5 Helpful Organizing Tips for RV Life

  I am not a naturally organized person, I actually prefer a little bit of clutter to be honest. My husband likes to say that I am a “nester” – collecting little bits of clutter within arms reach (books I am reading, snack options, my earrings that I’ve taken off, half-finished projects that I can’t seem to put away…) I gather these items mostly around my captain chair in the RV. 

     Why am I confessing my clutter problems to you? Because I think it is helpful to know that these organizing ideas have helped someone like me, someone who struggles with organization. I am not naturally organized, but our RV is organized and efficient.

1. Organize by Category

     Divide and Conquer! In a regular house, this is somewhat implemented, the kitchen stuff goes in the kitchen, bathroom stuff in the bathroom, etc. In an RV, this is done to the extreme. We no longer have the luxury of throwing stuff in a closet when we don’t know where to put it. Everything has a specific place! Our board games are all tucked away in the small cabinet above the couch. We reduced the space they take up by combining several games in one box(an idea we saw online). When items are organized by category, it helps to keep things neat and tidy and it’s easier to find things quickly. 

Organize by Category

2. Minimize

     Once items are organized by category, evaulate if you have too many of one thing. For instance, we have two brushes, one for detangling, and one for thicker hair. Both brushes go in a hanging basket in our bathroom. We have one large skillet and one small skillet, both fit under the kitchen sink. Coffee mugs are easy to collect, and we recently had to eliminate a few. Taking inventory and evaluating our belongings is an ongoing process. We did a huge minimization process before we moved into the RV, but it is something we have to do often. Every now and then, I go through the items in the various cabinets to see if we have collected extra belongings.

less is more

3. Use Plastic Containers with Lids

     Life savers, that’s what containers with lids are in this RV life! This might seem like a no brainer, but I was surprised at how many containers I needed after we had started life on the road. I recommend the type of containers with the latch on the side, bumpy roads will pop the lids right off of the cheap snap on lids. 

     Imagine the things that you would normally put in a drawer, or small cabinet, those are the things we put in these awesome containers. We use these containers as a “medicine cabinet” in our kitchen, toy storage in the back bedroom area, and under the bathroom sink to organize neccessities. We put crayons, markers, and colored pencils in their own small containers, and coloring books, papers, and craft kits in their own small containers. I found these at Meijers and Walmart and they have held up under daily abuse by 7 people for 3 years so far.

Clear plastic containers

4. Go to Ikea

     Seriously, walk around Ikea. That place has been a wonderful source of organizational inspiration for us.  The showroom area is great because most of the room layouts are on the smaller size, like that of an apartment or small house. They are more creative when it comes to storage ideas for things like clothes and shoes, or books and art supplies. I love that their products are designed with efficiency and style in mind. This shoe cabinet in the picture is compact, lightweight, and works well in the kid’s bunks for storing their treasures. I love these adorable gray baskets, we have them all over the RV, storing remotes, phone chargers, brushes, and as pictured here, storing our teenage girls’ stuff.

Ikea storage products

5. Hide your Junk

     This last tip also relates to containers, but not clear plastic ones with lids. I think this idea really helps me (and some of my clutter-loving children) to keep our clutter from running all over the RV. Baskets, boxes, totes, hanging pockets, and totebags, we can fill these cute containers with various treasures, and they don’t have to be perfectly organized, they just have to fit inside. You could call it organized chaos.

     I have this container next to my chair up front, I put my journal, various travel brochures that I’ve picked up, cards that I can’t seem to throw away, books I’m reading, kid’s coloring pages, and whatever else ends up thrown in there. I picked up this cheap container from Dollar General, and it is just the right size, it may seem silly, but it helps me to feel at home and relaxed to have a place to throw my junk. 

     Hiding our junk in cute containers is a win-win situation. I get to keep small collections of treasures and the RV still looks clean and neat.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to walk around Hobby Lobby or TJMaxx and look for cute containers.

Thank you for reading “5 Helpful Organizing Tips for RV Life”!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.

