camper organization hacks

30+ Brilliant RV Storage Ideas That Will Change Your Camping Life

One of the challenges of taking long camping trips is storage in an RV. Considering the confined space of any motorhome, your space will feel cluttered, claustrophobic and stress-inducing if you don’t have a good organization system. And it takes some creativity, brainstorming and some shopping around to work out how you can fit in everything you want to bring along. But worry not, as you’ve arrived at the ultimate list of the most practical and creative RV storage ideas

These solutions can be applied to trailers of any size as well as your home, so that even a very small space will be organized and feel livable. Here you will find storage solutions for every single room, including plenty of affordable and quick hacks and easy DIY suggestions. 

RV Storage Ideas: Easy and Affordable DIY Projects

DIY RV storage ideas
Photo: Anetlanda / Shutterstock

Plastic/Cardboard Drawer Dividers: Adding dividers to your drawers will help you compartmentalize, categorize and thus instantly find things. This method surprisingly allows you to squeeze in much more in the same space, because many things can now stand upright instead of falling on top of each other. You can make your own drawer divider with cardboard or heavy duty plastic sheets, or use what you already have lying around for a quick fix, like a cereal box. 

If you want to make your own, cut several rectangular pieces long enough to fit the whole inner length of your drawers and a few others that fit the whole inner width of the drawer. Cut even slots to allow the width pieces to interlock with the length pieces. This is one of the most affordable RV storage solutions that can be widely applied to organize your spices, cooking ingredients, small tools and accessories as well as underwear and socks. Another plus is that it will not add weight to your trailer. 

Countertop Foldout: Now this is one of those DIY RV storage ideas popular with super small rigs or with campers who need to prepare meals for a big group. Unless you very rarely cook, the more countertop space the better, even in residential homes. You can easily buy wood planks and hinges or other accessories if needed at home improvement stores and even ask the store to cut it to size. Then throw on some paint or paint wax to match the foldout with the rest of your kitchen.

Over-Sink or Over-Stove Chopping Board: You can further expand your food preparation space by adding a custom made chopping board that snuggly covers your sink and your stovetop. This is one of those RV storage ideas that are widely applied in the homes as well. There are ready-made products out there you can buy, but finding one that fits your existing small RV kitchen might be more troublesome than making your own. 

Foldout Desk or Bar: If you travel alone or with your better half, you might be satisfied with eating at the bar. However, if you’re traveling in a group of three or more and there’s no dinette, you can install your own foldout bar top that when not in use can be folded to the wall so that it will not take up any floor space. One option is to make a foldout with expandable leafs, though this requires some designing and skills.

Knotted Fruit Hammocks: DIY macrame plant hangers once swept the world in a fever, and this gave birth to a related storage solution: knotted hammocks or bags to keep your fruits or onions, garlic and shallots off the countertop. This might be one of the most brilliant DIY RV storage ideas yet, since it also keeps fruits and vegetables from getting bruised or flying through the air when you’re driving on rough terrains. It allows for ventilation, thus keeping everything fresh, and it looks pretty neat too. 

Macrame Plant Hanger: Keeping a few small pots of herbs in your RV kitchen is a great idea for quality meals, and having some greenery in your tiny rig makes it feel more lively and less confined and rigid. While you’re making fruit hammocks, you can also use the same material to make some plant hanger for your herbs.

RV Storage Ideas: For The Kitchen

rv storage ideas
Photo: Voyagerix / Shutterstock

Fridge Organizers

Pull-out containers with lid: The kitchen deserves its own section in any list of storage ideas for small campers. First off, for the fridge, there are an increasing number of creative products you can buy, most of which are made in China. One of the most versatile RV storage ideas in this regard is long plastic containers with lids and pull-out handles for storing produce. These are stackable, lids on or lids off. They will keep your produce fresh for longer, since the easy pull-out system prevents them from getting bruised.

