Organizing your RV
How To's and Why Not's, RV Organization, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, RV Upgrades & Mods

The Best Tips for Organizing Your RV Stuff

Are you new to the full-time RV lifestyle? We have hit our 6-year mark of living and traveling in our RV! It has taught us so much about what works, and what doesn’t work in an RV. Below are some really helpful organizing tips and hacks of things we use, and some things that were a total fail. We hope you find some great items you might not have thought of. The things that worked and things that definitely did not! Please understand these are all our personal choices and preferences. What worked (or didn’t) for us. It will, undoubtedly, be different for everyone.  This might be a lot to take in, but I promise, these are some items we truly value as full-time RVers.

Travel or Stationary?

Do you travel full-time, or are you stationary? Do you have a home base where you store or “switch out” things from time to time? The answers to these questions make all the difference in our opinion. Yes, you still want your RV to be organized when you’re out on the road, but if you have a sticks and bricks house that you return to here and there, you may not need every inch of your RV maximized for optimal space. Either way, we hope you find our ideas useful. 

How Do We Travel?

Our advice comes from the way we travel. We are full-time RV “travelers”. Owning our dream home was a beautiful experience. Deciding to sell it was a choice we made. There are no regrets! Even seven years later. Everything we have fits inside 39 feet, which takes a lot of organizing and hoping that you don’t have a mess to clean up when you get to your new destination

Here Are Some Top Suggestions

Always have a First Aid KitEven if you decide to put one together yourself, please make sure you have one!

Tension rods are your best friends!

I use these for everything!                                                                       

  • Tension rods hold things from falling out in our refrigerator
  • They hold our wine and our wine glasses
  • They keep our medicine cabinet organized and keep things from falling out
  • Double RodsThese are supposed to be used for a refrigerator?! They were not wide enough for me, but I did find them very useful in some of my cabinets! 
  • THESE tension rods are what I used the most! These are small and fit in most cabinets. Order more than one set! You’ll use these for so much!

Stackable can organizer

Adjustable chrome shelves in the pantry – LIFESAVER for storage! See the picture below!  

Bungee cords to hold food in place. See the picture below! This keeps my stuff stored on top from coming out during traveling. 

Pantry

LED Lights Stick-on anywhere – 2022 Update. We have purchased more of these in different sizes. We use them in cabinets, under cabinets, in our closets, etc. We couldn’t be happier with these.

Refrigerator deodorizer. No explanation is needed. You will need this! Small spaces ya know! You can easily buy a box of baking soda, but it’s big compared to these, and if every inch is a concern, you’ll love these.

Let’s talk RV mattress’ — Ok, so everyone complains about the RV mattress. In our sticks and bricks house, we had a mattress that was just over 15 years old. YES, time to replace anyway. So when we first checked out our RV mattress, we thought it was pretty nice! So we decided to keep it and just do a few upgrades to it. After a year of sleeping on it with the below 2 upgrades, it’s one of the most comfortable beds I have ever had! We highly suggest if you are keeping your RV mattress, think about adding these two items. We love them! Click on the links below to view and purchase.

Mattress Topper

Quilted Mattress Pad

2024 UPDATE: Look at this! We purchased these two items above for our bed back in 2016. We still use them today! Our bed is so comfortable!

Bed Band sheet holderThese have saved us so much money! RV mattresses are just a tad different in size, and our sheets kept coming off. I didn’t want to buy new sheets, as the ones I had bought were super high quality, which came with super high prices. I was happy to find something that works to keep them in place. And a year later, we still love them!

Let’s talk vacuums! I have a Labrador. That should answer everything if you’ve ever owned one. Oh, she’s cute alright! And she sheds only when she’s breathing. I sweep up “puppies” almost daily, and so I needed a vacuum that would really work well on dog hair, but also be really small and easy to store. I got online and researched, and asked in groups of fellow RVers, and I’m so happy to say this is seriously the best vacuum I’ve ever owned. Hands down! Even better than the one I had in my sticks and bricks house.    Shark Rocket Vacuum

We’ve used this vacuum for over seven years now. TIP: We blow it out (filters and all) often with an air compressor. We still have that same yellow Lab, and she sheds beyond belief. You can’t go wrong with this vacuum, but I highly recommend keeping it clean.

Speaking of dogs, why do they have to take a bite of food and then look around? Letting it all drip on the floor! YUCK! The best thing I ever bought for this dog of mine was the below mess-proof dog feeding system!

Another 2024 Update – We still use this. What we love best is that on travel days, her water isn’t all over the floor when we arrive at our destination. If it splashes out, it’s contained.

