Packing Tips for Small Spaces: How to Make the Most of Limited Storage
No matter where your travels take you, one of the great things about an RV is that you can take some of the comforts of home with you. But, there are limits. Though some RVs provide more room than others, space in any RV is at a premium. Even with a luxurious rig, you can’t bring it all with you. You’ll have to pair it down and then use storage ideas for small spaces to make the most of all you do bring.
Space: A Premium Asset
Storage in an RV is all about the management of space. Unlike your home closet and pantry, RVs challenge you to think long and hard about what you can take and how you store it. Understanding your RV’s unique spatial dynamics and limits is the first step. But whether you’re in a compact camper, a camper van, or a large, luxury RV, one thing remains true: every inch counts.
Creating Space Where There Is None
With a little creativity, you can find innovative storage solutions even for places where there is none now. Take a spin around your RV and see how you can:
- Use vertical storage such as wall space or behind doors to hang organizers, shelves, pockets, or hooks to store clothing, utensils, toiletries, etc.
- Dig down under to store gear or clothing under beds, tables, or couches. Use slim, compact containers that can keep everything organized and that are easy to pull out and use.
- Think outside the box and repurpose other storage solutions. For example, back-of-door shoe organizers can be used for all sorts of gear. Pantry shelves can become space-saving shelves for other locations. Vertical pegboards with rollouts can fit between cabinets or in other tight, narrow spaces and store an array of items from tools to kitchen gadgets to spices. Stackable or collapsible containers can help keep everything orderly while making better use of the space. And magnetic strips can safely store kitchen knives or tools, leaving more room in your drawers or for counterspace.
- Look up to store lightweight items in ceiling-mounted netting or racks. Cargo nets are a great way to add function to space that would otherwise be wasted. You can store clothing, gear, extra supplies, pillows, pet supplies, toys, games, jackets, small electronics, or even your fishing rods up high.
Prioritize the Essentials
Even if you’re able to create some extra space in your RV, you’ll still likely need to pair down and prioritize. You’ll want to focus on the gear that’s most important for your enjoyment and comfort.
Essentials include safety items like a first-aid kit and fire extinguishers, multi-functional tools, space-saving kitchen essentials, compact bedding, outdoor gear, and versatile clothing.
Don’t forget to take the season into account. Your gear may differ if you’re going someplace where you’ll see more rain or snow than a location where most of your days will be spent near a sunny beach.
You can maximize the space by packing efficiently and effectively. That includes:
- Using organizers, such as drawer dividers, cabinet organizers, and stackable bins. These can help keep things not only neat but accessible, so you don’t have to take everything out to find the one thing you’re looking for.
- Practice “less is more” philosophy and ruthlessly pair down your packing choices. If the item isn’t essential, consider leaving it at home. Remember, however, that your essentials may not be the same as your travel partner’s. For instance, you may require your favorite fly rod. They may want to pack a good book or journal. That said, you probably don’t need all of your fishing gear, and your partner doesn’t need an entire library (unless it’s stored invisibly on a digital device).
- Plan your meals, which can help limit the amount of food as well as the kitchen supplies you’ll need. For example, choose to use the same ingredients for multiple meals in different ways. Or prep your ingredients and place them in smaller containers to bring only what you’ll need.
- Choose space-saving gadgets that have multiple purposes. For instance, you may be able to use a kettle to make both tea and coffee. Silicone trivets can double as potholders and help you open a tight lid. A versatile knife can chop veggies and slice your cheese. Reusable storage bags can keep your food fresh in the pantry, fridge, or freezer and then washed out to be used again and again to minimize waste.
- Roll rather than fold your clothing, which saves space and prevents wrinkles.
- Use multi-purpose containers.
- Keep an RV checklist to pack all of your essentials first, before adding any items “just for fun.” Digital tools, such as an inventory app, can help you keep track of what’s packed, what you may need to restock, or where a particular item is stowed.
In addition to creating a packing list, create a do NOT pack list. Knowing what not to bring is just as important as knowing what to bring. Your list may include bulky items that don’t collapse, excess clothing that can only be worn once (or not worn at all), redundant gadgets (especially those that are rarely used or have only one function), heavy books or magazines (when digital options save space).
Storage Ideas for Small Spaces Takeaway
Making the most of your small storage space in your RV doesn’t have to be daunting. With a bit of creative thinking, thoughtful planning, strategic packing, and some clever solutions, you can make the most of even the most limited RV storage. And you won’t need to sacrifice comfort, personal aesthetics that make your RV feel more homey, or entertainment.
The goal is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And a well-packed RV is the first step in your next adventure.