Clip-on and pull-out drawers or drink racks: If you want to maximize the small empty vertical space at the top of each shelf in the fridge, look for plastic or metal drawers or bins that clips on the existing shelves and can be easily pulled out. There’s also a metal wire version designed to hold bottled drinks that separates the bottles so that they don’t bang into each other. 

Plastic bins and trays: A simple yet effective RV storage ideas for the fridge is to add clear plastic trays or deepers bins on each shelf so that you can pull them out to easily access anything further in the back. This solution can be applied to any deep cabinet.

Pantry and Cabinet Organizers

Magnetic fridge shelf: As the name suggests, these are metal shelves that stick to the front or side of your fridge to hold spices and small bottles. Some models have a wooden rod for holding paper towel rolls or hanging kitchen towels and pot holders. They can hold quite a lot of weight, but they are not made to something too heavy like a few full-size glass wine bottles.

IKEA spice rack: Available for only $7 a piece, these spice racks by IKEA are made from pine wood, so they are super lightweight. They are perfect for keeping frequently used spices and small bottles where you can easily get them without having to open the drawer or cabinet door. The design is perfect for small spaces: these are 16 inches long, so you can fit one in the tightest corners of your rig to take advantage of any vertical space available. There are guard rails high enough to keep everything from tumbling down even when you’re driving. Of course, you can totally use these lightweight but durable racks in your bathroom or bedroom to hold cosmetics, books, tablets and other compact devices.

Stackable shelves: This is also one of the most versatile RV storage ideas. Depending on the size of the shelves and how sturdily they stack on top of each other, you can maximize vertical space to store from frequently used cups, dinnerware and spices to shoes and anything not too heavy. These shelves can be made from plastic, metal, bamboo or wood. They are commonly used on the kitchen countertop in motorhomes as well as inside the cabinets and your work station. 

Clear plastic bins: High and long clear plastic bins with handles that can cover the whole depth of your cabinet will help you gain easy access to things further at the back by pulling out the bin, organize your condiments and dry food supply by category and maximize space since everything stands upright, even packets of ketchup. 

Under-shelf wire basket: These are just like the aforementioned pull-out drawers for the fridge, except these are typically bigger and can hold a bit more weight, so that you can store a stack of heavy plates. They can be used inside the cabinet to store dinnerware and dry food or hang under the cabinet to store fruits and vegetables or even act as a drying rack for cups and small bowls.

Fold-out under-cabinet rack: Among those RV storage ideas that maximize vertical space to keep things off the countertop, fold-out racks that are secured under the cabinet are a quite recent development. What’s great about them is that when not in use, they can retract to keep a minimal footprint in your tiny RV kitchen, so that it will feel less cluttered.  

Pots, Pans, Dinnerware, Cutlery and Tools

Magnetic strips: If you have used up all the space on your fridge but wish to use a few more magnetic shelves, you can screw magnetic strips on the wall to make a versatile storage solution that allows for instant changes in your storage needs. These strips are also perfect for securing knives, kitchen scissors and metal cooking tools. They allow your tools to air dry and prevent annoying rattling when you’re on the road. 

Under-shelf hooks: These rows of hooks can clip on the thickness of your cabinet shelf to hold from mugs to cooking utensils, and can be further secured by either a screw or some adhesive. If you don’t want to damage your cabinet, buy the refill sticky strips designed for “command hooks”. If you’re not familiar with command hooks, more on this brilliant invention further down below. 

Command hooks to hang utensils on the inside of cabinet doors: More on command hooks in the last section, but just know that these hooks are designed to be removed without any damage to your walls or cabinets. If you don’t like hanging cooking utensils in plain sight, another place to organize them for easy access without having to rummage through a stuffed drawer is to hang them individually on command hooks on the inside of your kitchen cabinet doors. 

Pegboards for holding everything: Another versatile RV storage ideas is fixing peg boards on the walls or on the side of your kitchen cabinet. There are a number of hooks and other accessories for holding from utensils to caddies to chopping boards. You can find pegboards and a full range of accompanying accessories at IKEA. 

