In the world of RVing, cargo can be a complex issue. The amount of stuff you bring on a trip affects your tow weight and your gas mileage, for one. And your onboard storage can limit or dictate what you have room for. Because storage is such an important issue, most RVs come with a variety of spaces you can use to store your possessions. There are also tons of online hacks and tips for how to maximize the storage space you have, in order to create a well-organized and well-equipped camping experience.
Let’s walk through the common storage areas available in all kinds of RVs and how to maximize these spaces, as well as the best way to use them on the road.
RV BASEMENT STORAGE
Basement or underbelly storage refers to the storage space underneath the main body of the RV. It’s typically one of the largest storage areas, and often comes with two- or three-sided access. Having multiple points of entry makes it easier to access items on one side or another without having to unpack the entire space.
This storage space is commonly used for bigger, bulkier items, outdoor furnishings, sports equipment, or anything that might be a little too dirty to store indoors. For example, your underbelly storage might hold a bicycle or kayak, lawn chairs or a picnic table, a grill, outdoor kids’ toys, bulky suitcases, extra coolers, or more.
Newer RVs may have features that make basement storage easier to access or use, like LED lighting, carpet-lined storage areas, or electrical outlets. Basement storage also comes in a wide range of configurations, from wide, easily-usable space to storage areas squeezed between other elements to maximize every square inch of storage.
RV BASEMENT STORAGE IDEAS
When it comes to making the most of underbelly storage, you’ve got options. Some people install a cargo slide tray, which creates a surface that slides out of basement storage for easier access. However, they can take up a lot of space, which reduces your total storage area in favor of making the storage more accessible.
Another common solution is using plastic storage tubs to group similar items. You’ll still need to haul the tubs in and out to access what you need, but removing or repacking a few tubs of a standard size is a lot easier than rearranging loose items of various shapes and sizes. Be sure to label your tubs or use clear tubs to make it easier to find specific items when they’re packed away.
A pegboard can be another smart way to maximize the use of your basement storage, particularly for tools. Like a classic home garage workbench, you can secure tools like a hammer, screwdriver, crowbar, jack, power drill and more to the pegboard. That makes it easy to find them when you need to do some maintenance work.
If your underbelly storage doesn’t come with lighting, you can always add your own. Amazon and other retailers sell stick-on, motion-sensing LED lights that will automatically turn on when you open a storage door. If half the battle with storage is being able to see what’s in there, motion-activated lights are worth their weight in gold.
RV KITCHEN STORAGE
Just like home, another area in your RV with generous built-in storage is the kitchen. RV kitchen cabinets can hold a lot, from pantry items to dish ware and cookware, and more. Because kitchen cabinets have built-in doors, they’re an ideal area to store things that might otherwise go flying around the RV if left unsecured.
Depending on the size of your RV, your kitchen may also come with bonus RV interior cabinets or a pantry. If you like to camp for longer stretches of time, a pantry is the perfect place to store food you stock up on. But even if you prefer shorter trips, you can use extra pantry or cabinet space to store other items, like cleaning supplies, medications, games, grilling tools, gadgets and more.
Your kitchen might also have common storage areas like under sink cabinets, drawers and more. Less common storage areas could include under dinette storage drawers, or cubbies you can access under the dinette seats. These make a great place for seasonal or special-use items, like hiking boots, life-preservers, dress shoes, bulky outerwear or extra blankets for fold-out beds.
RV KITCHEN STORAGE IDEAS
To maximize your kitchen storage space, make use of the same strategies you’d use in a sticks and bricks home. You can organize smaller food items in plastic baskets, use shelf risers to maximize vertical cabinet space, and place shelf dividers to keep items separated in their own spaces. When you’re in transit, a “sticky” product like museum putty or silicone gel pads can keep baskets and items from sliding around in cabinets. And child-proof cabinet locks can keep cabinet doors firmly shut.
