by The Momma
Organization is always a fun thing for me, and it takes a special kind of organization to arrange all your belongings in the small spaces throughout an RV. I’ve actually intended to write this post since we first settled into an RV. Now, we’re in our second RV, and the storage spaces are completely different, so I’ll just show the comparison of the two. Our first RV, a Spree Connect travel trailer (2014 322IKS), had storage spaces that were so deep, I had trouble figuring out to best use the back depths of the cabinets. Our new RV, a Keystone Avalanche fifth wheel (2015 361TG), looks like it has a lot of cabinets, but they are super-duper shallow, so not much fits in each.
Here’s the outside view and floorplan of each:
*As always, hover over photos for captions.
Kitchen – Connect
As previously stated, our cabinets were very deep. I ended up buying pull-out drawer systems from Container Store to make the best use of the height and depth of the pantry.
For the medicine cabinet, we used a two-drawer pull-out, which worked perfectly. We used more two-drawer pull-outs for our dishes, spices, and miscellaneous items. Our pots fit great in the drawer under the stove. The cabinet overhead was stuffed with various paperwork and such.
You can also see we used Command hooks for pot holders and such things that we wanted easily accessible. I was nervous about knives and scissors falling off the magnetic strip when traveling, but we’ve never once had that problem!
I can’t find any photos of the island cabinets – maybe I didn’t take any. We had normal cleaners and such stored under the sink. The round ends of the island were actually two doors that provided great storage. We kept our trash can in one. The other had two shelves – we kept laundry stuff on one shelf and swimming pool stuff on the other.
Kitchen – Avalanche
We are actually using an organizer in our paperwork cabinet now, which makes it much more usable! We also are keeping our printer in there. Our pantry is wider and taller than our previous one, just super shallow. Stackable containers from Container Store have made it possible for all of our stuff to fit nicely. We even are able to keep our Instant Pot in a cabinet now instead of sitting out on a counter – which is good since we have less counter space now!
In the peninsula, we have four shallow drawers for silverware, cooking utensils, and such things. Under the sink, we have a large area for storing cleaning products, sunblock, our dish drying rack, etc. I attached a basket to a door to hold foil, zip-locks, etc. Our trash can is in there as well.
Living Room – Connect
Our living room had shelves over the table and couch that we made great use of. Over the table we had our printer, essential oils, and my teaching supplies. Over the couch, each child had a cabinet of school materials, and one cabinet had school materials that they both use.
We used the ottomans to hold jackets, hats, and gloves.
In the tv cabinet, we stored writing utensils, tools, camera, balloons, small electronics, DVDs, and whatever small miscellaneous things needed a home. Those blue baskets and blue and pink bins are from Dollar Tree.
In between the living room and bunk room, there was a convenient tall storage cabinet. It was directly across from the bathroom, so it was a perfect place for towels. On the middle shelf we put games and things like Play-Doh. The bottom shelf was for the minimum scrapbook supplies I’ve brought with me on the road. For the top two shelves, we again put in pull-out drawers to make the best use of the height and depth of the shelves.
Living Room – Avalanche
The new living room is actually a little smaller than the previous one. I also somewhat miss the overhead storage. But I absolutely love the huge windows we have now! And the smaller space was just the price we paid to get the bedrooms we wanted.
The t.v. cabinet has the same crazy narrow shelving as most of the rest of the RV, and I really struggled with how to use it. We have ended up using some of the space for school books. It’s not ideal because everything has to stand up, and the kids have trouble finding things, but it’s what we have at the moment. For two of the cabinets, I used Command velcro strips to hang clear baskets, and I’ve filled those with writing utensils, tape, rubber bands, Command hooks and strips, etc. One cabinet is for the few DVDs I brought with us, and one is just for whatever random things my husband stashes in there!
It also has two open shelves, which I’m not a big fan of in an RV. On the lower one, we keep our mail station (with postcards, stamps, etc.), brochures for local attractions, and info from our current RV park. The upper one still doesn’t have a definite plan. Any suggestions?
Our table mainly serves as my husband’s work space – as often as possible, we eat meals outside. It came with four chairs, but one of them was always in the way, so we gave two∗ to my brother and sister-in-law. When we do eat at the table, we just bring in our two folding chairs from the bunk room.
