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Innovative RV Kitchen Organizers

As Published In WBCCI Blue Beret Magazine
Innovative RV Kitchen Organizers

When people first visit my 200 square-foot rolling home, they wonder where the heck I keep all of my stuff – especially in the kitchen. I don’t have junk sitting out in the open — my countertops are clear, no baskets of loose miscellaneous items, and everything is tidy. How is it that I can keep my trailer more organized than most people who live in a real house?

What Your Storage Should Look Like

As those of you who own Airstreams know, every available space in your rig contains some kind of storage — contrary to popular belief, having enough room isn’t the problem! The trick is setting up each area to best serve a traveling lifestyle — because there’s a heck of a lot more to staying organized as an RVer than just having enough drawers and cabinets. Truly effective storage needs to serve multiple purposes. Take a tour of your RV kitchen and ask yourself if each space meets the following requirements:

  • accessibility — No matter whether we’re talking spices or dishes or pots and pans, you should be able to reach what you own fairly easily and without moving 23 stacks of other stuff to get to it. Nothing makes mealtime more frustrating than having to struggle to pull out your cookware — and (if you’re like
    me), the harder meal prep is, the more likely I am to say, “Forget it!” and head to McDonald’s. Do yourself a favor and choose organizers that make it easy to get at your stuff.
  • protection — Unlike a stationary house, an RV’s cabinets and closets and drawers are bumped and jiggled and bounced around every time they hit the road — when you put away a glass or appliance or bottle of wine, you need to know that it isn’t going to tip over and break in transit. So your kitchen storage spaces should be designed to protect as well as organize — that means racks that hold things in place, segmented dividers that keep breakables from smashing into each other, and heavy-duty springs on your cabinet doors insure that they stay closed, even on rough roads.
  • maximization of space — I have yet to set foot in an RV kitchen and not see a tremendous amount of wasted storage — in cabinets, drawers, pull-out pantries, you name it. And nine times out of ten, the culprit is gross and egregious under-use of vertical space. How tall are your cabinets? At least eight or ten inches, possibly more. When you sit a three-inch-high stack of dishes or a single row of coffee cups on that shelf, you’re wasting two-thirds or more of your space! Putting in racks that store plates standing up, or hanging mugs and even wine glasses from hooks (above shorter bowls or saucers) will almost immediately double your storage capacity.

Missed the mark in a few places? Fortunately, I have a few suggestions for the kitchen that fit the bill on all counts!

My Favorite Organizers

I don’t spend a lot of my time hawking specific organizing products — I tend to believe that understanding basic principles and techniques is more important than what kind of container you use. However, I do make an exception when it comes to Airstream organizing — because some gadgets and gizmos just work better in our funkily-shaped storage spaces. These are the three “must haves” I recommend to every RVer I meet for keeping kitchen clutter under control:

  • cupboard corral — It all started when a can of green beans collided with a bare foot — the end result was an organizer designed specifically for the mobile lifestyle. These cool, interlocking plastic “fences” hold everything from drinkware to spice bottles to condiments in place while you’re busy traveling — and can be customized to fit any size cabinet. No longer must you dodge flying objects opening your cabinets, rearrange the kitchen before hitting the road, or waste time cleaning up broken items when you arrive at your destination. (available at CorralPlastics.com)
  • stacking food containers — One of the worst ways to store dry goods in an RV pantry is in its original packaging — bags of rice and boxes of cereal and those weird-shaped containers of pasta don’t play well with others, fall over when you try to stack them, and invite bug infestations. A much more space-efficient (and less-insecty) way to store food is to transfer it to standard-size storage containers that you can stack, making use of all your vertical space. And you don’t need to go nuts with expensive Tupperware — Gladware and Ziploc containers do just fine. (available at your local grocery or discount store)
  • customizable drawer dividers — I love drawer dividers, but despise pre-molded
    trays that force you to try and fit your implements into the manufacturer’s storage scheme. Better when you can design your own divider to accommodate your exact needs — with the right-sized spaces for your corn-stabbers and cherry-pitter and lemon-zester. These dividers come with a series of plastic “rails” that you measure, score, and snap to the length you need — then you slide them into the self-adhesive mounts in whatever configuration you want. (available at TheContainerStore.com)
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Copyright 2001 RamonaCreel.com

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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