Pegboards and pegs as drawer dividers for dinnerware: If you wish to keep your heavy plates, bowls and cups down low, like in a drawer, a super smart invention that stems from pegboards is to cut pegboards to fit the bottom of your drawer, then buy or DIY wooden pegs that inserts into the holes of the pegboards. This brilliant method allows you to customize your pegboard divider system to secure whatever you need to store in your drawer, no matter what size. 

Adjustable pots and pans organizer: Made from metal with non-skid coatings, these racks are often expandable and can either be set up horizontally or vertically while always securing everything in place. The adjustable dividers allow you to customize to the size of your pots and pans or bakeware. 

Slide-out pots and pans rack: A more expansive but more convenient upgrade from the above adjustable organizer is slide-out racks for pots and pans. These need to be installed with screws under the sink, but they are the best way to keep things organized while offering instant access. There are a variety of slide-out racks designed for different needs. For instance, cookware racks typically feature extra heavy duty dividers to separate bulky and heavy pots and pans, while lid organizers often have distinctive loop or grooved dividers.

Tension rods for pots, pans, chopping boards and bakeware: One of the most affordable yet fully customizable RV storage ideas for the kitchen is to use tension rods, yes, the kind that you use as cheap window curtain rods. Tension rods can be easily installed and uninstalled for instant customization when your need changes, and a pick of size typically costs around $12 to $15. Install them vertically in your cabinet to separate and get instant access to bakeware and cutting boards. 

Over-cabinet-door organizer for pot lids: These are lightweight wire organizers that hooks over the thickness of your cabinet door and allow for instant access to any lid. Many units come with detachable L-shaped hooks so that you can remove the hooks to screw the unit on the wall or on the inside of the cabinet should you choose to. 

Towel bars to hang pot lids: In addition to the discreet over-cabinet-door pot lid organizer hidden away, if you want a place to hang one or two pot lids while cooking or to leave them out to air dry so that they are off the countertop, a super versatile fix is to secure a short towel bar on the wall near your stove top. The typical towel bar would have the right gap from the wall to hold most sizes of pot lids, and when you’re not using them for pot lids, you can use the towel bar to hang your kitchen towel to dry or to hang cooking utensils with some hooks. 

Others

Over-sink dish rack: This is one of those RV storage tips that are widely applied in the homes. If you are not the type to hand dry your dishes with a kitchen towel so that you can put them away right after washing, using an over-sink dish rack will allow you to leave your dishes out to air dry without taking up limited countertop space. These racks look just like those designed for use on the countertop, but have extendable arms to rest over the sink. Water will drip right down without the need for a water-collecting tray. An over-sink dish rack can also double duty as a strainer for chunky fruits and vegetables. For smaller things that can fall right through, you might want to consider buying an over-sink strainer.

Over-sink strainer: This is the close cousin of the over-sink dish rack. One advantage is this type of strainer is always rectangular in shape instead of the conventional bowl shape of regular strainer, thus is more space efficient. In addition, the extendable arms can be used to hang the strainer up to take advantage of vertical space. 

Silicone roll-up dish drying mat: If you want a substitute RV storage ideas that takes up much less storage space when not in use than the above over-sink dish drying rack, a silicone roll-up mat would be the best choice. Made from durable metal sticks coated with non-slip silicone, these mats also hang over the sink to double duty for both when you’re washing your dishes or vegetables during meals preparation. When rolled up to tuck away, they take little storage space.  

Over-cabinet-door or under-shelf roll holder: The under-shelf version is similar to the under-shelf hooks for mugs, while the over-cabinet-door version hooks on the thickness of your cabinet door or drawer to keep the paper towel roll somewhere easily accessible and off the countertop. 

Over-cabinet-door trash bin: The trash bin is one item that you can downsize when living in a small RV. To keep them out of sight and off the kitchen floor, get an over-cabinet-door version of the trash bin. 

