How to Stay Organized in a Pop Up Camper

Best way to start the day is with a clean camper!
I don't embrace chaos.  I wish I could be that laid back, but I just can't.  I cannot relax with a sink full of dishes or household items tossed about.  This is why I have organized my pop up with a place for everything.  I try to keep things in their place throughout the day as well at the end of the day.  This system works well and takes very little time.  If your camper is overrun with everyone's stuff, this post is for you!  Today, I'm sharing some simple tips to organize your camping space.

Get started by equipping your camper with baskets, bins, and containers to stow your items.  Look around your home to see if you have containers and baskets that you can use for this purpose.  Dollar Tree is an excellent source for storage bins and baskets.  Also be on the lookout for containers and baskets at places like Tuesday Morning, Target or Walmart.

We have two 3 Drawer Storage Boxes that we use for our clothes while camping.  Each person gets two drawers. If there is room, I use each person's drawers to add in personal medicines or items specifically for that person.  For example, this is where I keep my son's rescue inhalers, etc.  Be sure to measure the location where you intend to place your drawer system to ensure it will fit.

Next, I have a designated hamper for dirty laundry.  After your shower or at the end of the day, items go directly into this hamper.  Additionally, I'm limited on space in my tiny pop up so, my laundry hamper rests on top of my portable toilet.  The reality of a small space limits where everything can go, and every square inch counts!

Next to my door, I have a cabinet where my drawer system sits on top with my towel basket, toiletries and dog items.  The hamper sits on top of our porta potty.
I use a hanging closet organizer for storing food over my sink.  It is out of the way and holds the things that I need.  I do have a folding cabinet with shelves that I could use outside, but raccoons recently attacked this and stole our food!  So, I've gone back to keeping our food inside of our camper.  I use the folding cabinet for utensils and cooking items since I cook outdoors.

collapsible dish tub and collapsible dish drainer stack neatly over the sink when not in use.  I can use these items after meals and put them away to take up little space.  I even have a little flat basket that holds dish towels and clothes that fits on top along with my drying mat.

Hanging storage with food over my sink with collapsible dish tub and dish drain over my sink.
You also need small little baskets for fruit or leashes or any other items that tend to just lie about.  I do the same thing for our towels.  There is a basket for this.  These baskets are on top of our clothing drawers.

Finally, I added a basket that sits on the end of our sofa/dinette cushions for holding jackets, hats, gloves, etc.  When these items are not in use, they go there.  Especially at the end of the day!

My basket that holds jackets, hats, etc. sits next to my door.  I keep anything else neatly stacked in this area at night in one place so that we have one dinette sofa for sitting at night if someone wants to read or lounge there.
What are others things that you can do?
  1. Use magazine baskets to hold cleaning supplies under the sink.
  2. Make up your beds when you get up in the morning.
  3. Give each person a tote bag to store any items like electronics, books, etc.  Put items in the bag when not being used.  When the bed is made, put the bag on the edge of the bed and pull the curtain part way to hide the items.
  4. Fold up quilts and blankets.
  5. Have a designated place for shoes.  This could be a basket or tub.  
  6. Keep toiletries in a tote or basket to take to and from the bathhouse.
  7. Have a designated space to charge electronics so that this is not cluttering every single space. 
Sometimes we put our shoes right next to the door before bed so that they are at least out of the way so no one trips if they get up during the night.
When you have a place and system for your belongings, it makes it really simple to find your things when packing up or participating in another activity.  And, your camper won't look like a bomb went off.  I really just cannot enjoy a trip with chaos in every corner of our space.  Took each one of these pictures when I got up the last morning of our Easter camping trip.  It's nice to wake up to a clean camper where I can find my things!

I leave one cushion area for sitting at night when we tidy up.
For a pop-up camper, I recommend the following types of containers:
  • Plastic drawer system for clothing.
  • Hanging Storage for food or clothing if you decide not to use drawers.  You could also use a drawer system for food.  I've seen other campers do this and stack them on top of the counter near the sink.
  • Book bins for under cabinet storage.
  • Plastic shoe box type containers with lids to stack under cabinets with kitchen and other items.  These shoe boxes hold my spices, utensils, towels, etc.  I can stack four high under my sink.
  • Larger baskets for towels, jackets, etc.
  • Plastic baskets for shoes and toiletries.
  • Tote bags - one per person for little personal items.
Do you have a system for keeping your camper in check while on the road?  Each night before bed, my husband and I get dressed for bed and put everything away.  When we wake up, we wake up to a clean camper that is ready for a new day.  I also feel like I enjoy our camper a lot more because we do this.

A co-worker recently told me, if you have a system and use it - the system will do the work for you. We have a system for all of our belongings in the camper.  And, it really does do the work for us.  Our cozy little haven in the woods is peaceful and inviting because we do this!  

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  1. Since I have tweens, I went to dollar store got each kid(6) their own colored sling bookbags, with colored towel/handcloth, a clear toiletry bag with all their hygiene stuff. Each kid got two drawers for clothing and a bag for dirty clothes. We turned the dinette area into a U sectional for games and sleeping for two of the kids. I have an outdoor Coleman kitchen which I LOVE, I set the food up in 3 20 gallon totes with a sheet of paper on whats inside of each so there's no digging around. Every morning and night someone has the chore of sweeping and tidying up the pop up. It can get crazy at times but you most definitely must be organized or chaos will happen!!

    1. These are all great ideas! Thank you for sharing. I totally agree with chores. I hope you have a great camping season!

  2. I like the food totes idea mentioned above. I also like the hanging closet organizer. But I can't tell from the picture...what on earth did you hang it on?! :)

    1. I used Gorilla Glue and hung some 3M hooks on the ceiling to hang it from. Be sure the let the glue really dry well before you hang anything, but this worked great for us!

    2. Thank you Grace. I was considering doing something similar to hang some sort of curtain rod so that I could install some standard curtains for the beds, which are missing right now. It has the rails with the plastic C clips, but those break and it would be nice to just go out and buy some curtains rather than have to spend time making them.

    3. I agree! Making curtains are a lot of work. I found some curtain rod hangers from IKEA that worked well for this. I screwed them into the ceiling, and they worked way better than what I did at first. Much more permanent. Hope it works well for you!

  3. What did you attach the hanging shelving with? That is the part we are struggling do you hang it.

    1. For the hanging shelves, I used little 3M hooks that I glued to my ceiling with Gorilla Glue. :)


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