I see a lot of videos and have read quite a few blog posts about organizing an RV kitchen. It’s funny because you never really know what you need until you’re in the situation to need it. (You don’t know what you don’t know! LOL) We’ve been camping for 20 years and the past 5 years has been an experiment in camping, vacationing and part-timing in travel trailers. In other words, I’ve really come to know the things that I rely on to fit everything in my kitchen and keep it organized. With limited space, everything has to be useful and, whenever possible, it should have more than one use. I thought I would share my top 7 space savers, must-haves and dual purpose items in hopes that it helps all of you be prepared as well. I’ll also include links to each one below the items in case you want to check them out yourself.
#1 Magnetic spice tins – These are lightweight and the the perfect size. They have clear tops so you can see what’s inside and strong magnetic bottoms so they will literally stay attached to any metal. I’ve never had one of these move so much as a hair during travel! If you don’t have a metal hood over your stove like mine, you can buy the tins with a metal board that can easily be mounted to a wall.
#2 Nesting bowls – These are melamine so they won’t break, but the downfall is you’re not supposed to microwave melamine. I don’t use the microwave much so that hasn’t been a problem for me. Also, these have a rubber bottom so they don’t slip while I’m using them or when we’re traveling down the road. I found these at a garage sale, but if I had to do it all over again I’d go for something like the ones linked to below. The set linked below is plastic and has a ton of extras nested in there such as a colander/strainer and measuring spoons!
#3 Pizza stone – Getting a pizza stone for the oven was a TOTAL GAME CHANGER for us. I went from absolutely hating to bake in the tiny camper oven because everything burned on the bottom to looking forward to using the camper oven, especially in chilly weather because it makes the camper nice and toasty warm. Take note that you don’t use the pizza stone like you would if you were making pizza. You don’t actually cook or bake ON it. The purpose of the pizza stone is to evenly distribute the heat throughout your oven. So instead, you place the stone on the metal plate just above the flame in your oven and then use your metal racks and baking sheets, casserole dishes, etc. as normal. The heat being distributed evenly will cook your food evenly and prevent burning.
#4 Paper towel holder – This Camco Pop-A-Towel seems quite simple but is a real space saver. Most of the time it’s in its normal location on the wall, but it easily slides out and can be carried anywhere you need it. We often drag ours outside to have on the picnic table to use as napkins. Also, it seems to me the paper towels fit a little more snug in this holder as they don’t come undone (unwound off the roll) while traveling down the road!
#5 Shelf liner with grip – I use this stuff everywhere. I keep squares cut and stored under our eating utensils in a drawer like the one shown in the photo on the left. In the photo on the right you can see I cut the black stuff to fit the cabinets. While they don’t totally stop things from falling or rolling around, the amount of that has been limited significantly. The square ivory ones I place under baskets inside cabinets. This way the weight of the entire basket and its contents sits on the sticky paper and the basket typically doesn’t move.
#6 Tension rods – These are fairly inexpensive and can be adjusted to fit different widths. I couldn’t be without them! They hold boxed and canned goods in place as well as other items. And I use them in the fridge to keep things in place as well. You can see in the photo below I’m using them to hold the drawers closed inside my cabinet and to keep the cake pan in place on top of that. I’ve found that they are super handy to hold things on top of things like the cake pan. For whatever reason I’m constantly trying to defy the odds by stacking things! Haha We usually put things like bread or buns in the cake pan while we travel so it doesn’t get tossed around too bad. They also come in handy if you need to hang something up inside a cabinet that is lightweight.
#7 Bins & Baskets – Instead of having wide open spaces filled with things that will get thrown around I have longer and deeper shelves with grippy shelf liner and then place items inside baskets and then the basket inside the cabinet. Then I can place some smaller things or even smaller baskets in between those. These two pictures below are from the long cabinet over the dinette. Without baskets and grippy shelf liner, there is nothing keeping something from the far left from being thrown 5 feet over to the far right. This has worked out great and keeps everything in place so I don’t spend much time during set up straightening things out from our travels. You can use any kind of basket or bin that strikes your fancy, but I’d recommend something that can easily be wiped clean rather than something made of fabric. We’ve emptied these and used them for a variety of things. The grandkids have carried toys in them and we’ve made interesting sand castles as well. One even housed a turtle overnight. They even make a good bucket in a pinch and can be used to carry sunscreen and bottled water to the river.
At the end of the day we all know you can get by without these things. Most who camp in a camper once camped in a tent. I remember when my family was young and all 4 PLUS all our camping gear could fit in a small Mitsubishi Galant! In other words I’m not trying to “push” product on you, but I really do hope to INSPIRE. Inspire ideas on how to save space and maybe even a little time during setup.