Living small has its advantages and disadvantages. There’s less area to clean but also less places to store stuff so you need to get a little creative on how to store stuff and protect stuff when you travel. Plus you always have to ask yourself ‘is this a need or a want?’ and ‘where will I store it.’
When we first started full timing, we had plenty of storage. 6 yrs have passed now and we no longer ask those questions because there is very little extra space for storage. Now our motto is:
If something new comes in, something old must go out.
So finding ways to store stuff has become a very important endeavor. We use storage ottomans, baskets everywhere, storage under our seat cushions at the dining table, boxes for shoes, etc.
Here are a few things that we have done in order to save space or to just organize things. And for those of you that still have a ‘stick and brick home’ many of these ideas can be used there too.
Boy do they take up a lot of room! By using a wine rack installed on the wall behind our toilet, I was able to free up an entire drawer in our bathroom. Initially we had a towel bar installed on that wall. We removed the bar, turned the mounts for the bar 90 degrees so we could use them to hang used towels and then installed the wine rack. The towels, when rolled in a specific fashion fit perfectly. Washcloths at the top, then hand towels then bath towels.
Here’s a great idea for storing bathroom/shower items. Over the door shoe bags work great! Compliments to a fellow RVer, Cindy Blizzard Fields, for this idea.
Storage ottomans with the reversible tray lid is one of the best ideas we found and they have multiple uses. We have 2 of them. We mainly use them as a bar to store bottles of wine or liquor or oils for cooking but we also pull one of them up front between our chairs and it becomes our tray to put stuff on like lunch, snacks and phones, etc. when we are traveling.
I LOVE to cook so storing spices was a real challenge – not only because I have a lot of them but I’m slightly OCD when it comes to clutter. It drives me nuts! So what to do? Invest in some spice jars and chalk lids and start repacking my spices into the jars. Now my spices are easy to see and I can store them so much easier. I also have the stick on spice jar holders on the inside of my cabinets for spices that I don’t use as often.
Note: The spice jars are two layers deep in the drawer.
Need extra storage for your pantry items? Over the door shoe storage bags are great for providing extra storage. Thanks to fellow RVer, Cindy Blizzard Fields, for this great idea!!
Cookie Sheets and Large Cutting Boards
I accidentally came across this idea for storing cookie sheets and large cutting boards. I have two pull out drawers in my pantry. There is about 1-1/2 inches between the pull out drawers and the wall on both sides. A perfect spot to slide in my cookie sheet, cutting board and pizza pan.
Why we need so many shoes, I don’t know but we have them anyways! So where to put them? I’ve seen many ideas but this one worked best for us with the space we have under the end of our bed and we can store a lot of shoes in them. Truth be told, one box has computer cords, devices and other computer related gadgets in it. Bought the containers at Home Depot. They have snap lids on them to keep everything inside.
Note: Since our bed is on a slide and actually goes over our dresser area, we have to move them when we bring the slide in. They get stored on the bed when we travel but not until all the slides are in so we move them to the counter above the dresser drawers, bring the bed slide in, then move them to the bed. Why? Because you don’t want to over load your slides with extra weight when you bring them in or put them out. Move to counter, bring bed slide in, put boxes on bed then bring in counter slide. Reverse when stopping for the night – put counter slide out, move boxes to counter, put bed slide out, then put boxes under bed. It’s become routine after so many years.
I found the best way to store my tee shirts and jeans that lets you see everything you have at a glance so you don’t have to dig through a stack to find that perfect one you are looking for to complete your outfit. And you can store so much more this way!
The shirt drawer has about 20 tee shirts and 3 pairs of PJ’s as well as my jewelry boxes (I used fishing tackle boxes with the different compartments and they are 3 deep in the drawer).
The pant drawer holds about 18-20 pairs of pants depending on whether they are long pants or capri’s. I usually store my capris on one side that my full length pants on the other.
Folding is the key to making this work.
Shirts get folded in half top to bottom then the sleeves get folded in from each side till they meet in the middle then fold in half top to bottom again. That way you can see any logos that might be on the front of the shirt.
The pants – regardless of the length – get folded in half from side to side then get folded in thirds starting with folding the top over by 1/3 then folding over again. That keeps the busy edges of the top tucked in and keeps them from looking messy in the drawer.
BASKETS, BASKETS EVERYWHERE!!
Baskets are a life saver – or should I say space saver! We use them everywhere! Under our dining chairs, on top of our refrigerator, in our cabinets – where ever you can fit a basket or container! Here’s just a few examples of where we use them.
Our medicine cabinets had a small lip on the bottom shelf but not on the top so stuff kept falling out every time I opened the cabinet after traveling. I added a flat, thin board that I stained to both shelves and then added the Ice cube containers to store all those little medicine bottles, bandaids, ointments, lotions, etc. You can find the ice cube containers (for an automatic ice maker) at the dollar store or even at your grocery store.
The baskets on top of the fridge came from the dollar store. As you can see the one in the middle is missing the handle. Oh well. They are on rubber shelf liner material and never fall down when traveling – yet. I’m sure one day one of them will fall but I only keep boxes of crackers and such in them so no big deal.
This is not a storage tip but it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made. I have2 of them and they fold flat for storage in the back of my Jeep. When I go grocery shopping, I fill them with my grocery bags to carry into the coach. I swear by these. They save me lots of trips up and down the stairs to the coach. They are made my Meori and I bought them on Amazon. These are the large size but they have various sizes. I am getting ready to purchase the smaller size with the inserts for wine bottles too.
Trash Bags- I don’t waste precious space storing trash bags in a drawer or cabinets. I remove them from their boxes and put them in the bottom of my trash cans. That way they are out of the way and when I go to empty the trash and to a new bag in – viola! – the new bag is right there! I do that for my kitchen and bathroom cans.
Ziplock Bags- Again, those space robbing boxes get tossed. I remove the bags and wrap the bags together with a rubber band.
Extra Blankets – Do you have pillow shams on your bed? They are a great place to store extra blankets!! Just remove the pillow and stuff them with your blankets. You’ll save lots of room by not storing them in your cabinets.
Laundry Supplies – Most of us have multiple cleaning products we use to do our laundry – detergent, fabric softener, stain removers, bleach, fragrant beads …… the list goes on! Where do you store all those items without taking up an entire cabinet? In your washer of course!! It’s just empty space screaming to be used!! After I do laundry, I wipe off the moisture on my washer door, dry off the door gasket to keep mold and mildew smell at bay then leave the door open for about 20 minutes to assure it’s dried well. Then all the laundry products go in the washer and that’s where they stay until the next laundry day.
Also, I use the dryer to store my dustpan and whisk broom.
Hope you have picked up a few ideas! As I find more, I’ll post them here and let you know join our FB group so you’ll be notified when additions are made. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!!