jars are great canisters – hold several packages of pasta roni, soupmixes, crackers (unboxed) stack well, and keeps bugs out.