RV in canyon
Photo courtesy of David~O, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Maximize Space on Your RV

Owning an RV means getting out and exploring the country. It also means learning to live in tight quarters — sometimes in a space that’s a mere 12 feet long. 

For many, the benefits of exploring open land outweigh the challenges posed by space constraints. The number of RVs on the road has increased in the U.S. over the past few years to 8.9 million, up from 7.9 million in 2005, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. That’s 8.5 percent of households, up from 8 percent in 2005, the association says.

When your home is on wheels, saving space is important. With such limited space, being efficient and organized is key. Consider these five road-worthy tips on how to use your tight space wisely — from cabinetry to commode.


1. Organize and add storage space

When it comes to RV living, it’s important to think of any space as storage space. Think under the bed, over the bed, above the kitchen nook — all of those areas can become cabinets, if they’re not already, to store any on-the-road must-haves. If your RV does not have a closet space, you may want to add storage capability to your rolling home. This can be done by installing a rod for hanging clothes, drawers for stackable items and accessories and using organizing baskets or other containers for loose ends.

Think outside the box when it comes to organizing your cabinets. Attach mountable magazine racks on the inside of cabinetry for additional storage space — these are just the right size to fit on the inside of the cabinet door. Try out a spice rack to organize smaller-sized bathroom products, such as shampoo, toothpaste and sunscreen.


2. Make your furniture multi-purpose

Many RVs are equipped with multi-functional furniture — an end table that flips up to create a desk, a kitchen table that pulls out from the bed and folding tables that mount into the wall and fold flat when they aren’t in use. Adding pullout tables, like a kitchen table, card table or work desk, to an RV space can be an effective use of space. And whatever pieces you add to your RV, be sure to watch your weight. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, weight distribution in your RV is the key to maintaining a balanced vehicle, which can affect RV handling, the ride and braking.


3. Stabilize your dishware

When your home is on wheels, slamming on the brakes can turn your dishes to dust. Instead of just tucking your plates and bowls in a cabinet, look into plate holders that will help to keep your stacked plates from sliding around in your cabinets and possibly breaking on a bumpy road. Collapsible, plastic dishes and cups are another smart route, not only saving you from broken dishes but also saving space.


4. Use the wall space

When it comes to RV living, hooks and Velcro are your friends. Adhesive hooks won’t harm your RV walls and are strong enough to hold towels, kitchen utensils and a flashlight. Velcro is a useful tool for keeping everything in its right place — anchored down before the vehicle starts to cruise.


5. De-cramp the commode

If you have the space for a toilet in your RV, it’s typically a tight space that you’ll want to make as roomy as possible. There are plenty of other options should you not have proper plumbing, including a marine toilet (water is pumped into it before each use), a compost toilet (waste is mixed with peat moss or another natural material) or a foot-operated one (uses minimal water). Also look into small sinks, such as those that sit on top of the toilet and use the same water source. To keep bathroom appliances and accessories organized, you can attach PVC tubes inside cabinet doors, these are perfect for hair dryers and curling irons. And while you’re stocking the bathroom, be sure to stock your RV with proper safety gear.

When it comes to RV living, it’s about the journey, not the destination. So why not make this journey an organized and comfortable one? Save space and enjoy the ride.

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