Neater Feeder      

Dog/Cat food storage containersNo mice! No ants! And in bear country, no bears! Even if you stay in RV parks 100% of the time, you’ll eventually get a mouse. It’s not fun! But these containers mean that mice and critters will not be able to get in your pet food. Ants are not something I’ve had to deal with (yet), but I see them all over our RV groups. These will save your life! Ha Ha! You can certainly buy cheaper, non-airtight containers, but you’ll regret it the first time you get ants or a mouse in there. 

Padded car seat cover for pets. Did I mention our dog sheds? This really helps keep the hair off the seat. 

Command Strips (please click the link below) Pretty sure I need to own stock in this company. I use these for everything. Here is a sampling of what I have used. We all know about Command Strips so get a bunch! You’ll need them!

Collapsible Dish Drainer – let’s talk about this for a moment. I have seen those super cool little drying pads out there. Small, and easy to fold or roll up and put away! Right? Well, the first time I used one, my coffee pot (which I balanced on a spoon) rolled off and completely shattered on the ground. So unless you have amazing Tetris skills, get this awesome collapsible dish drainer! It has been very convenient and I put it right between my back couch and the wall. 

It’s another one of those “I still use it today” items! This dish drainer is perfect for us. It fits between our couch and a little side table on travel days!

Coffee filter dispenser – Works like a charm! I love it!

Coffee Cup holder – It works great! Please measure the area you’re putting this in, to make sure you can still get them out of the top, or it won’t work for you! You might want to try this if stacking doesn’t work for you.

Silicone Cup Lids – Who would have thought? I love these things. When we were in Montana, I couldn’t sit outside without flies or mosquitos hovering. These saved my drinks 100 times, if not more, from bugs in my drinks. 

Onion Keeper – This does much better than I even expected. Not only does it keep the smell in, but it keeps the cut onion fresh for a very long time. 

Cutting Mats – When we left on our full-time journey, I had cutting boards. I wasn’t going to spend the money on something new. I quickly learned how valuable these cutting mats are and how much more efficient and easy to store and use they are. 

Collapsible salad spinner – We just didn’t have the storage for the salad spinner we had in our house. When I found this, I was more excited than anything! I had planned just to eat wet salad all the time!  

Collapsible laundry basket – Aside from the obvious of it being a laundry basket, I also use this for washing hand wash items. It holds water well, and I liked the square one vs. the oval one. The oval one is hard to store in a square closet. Yes, I use every inch of storage.  

Dinner plate holder – Love this! This is truly one of our most loved items. It allowed us to use the space well! And as you can see, we purchased this back in 2016 and still use it today! We are lucky enough to have a small section in our trailer that is made for storing dishes separately. But they only gave us enough separators for three plates. Strange … I know. And believe me, I tried to buy more from the maker. I ended up getting this, and it also holds all my paper plates as well. 

Magazine holder for foil, plastic wrap, baggies, etc. I have 4-5 of these that I use for the storage of these types of items. There are other typical foil/baggie holders you can get to fit your space as well! I always find going vertical is the way to go in most RVs. But you may have a short long area that would be better for the 3rd one below.

Shelf liner – I struggled with this stuff until Justin came up with a genius idea! So these shelf liners are great, but they do not stay in place as you would think. We would drive, and I’d come in and open a cabinet, and everything that was on the shelf was shifted. Usually slid forward, and we’d have the liner all bunched up in the front. So I got frustrated because I bought this stuff to keep everything in place. Justin mentioned putting velcro dots on each corner. It worked!!! We use velcro dots often. They also hold our remote to the bedroom wall! 

Here are the before and after of my liners with and without the velcro dots. And we tested it … travel day was great! Nothing moved! 

Ice Genie  – Have you seen these great things? PERFECT for the RVer!

2024 Update: We finally bought an ice maker! We love it! It doesn’t use a lot of power when we’re boondocking and it’s been awesome to have. Here is the one we have!

Silicone Ice Tray  I have 2 of these, and they do exactly as they say! I can turn them any which way, and water does not leak out. I’ve used these for over three years, and they are still working perfectly!

Luci Lights  & Luci Lights in Color  –  These are so perfect for the RVer! If you’ve never heard of Luci Lights, you’re missing out! They are on the pricy side, and even though I’m a very thrifty person, I found these lights really worth the money, and the space-saving is wonderful! Tip: On travel day, collapse them and set them up on your truck/RV dash, and they’ll charge while you drive.

USB Charging Ports – These are SUPER easy to install! Let us know if you need some advice and help, and we can certainly help answer questions. Justin put these in 3 places in our bedroom to charge our devices. Super helpful! I don’t think RVs come with enough of these.   