5 Must Haves for Full Time RV Life

While we were preparing for full time RV life, my husband and I did a lot of research to prepare ourselves for this major life change. Thankfully, there is Pinterest, and Youtube and Google! Seriously though, there were so many informative blogposts and videos from people who had been full time RVers and their tips were super helpful to us as we planned and prepared.  I am glad that we had some advice to help us along, and this list is a combination of the things we bought based on that advice and the things we have bought along the way when we figured out that we needed it. So, here are my 5 Must Have Items for Full Time RV Life:

1. Berkey Water Filter

     If you have been on the road very long, you will find out that your water source is ever-changing, so you never know what you’re going to get.  Drinking out of the tap in the RV is not something we wanted to do in most cases. If you have kids, you probably already know that disposible water bottles can be a source of frustration – plastic water bottles everywhere usuallly half-full and nobody knows which bottle is theirs! Not to mention the effect on the environment.  And where do we store this huge case of water – in an RV, space is at a premium. 

Berkey water system

   My husband Matt stumbled across the Berkey Water System while researching RV living and was very impressed. This water-filtering system is awesome! Pour your gross water into the top, it is gravity fed through the charcoal filters, and then the wonderful, clean water comes out the tap. Our Berkey fits on the counter, right by the sink, and surprisingly, the rubber bottom keeps it from sliding around while we drive down the road.  Honestly, I would recommend a Berkey for anyone, RVer or not.(and no, I do not get paid for promoting Berkey products, but maybe I should consider selling them because I love them) For a more technical description, check out their website:https://myberkeywaterusa.com/   

2. Tankless Water Heater

    Again with the water, I know.  When we first moved into our motorhome, we had a 6 gallon water heater. I bet you can imagine how wonderful our shower time was.  It wasn’t.  It was difficult for 1 person to take a hot/warm shower, much less 7! So my husband found this awesome little tankless hot water heater.

Tankless Hot Water Heater

It was tricky to figure out how to regulate the heat at first, it would fluctuate between hot and cold, it was super frustrating. We found a tip from a forum online that suggested setting the temperature and then using only the hot water in the shower. For example, I set my shower at 104 degrees and it is perfect, we set it to about 110-115 for doing dishes.  Guess what? The water heater will heat water for up to 20 minutes. If, by some chance, a person takes a shower for longer than 20 minutes, all they have to do is turn the water off and back on again and it will start heating the water.

3. Blackout shades/curtains

     If you have ever boondocked, or camped somewhere with bright lights, you have discovered that blackout curtains/shades are a dream come true! 

     Our motorhome is a 2007, and the window coverings had frankly seen better days. I liked the idea behind their design, there were 3 options: 1. push up for full sunlight and to enjoy the view outside, 2. Pull the sheer shades to block out some of the glare, 3. Pull the opaque shades to block most of the light. After years of use, these shades stopped working, the strings broke inside, or they would partially work. I had at one point read a tutorial on restringing the blinds, and it sort-of-worked temporarily. They broke again and we ended up tying some burlap string around the blinds to look outside, and then untying it to drop the shades at night. As you can imagine, it was not pretty. I have failed to mention the not-so-wonderful built-in valences and that is because they were very ugly.

RV window coverings before and after

I honestly would have loved to remove the window coverings when we first bought the RV, but it just wasn’t in the budget.  When we first priced out replacing our shades with a similar model from RV stores or online, we discovered that they were quite expensive.  When we finally jumped in and remodeled our RV, we found these wonderful blackout shades from Home Depot! No strings, completely blackout, and much more affordable! We may or may not add curtains, something to add a little color and to block out that tiny stream of light that peaks in the side of the shades.

     Back in the bunk area, we opted for black out curtains.  We thought maybe the kids would roll into the shades and destroy them. The curtains do the job and they look pretty, tied with a strip of fabric.

4. Norwex Towels

     A wonderfully generous relative gifted us a full set of Norwex bath towels,  cleaning towels, and washcloths when we first set off on the RV full-time adventure. I didn’t even know we needed these until we had them! Norwex towels are microbial, and I don’t know the details about how that works, but they don’t get that musty smell, and they dry super-fast, and they are super-lightweight.  The lightweight part is wonderful for the bath towels – we have towels for 7 people hanging in our teeny-tiny bathroom and most of those are hanging on the door! If these were regular bathtowels, not only would they take forever to dry, giving our bathroom a lovely musty smell, they would weigh down the tiny bathroom door.  

