Maximizing Space: Efficient Traveling in an RV with Happy Trails Family

RV Owners

Traveling in an RV offers the freedom to explore new places while enjoying the comforts of a home on wheels. However, limited space can be a challenge when it comes to organizing your belongings efficiently! To make the most of the available space in your recreational vehicle, strategic planning and smart packing techniques are essential. In this article, we will discuss practical tips and tricks for saving space while traveling in an RV, ensuring a comfortable and clutter-free journey.

Plan and Downsize

Before hitting the road, carefully consider your essential needs. For us, this means not only food, water, clothes, and generators, but also toys, kayaks, bikes, and books! Take the time to declutter and downsize your belongings, asking yourself all the while what is truly a priority. Donate, sell, or store items that you rarely use or won’t need during your trip. Prioritize multi-purpose items that can serve multiple functions, such as kitchen utensils with multiple uses or clothing that can be layered for different weather conditions.

bunk beds for kids bedroom inside RV

Because we are almost always on the road, we make sure to constantly purge any unnecessary, or rarely used items. Regularly decluttering your RV can help keep it organized and spacious. The boys have fun with this by trading or selling their toys to other kids at campgrounds!

Optimize Storage

Most RVs come equipped with various storage compartments and cabinets. If your camper is like ours, these storage areas are not very big and there are not very many, so you need to be organized and get creative. You’ll quickly realize you need to utilize every nook and cranny possible in your RV. Utilize these spaces efficiently by using storage bins, baskets, and dividers. Categorize items and store them in labeled containers if it makes things easier for you! Take advantage of vertical space by installing or building shelves, purchasing hanging organizers for closets, and attaching hooks on walls or doors to hang towels, jackets, or bags. We even renovated the boys bunk area to add in a shelving unit for books and toys! You can see how we did the bunks here!

You can even consider using small cargo nets or baskets on walls to store books, electronics, or other smaller items. The boys use corner mesh nets in their bunks to store all their stuffed animals that they couldn’t part with and keep accumulating during our travels. We even have our guitar mounted with a hanging wall mount in our bedroom area so that it is stored in a safe, off-the-floor, and easily accessible way since it’s an item that Anthony uses quite regularly.

Organized bathroom interior in RV

Sometimes, being creative means utilizing items that normally aren’t meant for what you’re using it for, like installing a wine rack for rolled-up towels. It’s perfect for our small bathroom, stays put while we’re driving and saves us a ton of space! These are just a few ways you can free up valuable floor and cabinet space while keeping your belongings easily accessible.

Pack Efficiently

When it comes to packing, aim for lightweight and compact items. Buying in bulk is definitely a thing of the past for full-time RVers because, well, depending on the size of your rig there’s just nowhere to put it and everything you own in your camper is competing for space! Use travel-sized toiletries and consider condensing liquids into smaller containers to save space. Get creative with your storage solutions as well! As a traveling family with two kiddos we play a lot of board games and it was important to bring some of our favorites along with us. However, boxy items such as board games can, unfortunately, take up a lot of space. Our solution was to take those items out of the box and consolidate them into zippered bags and pouches! This idea could work for other bulky items that take up too much space as well.

Efficient under bed storage in RV bedroom

Located in our under-bed storage is a plastic storage container filled with vacuum-sealed bags that hold extra clothing, towels, and blankets to reduce their size and prevent wrinkles. These vacuum bags come in various sizes and really help keep them fresh, clean, and compact for storage. Another thing to consider is how to pack strategically. Knowing where to place things in your RV is important. Making sure to place heavier items lower and closer to the center of the RV to maintain stability, and prevent things from flying all over the place. Placement is really dependent on your specific RV and after a few trips, you quickly realize what items need a different spot in the RV, and which items have to be moved to a safe spot every time you take off.

Efficient Kitchen Organization

The kitchen area in an RV can quickly become cluttered. Optimize your kitchen by investing in stackable, collapsible, and nesting kitchenware. These types of kitchenware are such awesome tools which take up minimal space and make organizing so much easier inside your RV! I had never heard the word “nesting” so much until we started traveling full time but have found that items that “nest” are the true MVPs of RV life! We have nesting tupperware, kitchen utensils, and even our pots, pans, and lids! We also have a collapsible strainer, whisk, and even a potato masher which all help to properly keep things tidy in our small kitchen cabinets.

Organized kitchen RV

Be sure to utilize the inside of cabinet doors for hanging measuring spoons, oven mitts, or small utensils. Magnets can be really useful in the RV as magnetic strips can hold knives or other utensils securely on the wall without taking up your already filled drawer space, and to top it off, it can look really nice and homey! As someone who enjoys cooking, I wasn’t ready to part ways, or even downsize my spice collection when we began our journey. I had to get creative and find a way to bring them without sacrificing much of my cabinet space. I ended up making a magnetic spice rack on top of my kitchen window valance that holds 30 different spices! The best part is that all the spices stay put while on the move!

Outdoor Storage Solutions

Create an organized outdoor storage area to keep bulky items and gear. Utilize hitch-mounted cargo carriers or racks for bicycles, kayaks, or camping equipment. This helps to free up interior space and ensures you have everything you need for outdoor adventures. We have lots of storage bins in our underneath storage to keep things organized and easily accessible. Foldable or extendable tables are also excellent space-saving options. We have two resin fold-in-half tables, and four foldable chairs in our “basement” storage area, not including our camping chairs. They don’t take up much space at all and are perfect for when campgrounds don’t offer picnic tables. They are also great for when we’re boondocking in the middle of nowhere or when we need additional outside tables and chairs.

Our bikes are all squished together on our bumper storage rack for now, but we’re still trying to find a better solution for our family’s four bicycles! Our kayaks however, don’t even need a mount! We have foldable kayaks made by Tucktek and they only take up a small corner of the bed of our truck. It’s great because they are always with us, even when we aren’t towing! They are perfect for RV life and people with limited storage! Check them out here!

Final Thoughts

By implementing these maximizing space saving tips and ideas in your RV, you can optimize every square inch and create a more functional and organized living space. Remember, the key is to be creative! Efficient space utilization is key to a comfortable and clutter-free RV trip! By planning, downsizing, and adopting smart storage solutions, you can optimize the available space in your recreational vehicle! Maximize storage compartments, invest in multi-purpose items, and utilize vertical spaces to organize your belongings effectively. With these tips, you’ll have more than enough room to relax, enjoy the journey, and make unforgettable memories while traveling in your RV! 

Read more from The Happy Trails Family:

Boondocking as a Family of Four with Happy Trails Family

How Your Kids Can Become a Junior Ranger with Happy Trails Family