You may have been on the road a number of years and reckon you’ve got packing down to a fine art, but there are always ways to improve. Liz Dobson has some cheap ideas to fit a lot into a small space.
As all motorhome and caravan owners are very aware, storage is limited and every space counts. However, with the help of some easy hints and hacks, it’s actually not too difficult to efficiently maximise your interior space.
Don’t know where to start? With a list, of course. Make a spreadsheet of everything you normally take with you. Try to subdivide it into sections, for example by season, or by trip types, for example ‘walking trips’ ‘beach trips’ etc.
Can the clutter
One easy step is to declutter regularly, as we tend to forget how easy it is to acquire a bunch of extra gear on trips. Do a thorough clean-out of your RV at least at the end of each season, if not each trip, and discard anything you know you’re not going to need.
Pack according to the trip you’re taking now – not the one you might take another day. If you are heading to the winterless north, you are unlikely to need that thick winter jacket, but you might well find a use for your boogie board, even in July. The same applies when you’re heading south: with all that bulky winter skiing gear, do you really need the e-bikes as well?
Look for items that can double up on uses. If you love to picnic, for example, use fold-up chairs and a table that can be stashed in storage areas in the caravan or a box at the rear of the motorhome and can also double as a cooking work bench.
Designate a place for everything. Yes, everything – including the fly swatter, keys, water bottles, loose change… if you’re taking it with you, it should have a home. A particularly nifty trick for small items is to screw a few mason jar lids into the ceiling of the storage unit.
It can be tricky for food lovers to find enough space in the kitchen, but with some clever ideas there’s enough room for even the most particular spice enthusiast to cook up a storm.
Invest in some flat-stacking containers. They are handy for leftovers, and can save up to 60 per cent of your storage space.
Do you really need 12 drinking cups and 20 plates? Sure, someone might drop in – but how many are you expecting? Look for dish cradles that hold your plates up vertically rather than horizontally too; it takes up less than half the space. If you can’t find cradles, install curtain tension rods vertically to hold up plates.
Suction cup hooks are ideal for homes on wheels, and not just in the kitchen. They can be used for toothbrushes, tea towels, spatulas etc. I nabbed a bargain at Mitre 10 with a pack of 50 Christmas light suction hooks for $5. Magnets are great too; stick a few on the underside of cabinets and cutting boards to keep them out of the way.
Pack dried food like rice and pasta in one container, tea, coffee and sugar in another and stack in the pantry. Keep the one you use regularly at the front.
Buy (or crochet) a hanging fruit basket or ‘hammock’; these are useful not only for fruit but for vegetables too, to free up space in your fridge and pantry. They are also good as plastic bag holders.
An over-the-door or door-mounted RV rubbish bin is a godsend. Get a good strong one that can also double as a bucket when one is needed.
Even when there’s stacks of space, if everything’s chucked in there you’ll never find anything – and you probably never even use the stuff at the back. Invest in free-standing drawer units that fit in the cupboards (you can secure them with a bungee cord when on the move) to keep everything handy and organised.
Wooden coat hangers are lovely – but they are heavy and bulky. Velvet hangers take up much less room and will give you back some hanging space in the wardrobe.
Buy a canvas shoe organiser and run it along the side or end of the bed to keep all your shoes together and not be a trip hazard near the front door. And while we’re talking about the front door, add shelves in hidey holes by the door to keep essentials such as reusable shopping bags, umbrellas and water bottles.
In bathrooms, hanging shoe holders or pocket organisers are a godsend. They can accommodate everything from shampoo bottles to hairbrushes and toothbrushes, and everything in between.
Instead of large bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap, buy a wall-mounted multi-dispenser for the shower wall. You can also use travel-sized versions of bathroom products on short trips. If you need your straightening iron or hair dryer, hang them with suction hooks or slide them into a shoe holder over the back of the door. Getting these items and their cords out of cupboards will clear up space.
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