Slide-out trash bin: If you need a sizable trash bin, get a slide-out version and secure it under the sink. The bin can be detached from the slideout, so when you decide to keep the bin outside, you can use the slideout to store your pots and pans under the sink. 

Under-sink expandable shelf: If you want to maximize the space under the kitchen sink but at a fraction of the price of a slide-out unit, an expandable shelf made from part metal and part plastic would be a lightweight and affordable option, without the need to drill any hole in your cabinet. These units typically look like a shoe rack, have a sturdy metal frame and movable plastic panels that slide on the shelves. You can usually buy extra plastic panels to cover the whole length of the shelves when the unit is fully expanded. Some units allow you to adjust tier height to best customize for your space. 

Under-sink free standing drawer unit: These drawer units typically have a metal wire designed, with one top shelf and one or two slide-out drawers underneath. While a full-fledge slide-out unit is designed for bulky and heavy items like pots and pans, these drawer units are smaller and lightweight, and ideal for holding small tools and cleaning supplies. These are one of those versatile RV storage ideas that are practical in many spaces and for many purposes, including the kitchen, the bathroom, the closet and the work station. When you’re about to move camp, just secure the drawers with bungee cords to prevent them from opening during the drive.

RV Storage Ideas: For The Bedroom and Closet

camper storage ideas
Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock

Clip-on bedside caddy: You might not have space for a freestanding nightstand in your small RV bedroom or sleeping quarters. A sensible substitute is a clip-on bedside caddy that comes with a clamp to clamp onto bed frames. This is particularly handy for bunk beds, but in general it will also lift your bedside caddy off the floor for easy cleaning. 

Vacuum-sealed bags for blankets and pillows: This is particularly handy for full-time, four-season campers who need to bring along extra blankets and pillows, plus bulky thick duvet and warm clothes, which take up a lot of space. And you would only be taking them out when winter comes. One super smart RV hacks for storage in your closet is to buy a kit with a vacuum and several reusable vacuum-sealed bags to squeeze your fluffy bed linens into as little space as possible.

For full-time campers, these kits would be ideal. However, if you don’t have a lot of stuff and are not traveling full-time, it would cost you less to use durable zipper bags. When you roll the bag with, say, a blanket in it, it will force the air out, then just zip it close. Not as effective and effortless as a vacuum-sealed bag kit, but this method will still save you quite a lot of closet space.

Under-bed storage containers on wheels: There are special storage containers designed for under the bed. They are shorter with pull handles and wheels on one side so you can slightly lift it up to pull it out. Ideal for camping gear storage or extra bed linens. 

Adjustable closet rack: Adding additional shelves or racks in your closet for kitchen cupboards will help you store more in the same space, better categorize and easily get what you need without having to pull out something at the bottom of a pile of clothes and risk it falling over. These adjustable shelves expand and are firmly secured using the same mechanism as regular shower curtain rod, so they are damaged free and versatile. Light-duty racks usually have 4 legs, while heavy duty ones might have 6 legs for more secure contact with the closet walls. 

Collapsible hanging shelf: In addition to adjustable racks, another way to get the most from the existing vertical space in a closet is adding hanging shelves. These are made from heavy duty fabric and a solid metal frame, with hooks at the top. Most come with additional mesh pockets on the side for small items, and some come with drawers for storing underwear. You can buy separate collapsible fabric drawers plus drawer dividers to add to your hanging shelf, or even use an existing plastic bin of the right size as a drawer.

 camper hacks for storage
Photo: New Africa / Shutterstock

Clip-on closet shelf dividers or storage cubes turned on the side: If you’re storing folded clothes on a long high up rack, you won’t be able to put a lot up there and pulling something out might be messy, as the piles can fall on each other. Two handy RV storage ideas to remedy this are closet shelf dividers made from metal wires that slide in and clip on closet shelves, and collapsible fabric storage cubes turned on the side, so that their bottoms are against the wall. There are also clip-on racks with dividers so that you can stack your clothes higher and get even easier access.

