It’s the season for taking long road trips and enjoying the great outdoors, which are just the things Janine Pettit loves to do well. The Girl Camper heads out with her trailer often, when she’s not sharing RV DIY advice on her weekly podcast.
“I grew up in a camping family and then I married a non-camper,” she said. “I saw an article about women who go camping without their husbands. I always missed camping, so I bought a 1959 tin can trailer to sleep just me. I just started going places and meeting other women.”
This summer, she’s heading out once again and plans to drive 5,000 miles to visit seven National Parks including Glacier and Yellowstone.
“If you’re alone, you can still go places and do things!” she said.
RVing is more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle with the opportunity for a whole lot of adventure but not a ton of space for more than the bare necessities. So if you’re ready to hit the open road, check out these five pro RV storage tips from Pettit and other RV enthusiasts to make the most out of your small, mobile space.
Use Household Organizers to Make the Most of Your Space
Shelf space in any bathroom can be limited, let alone in a tiny loo on wheels, so Pettit recommends RVers use an over-the-door shoe organizer to stash toiletries between showers.
“Each slot can hold a lot of stuff,” she said. “Hang it on the inside on the door (for easy access), or you can hang it on the outside of door where it won’t get wet.”
She also recommends packing a cheap silverware organizer to use as a shower caddy.
“If I’m in a nice campground, I’ll take that to the shower at the campground with me,” she said.
Mount Your Coffee Maker to Save Counter Space
When couple Bill Widmer and Kayla Blydenburgh graduated college in Pennsylvania last year, they had no idea where they wanted to live. So they jumped in an RV in search of a perfect hometown while they wrote about their adventures on their website The Wandering RV.
“There were so many places we haven’t seen, so how would we know where we wanted to live?” said Widmer.
When they were on the road, the java-loving couple mounted their coffee machine to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet to free up some space.
“Kayla loves to cook and I love to eat, and we basically had no counter space,” he said.
Just don’t forget to secure the coffee pot before you drive off!
“Throw things in the sink while you’re driving so they don’t fly around,” Widmer suggested.
Stuff Pillow Cases with Spare Sheets to Save RV Closet Space
A bookworm, Pettit loves to lounge in her trailer’s bed, and she has lots of throw pillows to keep her comfortable. To save closet space, she uses spare sheets to fill her pillows.
Just unzip a spare reading or decorative pillow and insert a folded sheet.
“I have two oblong pillows that are great for reading,” she said. “One holds the fitted sheet and the other holds the flat sheets, so I’m not taking up my storage space.”
She tries to find multiple uses for everything in her 20-foot trailer.
“It’s all about utilizing the space,” she said.
Use a Bungee Cord to Secure Cabinet Doors
In 2013, explorers Jacob Fu and Esther JuLee left their Atlanta hometown and have lived in a new place every year since. They write about their travels in city guides on their website Local Adventurer. During one three-month-stint living in an airstream, Fu said they learned how to live with less.
“Ultimately, you’re on the road to be out in amazing places!” he said. “Don’t get too hung up on having everything you own with you.”
He said they also learned that the open road can get rough, so safeguarding storage spaces helped ensure their stuff stayed in the right place.
“When we knew the road was going to get bumpy, we used a bungee cord to secure the cabinets,” he said. “Eventually we (started using the cords) all the time, so we didn’t have to worry about it.”
Pack Tension Rods to Hang and Store Towels
Easy-to-assemble tension rods can create a temporary drying rack in your RV or a fulltime storage tool when you stick them between two walls, said Pettit.
“If you buy spring rods, you can put them up in your bathroom to store wet towels,” she said. “You can also use them in kitchen cabinets to hang dish towels.”
“When you’re living in a small space, you’ve got to be really creative with storage,” she added.
Photo courtesy of Janine Pettit.