Do you boondock? If so, I found this very helpful! It sits in my bathroom, and in the middle of the night, I can have a nice soft light! And the colors are fun for kids too. Easy for them to use to see! Dimmable LED Nightlight  

Water Bladder  – If you boondock, this will be very convenient for you! Who doesn’t always need a little more water? We’ve been using this now for over five years and have never had any problems. Make sure you rinse it with a couple of caps of bleach/water mixture before storing it. It keeps it clean.

Plastic bins – I would highly recommend getting sets of these all in the same size. We use these for all of the below items.  I used these labels to also write on each bin even though they were see-thru (you can call me an organization freak … I’m ok with that, HaHa) Measure … measure …. measure. Get the most of your space with the sizes you can. 

Magma nesting pot set – Ok RVers … these right here will change you! We had the hardest time making this purchase because of the price, and after six years on the road, I couldn’t be happier with these pans. My only complaint is they didn’t somehow incorporate a pancake pan. Ha Ha Keep in mind, that there are several options, so purchase the ones best for your cooking style. The ones we got were the exact link I sent. They are the non-stick ones. These are the best pans we’ve ever owned and take up such a small amount of space. 2022 update – We are still using this same set. We cook at home every night, and they are fantastic!

De-humidifier – I would never have thought I needed this! Never! Our goals were to spend our time in 70* year-round. Well, the first time it rained for five days straight, our pictures were falling off the wall, and we had so much moisture on the inside of our windows, that it was literally dripping. Of everything we bought for our RV, this was one of the top things I have enjoyed having. It makes living in a small space more comfortable when it’s humid outside. This is the one we bought. It works very well and has been very easy to store when we aren’t using it. You may not need one this large, but we have the room for it. There are much smaller options out there.

Foldable step stool – I’m short! I always need an extra 11 inches! 

Plastic container for dry goods #1 and Containers #2 – You know when you order a set of storage containers, and they send you one normal size one and ten that you might be able to fit a grape into? Well, after our mice fiasco, I put most of our food in plastic containers and was determined to find some that real food could fit in. I was not disappointed with either of these purchases! 

Something that did NOT work for usthe spice racks everyone seems to use. I did buy them. I did not like them. First off, we are spice hoarders. So taking up the room for 6 or 12 spices wasn’t going to work. They did not stay on the wood finish I have. I tried the alcohol wipes, gorilla 2-sided sticky tabs, velcro, everything I could think of. Fifteen minutes and they were falling off. I threw them away. If they work for you, great! I have my spices just in my cabinet by the microwave. We do ok with them just like that. 

Peppermint essential oil – I do diffuse oil as well. However, I defuse the high-quality, brand-named oils. I do not diffuse this brand of peppermint oil. Did you know Peppermint oil is a natural disinfectant? Mice/critter repentant? It is! And after having an issue with five little field mice, and lots of food of mine they thought they deserved to rummage through, I now am a firm believer in Peppermint Oil. I use it for many things.

  • In a spray bottle, mix two tsp of peppermint oil with two drops of liquid dish soap, and fill the rest with water. Spray under your trailer all around. By the way, this is natural, so you can use this in a National Park or National Forest. I recommend once a week or so. Using often keeps spiders and ants away as well! And everyone around will wonder where the nice Xmas smell is coming from. 
  • Peppermint-wicking pots can be made really easy. I bought a package of the wicks for tiki torches and cut them to about 4 inches (depends on the container you’re using. I used an old potato salad container). Cut an X on the top of your container. Insert the wick touching the bottom, and mix two tbs of peppermint oil with about half a cup of water. You can also add a drop of soap and stir. The soap keeps the oil and water from separating. Put these wicking pots in your food cabinets. Or under your bathroom/kitchen sink. 

Whew! Did you take all that in? If you aren’t too tired – check out part 2 of this list here. We hope it was helpful. I understand there are so many more things out there and so many more things for us to add to this list. Share your favorite tips! We would love to hear them! Thank you again for your support, and we appreciate you using our links. 

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean, who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

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Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, Off the Beaten Path Series, Our Life Before Full-Time RVing, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons

Our Nomad Beginning ~ Why We Sold Everything and Moved Into Our RV!

Our story is simple. We were tired of living on everyone else’s terms in life. Tired of the rate race, and never having time to spend in our dream home. We never had time to give of ourselves because we spent so much time striving for the next new item. Come check out why we decided to let it all go and live simply, give more, and expect less. 

Awwww Vlogging! There is definitely an art to it, and we’re working on it, but we have some work to do. But we wanted to share our story with you.

