12 Space Savers for RV Living

Saying that space is at a premium in your RV is like saying that the Grand Canyon is … roomy. (Yeah, we all know.) But a lack of space doesn’t have to create disorder. Because when space is small, innovation can be big. And with some smart choices—and a few savvy buys—you can turn a tiny space into a storage masterpiece. In fact, with these tips as your guide, you just might achieve storage nirvana. (Where emptiness means even more space.)

These 12 storage hacks are simple. Easy. And thrifty.

Make them yours and max out the splendor of small space living.

1. Go vertical with it

Closet and cabinet interiors are notorious for wasted space. (That single horizontal rod in the closet just isn’t going to cut it.) Instead, maximize the entire height of the space, from top to bottom, with vertical storage options. Stackable, modular storage containers (oh, look! they're in the sidebar) help create a customizable solution to fit any tiny spot.

Your Reward: Clutterfree closets and cabinets. At last.

2. Swap food bags for containers

Spend some time on RV Pinterest and you’ll find that clear food storage containers are IN. Like way in. But what we like more than the cute factor is that they’re stackable. (Hello, vertical space.) Your containers don’t have to be fancy. Any old Tupperware will do, but get the same type of container so that stacking is seamless.

Your Reward: Food storage feels like beginner Tetris.

Opt for rectangle or square containers over round ones. They make better use of any space. (Unless maybe you’re in an Airstream.)

3. Make it magnetic

Line a few magnetic strips along the backsplash area of your kitchen to store knives and utensils. These items are used regularly while cooking, so amping up their accessibility has a huge convenience payoff. But more importantly, it frees up precious cabinet, drawer, and counter space for other kitchen necessities.

Your Reward: A tighter kitchen, high on function. | See how to do your own install.

4. Get the micro version

It might seem hard to justify buying new containers just because they’re travel-sized. But if you can reduce the size of even 10 percent of your items, that is a huge net gain in reclaimed space. Toiletries may be a no-brainer (we’ve all been to Walgreens), but your next level hack is to apply the same principle to kitchen items, like seasoning containers and saltshakers. Trust us.

Your Reward: A spice cabinet that drops three sizes.

5. Retake some air space

Clothing takes up more than its share of valuable RV real estate, especially seasonal items like coats and blankets. So make it simple: If you’re not using it, store it. With vacuum sealer storage bags, you can remove all of the air and compress the items to a fraction of their size. The amount of space you’ll save will shock you.

Your Reward: Closet space that’s worth its weight in gold.

Whenever possible, store like items with like items. It makes it easier to find which vacupacked bag you stored your favorite I Heart RVing T-shirt in.

6. Stash it under the bed

If you’re lucky enough to have some storage under the bed, put it to good use. But be careful not to make it a dumping ground for random items. Plan to store items that you only use occasionally, like those seasonal clothes you just shrunk down to storage size. They can share space with items that you need but just can’t bear to look at.

Your Reward: A more organized hideaway.

7. Be multi…purpose…ful!

Ever ask yourself: Why have three separate items with three separate purposes, when you can store just one item? (Good question, self.) The kitchen is an excellent place to invest in some multipurpose tools, like a combination bowl and colander, or a spoon that doubles as a fork. (We kid. Sorry, KFC: Sporks are an abomination.)

Your Reward: Fewer bowls = tidier stacks.

8. Keep some things collapsible

Collapsible dish drying rack, anyone? A quick search on Amazon will yield quite a few items that can collapse down to take up no space at all. From water bottles and colanders to laundry baskets and trash cans, you can easily replace some bulkier items to save yourself some space.

Your Reward: Items that appear, do their job, then vanish.

Must-Haves for Small Space Living

Small space living is a way of life. A state of mind, even. But it’s also having the right tiny stuff for the right tiny job. Here are 4 great investments in your small space lifestyle.

Zippered Vinyl and Mesh Pouches
Sure, you could use clear Ziploc bags (and we are also big fans of those), but we’ve got to give it up for these puncture-resistant pouches, which bring a lot of substance with their style. $3–5 ea., containerstore.com

Copco Shelf Risers
Shelf risers make even the tiniest spaces more visible and accessible, giving easier access to the back row of items. Because they deserve it. $8, amazon.com

3M Command Hooks
These inexpensive multitaskers work just about anywhere you need extra storage space. No need to drill holes into the wall. Use them to hang anything from towels to your favorite spatula. $5–20, containerstore.com

See how Andrew Chwalik uses command strips in his teardrop trailer.

Modular Stackable Storage
It might be difficult to toss the current hodgepodge of plastic containers in your RV. But having a system of matching containers makes stacking easier and more stable. And stability is a first cousin to usability. Prices vary by brand and material.

9. Give the doors some double-duty

Behind every single cabinet or closet door is an area waiting to be transformed. Since typically the backs of doors don’t come with premade storage, it’s easy to overlook. But, by adding simple hooks, adhesive shelves, or a specialized over-the-door solution, you can add so much additional storage to your RV.

Your Reward: Extra room for essentials. And every guest’s admiration.

10. While you’re at it, check those seats, too

For motorhomes, the backs of captain chairs are also prime space to store quickto- grab items. With just a few behind-the-seat organizers, you can transform that blank space into something useful. A snack station. A magazine stand (wink!). Or a kids’ zone with a tablet, activity books, and small toys? Your RV, your choice.

Your Reward: Getting more fun out in the open.

11. Slap a label on it

OK, so putting a label on your items won’t technically create more space, but it will help you stay more organized. And staying organized is ground zero for keeping a small space tidy. It’ll also help you discern what you do (or don’t) have, so you don’t end up with … duplicates! The bane of every space saver.

Your Reward: Improved reaction times for unplanned searches.

12. Just get rid of it

Heck, when all else fails, just toss it in the trash or donate it. (Can I get an amen?) You likely didn’t need it anyways, and if it turns out you did,
you can always pick up a replacement at the next campground cantina. Like my mom always says, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Your Reward: One less thing to organize.

Did we miss your favorite space saver? Tag I Heart RVing on social media to share it with us.

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