Norwex Towels for RV

 I also really love the Norwex cleaning towels. I don’t have room to store a mop or an abundance of cleaning supplies. The cleaning towels are great for cleaning the windows and mirrors, dusting, or mopping.

5. Plenty of Hoses and Electrical Cords

     Unless you are planning on staying at RV parks 100% of the time, you will need a large supply of quality hoses and electrical cords. Honestly, I don’t know much about what Matt is doing when he is outside getting us all hooked up, (I am thankful that he is willing to do all that outside stuff, he’s awesome) so I am going to let him recommend what to get in this area. 

Hi guys, for electric I recomend at least 100ft of cord. Make sure to get a 50amp or 30amp extension cord instead of regular extesion cords which will burn up after time. Menards has 50 & 30 amp extension cords at a nice price. I have a 50amp so I use a 50amp extension but I also have a 30amp because it’s less expensive. Make sure you have all the connections to convert from 50 – 30 – 110! I also use a surge protector (after that one time I plugged into a 50amp at one location and fried out our microwave, game device, and other things). 

RV hoses and cords

For fresh water I always buy drinking water hoses and I recomend you keep at least 100ft on board. I also use a regulator 50-55psi at the water spigot. This protects your water lines and pump from high pressure and I’ve noticed that our on demand Girard hot water heater regulates better this way!

For sewer hoses, don’t go cheap, get the best and you will be glad you did. Especially if you’re a full timer. I like the Rino brand. I keep several sizes handy and plenty of different connectors.

You can also find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries at www.kpministry.org 

Enjoy Your Adventure!

“You will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills will break forth before you, there will be shouts of joy and all the trees of the fields will clap, will clap their hands! All the trees of the fields will clap their hands(clap, clap), the trees of the fields will clap their hands(clap,clap), the trees of the fields will clap their hands and you’ll go out with joy!”

     Over and over we would sing this song in church when I was a little girl. I remember imagining trees with hands and thinking how silly that seemed, and also loving the idea. I remember loving that adults were singing this song that seemed silly, and it seemed to be such a happy, joyful time. I didn’t know until I was older that this was a “Scripture Song” – meaning we were singing a particular passage of Scripture. We sang many of these songs from scripture in the church that my husband and I grew up in, and I am very grateful for this. I love praise and worship music in general, but I have a particular fondness for Christian songs that sing the Bible verses directly, those timeless words are just as powerful today as when they were written thousands of years ago. 

     This particular Scripture Song is from the book of Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 12. The entire chapter is very quotable, and is full of hope and promise from God. This verse is very important to our family and is a promise to us for our life of evangelism on the road. “You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace…”

     Before we traveled, my husband was a pastor. We loved the church where we were and had become quite content and settled. About a year before we resigned, my husband and I both felt that a change was coming, and through prayer and confirmation, we knew it was time to launch out into full-time evangelism.  I honestly felt a little crazy sometimes, but I also knew that God was helping us to develop a plan. One of the confirming Scriptures that God gave us was Isaiah 55:12. It was such a beautiful promise for us, we were struggling with different worries, mostly that it would be rough on the kids. 

     Looking back now(3 years on the road), I can see that this promise has rung true. We do live a life of joy. This life on the road has its difficulties, and uncertainties, but what an adventure it is! I feel so alive, and it is wonderful to know that we are living out God’s plan for us. 

   As I think about our life of adventure, and what a joyful life it is, I understand that it is not all about me. God has given each of us this beautiful gift of life! It is not always an easy life, but it can be full of peace and joy!  I remember reading a small book by Ann Voscamp and I loved how she related that she found a new joy in her life through being thankful. I have found this to be true myself. If I take the time to think about all that I have, and the opportunities all around me, I find myself being thankful, and then joyful. I think if you look at your life through thankful eyes, you can find new ways to enjoy your adventure, your life.

    So what is your adventure? It doesn’t matter where you live necessarily, RV traveling isn’t for everyone, afterall. But wherever you live, it can be a grand adventure, and it can be full of joy and peace.

Thank you for reading this blogpost about enjoying your adventure!

To find out more about our ministry, kingdom pursuit ministries, go to www.kpministry.org