After rummaging around in the storage compartments of our RV we decided that enough was enough and it was time to do something about the disorganization that was our travel trailer. So we literally took every item in the trailer out and stepped back and looked at what we were bringing on our journey with us. All that stuff. 

Wow. 

RVing is a fun adventure that takes you to wonderful places all over this great land. As we all travel, there are things we see that seem to find their way into the RV as reminders of these wonderful journeys. Some of these things are incredibly useful or, at least, they seem to be must-haves when they move from the store shelves to wherever they’ll fit in the trailer. 

All of the “stuff” from our trailer taking over our kitchen in our sticks-and-bricks.

But, over time, they become stuff we haven’t touched in a while. 

There were some wonderful reminders of incredible journeys that we came across as the trailer was emptied out. Cool glasses with pink flamingoes and those nifty glass holders from another fun journey. But both of those ended up in the cabinet with everyday drinkware and plates and what we really used them for is an obstacle to the more useful stuff that also was fighting for space in the cabinet. 

Gone. 

Our 19’ travel trailer is like so many others favored by Girl Campers in that it’s big on portability and maneuverability but the storage isn’t it’s strong suit. So it was time to get organized. 

Starting with the outside cabinets, everything got segregated by use. There’s the stuff we use for hitching the trailer, the stuff for the wastewater tanks, the things that help us when we’re in the campsite and even a bunch of tools because, well, RVs need love. A lot. 

After measuring these cabinets we discovered that specific Sterilite containers would stack in there perfectly. These see-through boxes with water-tight snap lids and convenient handles make for great ways to store each group of items. 

One of my favorite tools is my label maker so the boxes are all labeled as to what goes in them. 

Now, hitching up the trailer or finding the bits to hook it to a campsite is as simple as opening the cabinet and getting the container with those specific things in it. And putting them away is a breeze as well. 

This makes setting up camp really, really speedy. And easy. 

Let’s go inside 

The same philosophy we used outside was transferred into the trailer where, again, the cabinets were measured and we found more Sterilite containers that would fit into the indoor cabinets. 

Putting everything into containers made trip preparation a breeze!

The first place we did this was with the clothing and this has helped us in two ways. By having these plastic containers for our clothes it made it a breeze to transfer the things we’d wear into the trailer. 

When we’re not traveling the Sterilite containers are in the house but, when it’s time to hit the road, they get stuffed with what we’ll be wearing when out on adventure. We also know just how much we can bring – when the containers are full, it’s time to stop packing. Simple. 

Yes, there are hanging clothes, but most of what we wear when traveling can be rolled up and placed in these containers. 

While most of my clothes have found homes in plastic containers, Peggy has a different idea of putting her outfits into a shoe rack which hangs in her closet. All of her items are rolled and placed in the various spaces you’d normally use for shoes and then hung in the closet.

I think it’s funny because it’s like the closet is sticking it’s tongue out at us and that tongue is her clothing. But it’s also highly effective.

The kitchen, too, got the same treatment. 

When we first bought the trailer we also bought a set of nesting stainless steel pots. In the three years that we’ve had the trailer, these pots have served us very, very well and they take very little space.

The nesting pans we have loved since day one – small storage, big function.

The containerization idea was translated into the kitchen as well starting with spices. Tony loves to cook and is really picky about the spices he uses so we looked up our local Tupperware lady and got containers for spices. Then we found a rack that would hold all of these and used Command strips to affix it to the wall near the stove. Now the spices are easy to find and also have a home. 

We’ve also seen quite a few people hang these magnetic spice holders on their walls or on cabinet doors and such. 

In the cabinet itself all the other gadget for the kitchen, too, have their place. Several baskets hold various things that make it possible to be a campground gourmet and, again, the label maker has proven to be a great traveling companion. 

While we prefer to eat on proper china when we’re at home, on the road it’s basically “unbreakable” items and we’ve found that we don’t need to bring a whole campground’s worth of dinnerware with us. While we do enjoy feeding others, everybody also has their own dishes and flatware and such so we got to take all those extra plates and bowls out of the trailer which frees up cabinet space. 

This kind of thinking has really opened up the storage in our trailer – no longer do we have literally 12 dishes but, now, only two. There are also two bowls, two cups and such. Yes, we’d love to make you dinner or serve you a margarita from Tony’s electric drill-powered blender so don’t forget to bring your dishes to the party. 

Hint: this also saves us from having to wash as many dishes as well. 

Lastly, we use these flexible cable ties to keep all our cords and wires organized. It keeps things neat and, again, makes set-up and tear-down faster and neater.

Camping versus traveling

One of the last things we realized is that there are really two forms of travel: camping and traveling. 

Camping is where you and your friends are gathering for a few days worth of fun. This is the time to have all those spare funny glasses and extra plates in another container that gets packed away for the weekend. 

Space on these trips isn’t as much at a premium simply because you’ve only got a weekend’s worth of clothing to bring so you have more space for novelty drinkware. It works out really well. 

When we’re traveling, it’s all about the go so we take all those novelty and redundant items and replace them with more clothing and others things we’ll need on a longer road trip. 

This has really worked out well, for our style of traveling. 

In summary

Having everything in marked containers and organized has really made RVing that much more pleasant. Setting up camp and hooking up the trailer are faster and far more efficient now that we know exactly where certain things are. 

Having a place for everything and everything in its place was a lesson from childhood that really has worked well in the trailer and, it turns out, these little Sterilite containers are just the kind of thing our mom had in mind when she taught us this lesson. 

Written by Tony Barthel

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