It’s summertime and living should be easy, especially when it comes to the simple pleasures of camping under the stars. And if you store and organize your gear according to our expert tips, hitting the road on a whim should be a breeze.
Our avid family vacationers use camping storage solutions so effective, these guys can pack fast even with family in tow. Being organized also clears more storage space for other hobbies and gear used during the camping off–season. It gets rid of the clutter.
Buy Stackable Storage Containers That Fit Your Shelves
Store camping items together in plastic bins so that getting ready for a trip is as easy as carrying pre–packed boxes to your car, suggests Kelley Krohnert, mom and Taking on Today blogger. Her Atlanta–based family tries to go camping several times a year, and she says they have a lot of supplies!
“We were camping more and more, and it was such an ordeal to get ready every time,” Krohnert said. “We wanted to get organized.”
So she put together several large, plastic bins that she labels and stores in the same space, a system she’s successfully used for years.
“Everything is all together in one cabinet and shelving unit. We have one place to get everything, and we’re not tripping over it,” Krohnert said.
When she’s ready to go, Krohnert’s family members put the bins in the car. They don’t have to scramble through her home to find everything they need.
She emphasizes that you must measure the bins before buying. Otherwise once you get home, you may find that the durable–and–affordable bins that seemed perfect are actually useless.
“See if it will fit where you’ll store it,” Krohnert said. “Make sure they stack nicely, so they don’t tip over it in the car or in storage,” she said.
Misty Marsh, a mom of four who writes about her family adventures on YourOwnHomeStore.com, now known as Simple Family Preparedness, takes her family camping several times a year. She said using tubs to store their gear may take more work in the beginning, but it pays off in the end.
“This system makes it easier to go often as it is less stressful to plan and get ready,” Marsh said.
She has used 20–gallon plastic bins with lockable tops for years.
Make Labels and a Camping Checklist to Tape Inside Each Bin
Knowing what is in each container makes it easier to hit the road when it’s time for a trip, Krohnert said.
“Keep a good list on what goes in a bin, so you can check. Make sure everything is inside before you go,” Krohnert said.
This practice also makes it easier to declutter and get rid of any unnecessary supplies that your thought were a good idea but never actually used.
Krohnert likes to be prepared for the different seasons and makes two lists — one for summer, the other for winter — so she remembers to bring climate–friendly items like beach towels and fans instead of thick blankets and coats, at the right time of year.
Like Krohnert, Marsh also uses lists, but she splits hers into two sections: one for supplies that need to be washed or refilled after every trips, the other for items that stay in the tubs permanently.
Marsh laminates her lists and secures them to the top of each bin.
You can download a copy of Krohnert’s camping packing checklist or Marsh’s camping tub checklist for more detail.
Both moms recommend having a family fun tub, even though the items they store aren’t necessarily essential.
"This tub is full of inexpensive, but fun things – coloring books, balls, card games, books – and only comes out when we go camping, so it is special. My kids look forward to it. It provides for some good memories as well,” Marsh said.
Buy an Extra Set of Items
Instead of making a mess while trying to find skewers in the kitchen for campfire s’mores, Krohnert suggests buying an extra set of any items you use both at home and for camping in order to keep your house and vacation more organized.
“If it stays in your camping bins, you won’t forget to repack it or accidentally leave it at home,” Krohnert said.
The extra stuff will also make keeping your house organized easier. You won’t need to replace items after a fun, but exhausting, camping adventure.
Krohnert has an extra set of all kitchen supplies she uses while camping, which she keeps in a four–drawer unit.
“The drawers turned out to be an amazing idea,” Krohnert said. “It’s our travel kitchen and holds plates, silverware, cups, paper towels, Ziploc bags.”
The portable kitchen fits easily in her car and keeps her food items clean and safe at the campsite.
So whether you’re looking to organize your garage after your last adventure or are ready to hit the road, both moms said these storage tips are tested and work to keep your life free of clutter wherever you are.
“The camping stuff isn’t spread out all over – it is all in one place! We have less clutter. I love being organized and this just adds to the overall system of ‘everything in its place,’” Marsh said.Photos courtesy of Kelley Krohnert.