Over-the-door shoe organizer: Shoes might be tricky to store in a small space, as storing each in a shoe box or clear plastic container on a shoe rack will take up a lot of space, while trying to pile them on top of each other means dirty, deformed shoes. A super versatile solution for this is an over-the-door shoe organizer. These hook over the thickness of doors, and consist of most commonly 24 to 36 mesh pockets, each typically holding one shoe. The size of these makes them also ideal for organizing underwear and socks, as well as small miscellaneous items.

Collapsible drawer divider: If you store underwear and socks in a drawer, add collapsible fabric dividers to Mari Kondo it up!

RV Storage Ideas: For The Bathroom

storage ideas for small campers
Photo: vanbeets / Getty Images

Plastic wall-mounted shower caddy with suction: The very best of these suction caddies can hold up to 16lbs. A damage-free way to keep your toiletries on the wall. 

Silicone overhead shower caddy basket: If you don’t need to store really heavy toiletries, a silicone basket that hangs over the shower head will be a great substitute for suction caddies. 

In-shower razor holder with suction: Very few damage-free shower caddies come with a dedicated slot to hold razor blades. A good idea is to mount them separately using plastic holders with suction. 

Over-shower-door caddy: If you have many heavy bottles plus razors or scrubbing brushes or bath sponges, the most heavy duty organizer is a stainless steel rack that hangs over the door of your shower. These typically come with multiple hooks to hang sponges and razors. 

Over-the-door towel rack: Ideal for hand towels and smaller bath towels, the most that a rack like these can typically hang is 3 towels, with enough gaps between each bar to allow for circulation.

Behind-the-door swivel towel bars: If you already have another storage rack over your bathroom door, get a set of swivel towel bars that secure over the door hinges to take advantage of unused space behind the bathroom door. No screwing is needed, but most models allow you to mount these bars on the wall. 

RV Storage Ideas: Others

External mounts: Another one of those RV storage ideas principle is to mount things on the roof and/or sides of your motorhome to free up as much interior space as possible, since even a small space is valuable in a tiny home on wheels. While kayak and mountain bikes and other toys are the most common items you will see mounted on an RV, you can practically use these external mounts for waste containers or extra fresh water tanks. 

Collapsible water containers: While we’re talking about drinking water supply, it’s worth mentioning collapsible water containers. The most common volume is 5 gallon. These are perfect for those trips to more remote locations where you need to store some extra drinking water. When you’ve used up a container, simply collapse them and neatly tuck them away out of sight. These are also handy to bring along to a day excursion around your campsite. 

External shower: Another thing you can move outside your rig is the shower. Creating an outdoor shower from a detachable rail and a shower curtain will allow you to shower while another companion is occupying the one inside. Plus, in humid weather, this will minimize moisture buildup in your RV.

Magazine racks: Magazine racks are not too deep, thus they can be screwed on the wall almost anywhere to take advantage of the odds-and-ends free spaces to store small frequently used things, for instance, a small gap between a cabinet and the wall, or the area behind the doors. Each magazine rack is not big, but you will be surprised as to how much stuff you can squeeze into them, and how easily accessible they are. 

Command hooks: Command hooks are one of those RV storage ideas that are widely applied in any other space if you want a damage-free solution that allows for versatility. In a small RV or a small apartment, your usage of the space can quickly change over time, and no one wants to screw fresh holes on the wall or cabinet every time. These hooks come with the distinctive adhesive strips that are designed to be removed without any damage to the wall. To remove the hook, just pull the end of the adhesive strip that sticks out from the hook vertically; it is designed to stretch to the point that it comes off from the surface 100% clean, no stripping of walls or leaving any residue behind. You can buy just the refill adhesive strips and use them to secure from wooden coat hangers to small shelves to the walls or the sides of cabinets. 

Leave a Reply