We’d love you to follow along on our journey ahead. Where we explore internally as well as the world around us. All while living in 39 feet where we will make memories and mistakes, and live life to our fullest. Tomorrow is never promised, so we are living our dreams today! 

Let us know what questions you have. We hope whatever your life path is that you live life to your fullest!

Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

Uncategorized

Magnificent Montana – Our Summer in Montana as Full Time RVers

A story about how we left everything behind for a life lived more intentionally, and how we spent our first summer in Montana.

“At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So you can waste your life drawing lines, or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines that are way too dangerous to cross. Here’s what I know: If you’re willing to take the chance, the view from the other side is spectacular.”

Grays Anatomy

Reactions

When we decided to go full-time in our RV, we got many mixed reactions. We were thankful for the positive encouragement of most. The countless numbers of people who said they were envious, and cheered us on or told us how we were an inspiration to them. There were a small few who doubted we could do this, called us crazy, and gave us examples of things they knew nothing about.

Montana Bound

We decided we would try our hand at workamping. We arrived in Montana where we knew we’d settle for a few months. We were excited to explore, but also learn, meet people, and help run a campground. So it was a win-win for us. We are just finishing up the Memorial Day weekend where we had 3 full days of a completely full campground to take care of. We have gotten so much energy from the people out there to who we have told our story. The encouragement and energy we received was amazing. We never doubted we could do this. We are enjoying it 100% and feel blessed and fortunate. But we all know there are those moments when our insecurities creep in and we hear the words of the naive people who doubted we could do this or called us stupid for what we were doing find it’s way into a fleeting thought in a weak moment. None of these campers this weekend will read this, or understand just what they have given us, even though we were the ones that were supposed to be the givers this weekend.

In our home, we do deployment. We do forgiveness. We do loud really well. We have fun. We do honor. We do courage, and we do commitment. We are strong. We get through the hard times. We do integrity. We do lots of hugs and kisses. We keep our promises. We believe in happily ever after. We do homecomings. We are blessed.

LIVE SIMPLY – GIVE MORE – EXPECT LESS

Our Life Before Full-Time RVing

Time For a New Chapter ~ Leaving A Full Time Job for Full Time Travel in My 40’s

Today I left a full-time, secure, good paying job to get ready to sell my house, and live in a 39 foot RV while traveling the country. Who does that? Come check out our story!

Today was the day. Many hours of planning and research came down to a few moments in time when I had to face reality. I became a quitter. Back in July when Stacy and I looked at each other and said “Lets go for it”, I was not really sure how things were going to go when I thought about today. There was a ton of forethought put into the big plan and we always had something to do to get ready. But until today, I never really knew how today was going to go.

I started discussing with a few of my customers our plans when we were prepping for the house to be listed. The first comments were a little disbelief but then as we talked about opportunities and seasonal employment options they realized that it was not such a far-fetched idea. It also helped me to work through the anxiety over the what ifs. Following the many bloggers and vloggers helped me realize that there are many out there doing it on less.I found the more I talked about it the easier it became to realize that all we needed to do was want it bad enough and we could do it. We knew that the transition to the RV lifestyle was going to be a difficult one and that we would have to make a lot of decisions. As I look back I can say many were not hard. The process would involve many hours discussing and evaluating our live goals and desires. I do not regret anything we have done or decisions made to make the transition happen. Many outside forces seemed to only exacerbate the feelings that we needed to go now. From deaths to illnesses and broken self promises experienced by those around us, we came to understand the truth to the saying “tomorrow is never promised”. We came upon so many situations and heard so many stories from people who could give you many reasons why they could not. We would always look at each other and say “We Can!” We then came across a YouTube channel called GoingNoMad. Eric and Tina went through the same thought process that we did. Though their way to get there was different, they still had the same thought processes and end goal in mind.During our initial preps we knew that we needed to downsize our personal possessions. We (ok more I) needed to learn to let go of our collections and not worry about the what we would later refer to as “the just in case” items. Before Christmas we came across and started to follow a podcast from two guys that called themselves “The Minimalists”. We listened in the car during our many trips we took around the holidays and found it very comforting to know that there were many people that felt the same way we did. Their podcasts have really helped us figure out a lot of the how to but also some reinforcement of the why to.So we are down to the last two weeks. I am having to decide what I am going to do with the remnants of my tools that I have used regularly for the last six years. There is still a few projects in Honey (our 5th wheel) that need to be done like our battery bank and battery monitor. I need to finalize my decision on generator options. I also need to build my window to the back of the water lines in the basement. There are some last-minute service items I need to get done to Ginger (our truck) that I have scheduled for next week. And on top of all that, I need to figure out where we are going to go when we close on our current house until the first week of April.