Bunk Room – Connect
This small room had amazing storage space. Each child had a “closet,” which had two shelves for clothes and space at the bottom for shoes. A third “closet” had two shelves – one for each child’s toys. There were also three drawers – each child had an art drawer, and the third drawer contained art materials for the whole family. We used the open t.v. shelf for more pull-out drawers for hair accessories and other items. We also put lots of Command hooks on the walls for bathrobes and various bags/backpacks.
One thing you may notice is that the kids’ clothes are rolled. We have started rolling all clothes, towels, etc. It keeps things more organized in a small space, and makes it easier to see and grab exactly what we want. (Of course, in these photos, you can’t necessarily tell that clothes are rolled!)
the kids’ closets, with Dollar Tree bins the closets later, with pull-out drawers
Neither solution really made perfect use of the space, as you can see.
The full space under the lower bed was storage area. We used it for out-of-season clothes, luggage, sleeping bags, and other things. It was difficult to both hold it open and move things in/out of it by myself, but I loved having all that storage space! (One of my favorite purposes was to pick up toys that the kids had left out and toss it under the bed for a month or so!)
Bunk Room – Avalanche
The new bunk room has so much more room and light than the previous one! Because there are two slide-outs instead of just one, the floor space is more than doubled what we had before – giving the kids plenty of room to play in their room, and even space to set up a folding table and chairs for doing schoolwork in there.
Each child has a closet and four drawers. The closet has a hanging bar, and we’ve put in some shelves at the bottom. Each child’s bottom drawer is for art materials, but everything else is for clothes.
There are also four open shelves above the drawers, which I kind of hate because it means we have to work to secure them everytime we travel! But we do love having a full shelf for books.
There are sliding bins under Mr. Bang’s bunk that the kids use to store hair accessories, fossils, and various other small things. We also put pull-out drawers on the floor for toys, board games, backpacks, etc.
Bathroom – Connect
The bathroom in the Connect was definitely a tiny RV bathroom. And since we only had one, it seemed like multiple of us needed to be in there any time one of us was. We did have a little bathtub, which is harder to find in RVs. At the time we launched, Mr. Bang still pretty much always took baths, so I thought that was going to be important. However, we never once used that bathtub. He suddenly decided he preferred showers, which was perfectly fine with me!
Bathroom storage was pretty standard. We used a vanity storage holder from Wal-Mart to keep items behind the mirror from falling over as we travel. Under the sink, we used some Container Store bins to hold things in specific places. I really struggled with what to do with our toothbrushes, and finally decided to use Command velcro strips to attach our travel toothbrush containers to the wall, and the toothbrushes just fit in those. It worked perfectly! (The one electric toothbrush simply had a velcro strip attached to it.) Towels hung from Command hooks on the wall.
The Brain made one little modification to our shower that made a world of difference – he took out the regular shower curtain rod and replaced it with a hinged one. When we were at the sink and wanted the curtain out of the way, we pushed it back. When we were in the shower and wanted more space, we pushed it out. It really was amazing what a difference it made!
Bathrooms – Avalanche
One of the big changes when we switched RVs was getting an additional bathroom! The kids now have a half bathroom in their room, which makes all the difference in the world!! It’s tiny, but it is perfect for them.
Again, storage in there is pretty standard. Since we now have two bathrooms to split things up in, they actually have a decent amount of empty space in their cabinets.
In the main bathroom, we gave up the tub, and instead got a full linen closet. We use it for towels and extra sheets, but also for our main medicine cabinet. In our kitchen we keep one little bin with the meds that we use daily; everything else is stored in the big bathroom closet. It goes back behind the shower, so a lot fits in there.
The mirror cabinet is larger than our previous one, which is great. The undersink cabinet is pretty similar. In the photo on the right, you can kind of see how far back the linen closet goes.
Bedroom – Connect
Our first RV bedroom basically was the size of the bed. There was a tiny bit of walking space on each side of the bed, and we had a sliding door to our walking space. We each had a tiny closet, and there was a little overhead storage.
Like the big bed in the kids’ room, the bed lifted up to access storage underneath. It didn’t have nearly as much storage as the kids’ bed, though.
Bedroom – Avalanche
As you can imagine a big motivation for us to get a different RV was to have a full actual bedroom and closet!! We love our new space! We have plenty of closet space, plus a small dresser. It originally had a big cabinet of drawers, but we took those out and installed a washer/dryer.
So, that’s our home, and a peek of the organization methods we use to make our small house a very livable one!
(Also, I think I now understand why full-timers usually just make a video tour of their RVs! lol )