You might also consider installing magnetic storage solutions, like knife strips or spice racks. Command hooks can provide semi-permanent storage for lightweight items you can hang, like potholders, serving spoons, and towels. You can even buy adhesive broom grips that will keep your mop or broom attached to the wall.
And don’t overlook unconventional storage areas you can use in a pinch. For example, when you’re not using a cooler to hold food, you can use it to store other loose items like empty recyclables or cleaning supplies. When you’re on the road, sinks are a great place to store anything that might otherwise roll around or need to be contained. And with a few strategically placed bungee cords, your dinette seating can turn into cushioned-storage for larger, delicate items like a guitar, for example.
RV BEDROOM STORAGE
The master bedroom in an RV is another area rich in storage space. You might have a dresser with multiple drawers, a shallow closet, under-bed storage and bedside cubbies you can use. In luxury RVs, walk-in closets are common, and many have washer/dryer prep and space to hold an onboard washer/dryer combo unit. Some RVs even have specialty storage for CPAP machines, and bedside cubbies or drawers can hold everything you might want close at hand at night, like earplugs, hand cream, painkillers, books and more.
While closets are ideal for storing clothing you wear regularly, under-bed storage is a great place to hold off-season clothes or anything you need to wear only occasionally. It’s also perfect for stashing extra blankets, linens, towels, etc., especially for convertible sleeping spaces. If you’re lucky enough to have a bunkhouse, bunks make convenient storage space for things like rolling bags or trunks when you’re on the road. We also offer a modular bunk system that allows you to use bunk rooms for sleeping or storage for larger items like kayaks, bikes and more, as-needed. Just flip up the lower bunk bed to create versatile floor space for whatever you need in seconds flat.
BEDROOM STORAGE IDEAS
Common bedroom organization techniques work just as well in RVs as they do in houses. You might choose to install a closet organizer that provides cubbies for sweaters, jackets or shoes. Multi-hangers that make the most of vertical space can maximize your closet capacity. And cloth baskets can hold smaller items like socks, scarves, belts and more.
Drawer dividers can help maximize drawer space with multiple types of items in them, like underwear, bras and socks, or long-sleeve, short-sleeve and sleeveless shirts. It’s easier to travel with fewer items when everything you own is easy to find.
Vacuum storage bags can double or triple your storage capacity for things like blankets, extra pillows and cold-weather clothing. They store easily in under-bed storage or at the bottom of closets, or even basement storage if you have the room. Sticky storage hooks work well in the bedroom, too, providing hanging space for robes, purses, jackets, etc., without damaging walls. Heavier duty hooks are also ideal for holding laundry bags, where you can toss your dirty laundry between trips to the laundromat.
RV BATHROOM STORAGE
While RV bathrooms can be notoriously cozy, you’ll probably at least have access to under-sink storage and a medicine cabinet. An under-sink cabinet can hold anything you want to keep safely out of sight, like cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and paper towels. Medicine cabinets are ideal for medications, smaller beauty products, toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs and more. You might also be lucky enough to have a few drawers in your bathroom as well, as well as a cubby in the shower.
BATHROOM STORAGE IDEAS
Although RV bathrooms can be small, there are tons of bathroom storage products on the market to maximize this space. For example, shower shelf units that loop around your shower head can hold multiple bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, with space for a razor or washcloth. Plastic shower caddies make it easy to keep bath products stored in bedrooms or other private areas. It’s a great solution for anyone traveling with multiple guests or kids old enough to mind their own shower supplies.
You can also find over-the-door hooks and organizers for holding multiple towels, washcloths and robes. Organizers with baskets are great for storing backup toilet paper or paper towel rolls. They can hold smaller pouches of items like cotton swabs, tissues, wipes, etc. And a well-placed over-the-door hook is a convenient place to hang a toiletry bag while you’re using the bathroom.
The more often you travel in your RV, the more likely you are to have your own unique storage solutions. So what’s your best tip for maximizing storage when you’re on the road? And what storage solutions have you tried that didn’t work in the end?