Our Life Before Full-Time RVing

Integrity ~ Selling Our House to Travel Full-Time and Hit a Road Block

February 6, 2017 Integrity

I’ve thought long and hard the last few weeks about Integrity. I’ve fought through being mad, sad, down right pissed off, even some regret have crept in. I’ve questioned if we’re making the right decision and every other emotion you can think of. Let me explain. We were excited to accept an offer on our house a couple of weeks ago. Not only that, but the couple who is buying our home asked to meet us, and are genuine, wonderful people. Then as usual, the inspections came. Did I mention we have spent about $130,000 on our home, that we will not be getting back? Our sewer distribution box seems to be out of alignment, and needs to be fixed. No big deal, right? Wrong! Our distribution box is located under our beautiful walkway we spent so much money on a couple of years ago. It was our pride and joy. It was a reflection of how we wanted people go feel before entering our home. So, our choice was ripping up the walkway, replacing the distribution box, and putting the walkway back. We were told they new owners would most likely have issues with settling due to our cold weather. And if they ever had issues in the future, they’d have to rip up the walkway again. So? Who cares? It’s cheaper for us to just rip it up and let them worry about it someday. Right? Well no! That’s what so many people would do, but that’s not who we are. That’s not what I’d hope would be done to us. It’s about integrity and honesty and karma. Doing the right thing, no matter what you’re faced with can be super hard. And I can tell you Justin and I get the raw end of the deal so often but we can sleep at night. We lay our heads down knowing we’ve done the right thing. The honest thing. We hope that matters to someone important someday. So, we will be relocating our D-box, paying a lot more for that process, but we will continue to have our integrity. That is what it’s all about. Our new owners will never know the turmoil we went through. But we will know they are getting the best we had to offer. I have to believe somewhere along the line that old saying about “the more you give, the more you get” comes and hunts us down. Justin and I always remain positive, but we’ve often said (with a smile) we find ourselves working twice as hard for half as much. But it’s our work. Our reward. So it’s ok. 

Our Life Before Full-Time RVing

It Appraised for what? Selling our Home to Travel Full Time in Our RV Proved Difficult!

Trying to sell our home so we can live a life with more meaning proves to be difficult. Life can sometimes challenge you and here’s our story of how we made some tough decisions, and the emotional journey to get there. 

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January 18, 2017 “This is the part  where you find out what you’re made of and what really matters”. Today we got back our home appraisal. After sinking close to (or over) $100,000 into our home since we bought it in 2010, the appraisal came back $4,000 less than we paid for it 7 years ago. This is emotionally killing us! It’s only money …. It’s not as important as life. I’ve said that a million times. But this cut deep. Nanny left us her life savings, and I sunk it into a home to better the home, that I’m now going to sell for less than I bought it?!? Would she be disappointed in me? Would she tell me it’s not worth worrying about and move on? What I wouldn’t give to spend 15 minutes with her and get some really good mom advice! It’s a somber evening in the Ford household. We aren’t talking. We’re just over thinking. I hear Justin sighing about every 20 minutes. It’s what he does when he’s disappointed, or trying to make the right decision on something. We will get through this, but surely this is not a good outcome for us.

Our Life Before Full-Time RVing

We’re Live! Our House Went on The Market Today!

October 17, 2016 – We’re Live! 

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Today both our home and our rental property went live on the market. I didn’t know  what that meant until it was explained to me. It’s the act of  the listing being publicly published on the internet. Wow have things changed since we sold our home in Chesapeake in 2002. Now there is an app on my phone I can confirm my own showings, see comments people make after walking through my home, and many other features. Last week when the sign went up outside I had just a few fleeting moments of panic, or regret, or questioning if I’m making the right decision. I do love our home. We’ve put an awful lot of money into it thinking we’d stay forever. Now we are willing to take a loss on it and walking away? Am I crazy? I asked for a simple sign to let me know I’m making the right decision. I look hard for those signs to reassure myself in most of my life. I think if I’m on the right path spiritually or otherwise, things won’t be too hard. They will fall into place easier than if I’m on the wrong path. That sign came today when my manager at work told me an old co-worker of ours called her this weekend, and her own 42 year old manager passed away while running a 5k. Healthy, in shape, always very concerned about his health and eating right and keeping in shape. Tomorrow is never promised no matter how old, young, in shape or healthy you are. Don’t get me wrong, money is great, but it is just money. It’s life, and the memories you make that are truly soul filling. Funny how LIVE and LIVE are spelled the same way but pronounced different. So today we went live, so we can go live! 

Live Simply ~ Give More ~ Expect Less