Organizing Your RV Kitchen

My camp kitchen is a mix of pretty and practical.

Even if you have plenty of storage in your RV, this can be a relative concept.  Let's face it.  RV's are smaller than our homes.  And, the bigger your RV, the more stuff you will have to fill it all up.  We transitioned from a pop-up camper to a travel trailer.  While there is more space, it has filled up quickly.  There is no way that any home cook can mirror their sticks and bricks kitchen without overfilling your RV to maximum capacity.  How did I organize my RV kitchen?  And what are my kitchen essentials?

Careful planning in your RV kitchen can make a big impact in your small space.   Before you do anything, get out a measuring tape and measure every cabinet and storage space you plan to use for your kitchen.  Measure the height, depth, and width of these spaces so that you can explore storage options.  Use these measurements when shopping for storage containers, shelving or anything else you might use.
  1. Consider how you will reach items all the way to back of your cabinets if they are deep.
  2. Look for ways to stack items so that you don't waste space.
  3. Compact and collapsible items can save a lot of space.  
  4. Determine a layout and where everything should go.

Gorilla Grip Shelf Liner

Before you do anything, line your shelves with some Gorilla Grip Shelf Liner.  This liner has more grip than other brands.  This will help keep your items in place while towing.  I lined my pantry and shelves for glasses and dishes with this.  You can cut it all to fit.  I also used this in my bathroom.  I've had good success with this so far, and am glad I did this.

I measured and cut this Gorilla Grip liner for all of my shelves throughout our RV.

Since you can cut to fit, it confirms to any space.

Cooking Utensils in Containers

I like to put my cooking utensils in a container that I can move around.  I pull everything out so that it can be moved to my outdoor kitchen or just on the counter inside.  Everything is with reach for cooking.  When we pack up, I just place my containers back into the pantry.  I picked these little round, plastic caddies at Walmart.  I recommend anything that is lightweight and not breakable.

I keep all of my cooking utensils in containers so that I move things around as needed for access.

Lazy Susan

If your storage space is limited, add a lazy susan to your RV.  This could be something that you put onto your counter with spices and items for cooking.  You could also place this inside of your cabinet to give you access to items as needed.  If you have short cabinets, this option works best.  For tall cabinets, consider the next option.

Roll Out Cabinet Organizer

Depending on the size of your cabinets, you could install roll out cabinet organizers to help you maximize space and reach items that are stored all the way in the back.  These items are readily available at home improvement stores and online.  I have even seen these at ALDI.  Make sure that you measure your space before purchasing though, or you might end up disappointed and frustrated.

Small Containers and Bins

I'm a master at locating small containers and bins for storage.  I typically find these at TJ Maxx, dollar stores and online.  I have some mini canisters that I use for coffee, sugar, and flour.  We are weekend campers.  So, I don't need full-size storage.  Avoid breakable items.  Think practical here.  Cute won't always make the best use of your space.  You want containers that are airtight to keep out creatures.  And look for a variety of sizes and heights. Tall rectangular items work great in the back and place shorter items in front of these.

Stackable baskets are also something that you can find for storing cans of soup or dry mixes and seasoning packets.  By combining items into a basket or bin, you can pull out that basket to access what you need and return it to your cabinet when you are done.  This also makes it easy for you to stock your pantry as needed.

The collapsible dishpan and dish drainer that I used in my pop up camper stored easily on my counter and underneath in storage when we towed.

Collapsible Gear

I own several pieces of collapsible kitchen gear that really saves on space.  My favorite items are:
Being able to store items flat makes a big difference in a small space.  You can also find mixing bowls and strainers that are collapsible.  There are even collapsible food storage containers for leftovers.  If you are really tight on space or in a pop-up camper, I recommend seeking out these options.  I have owned the same dish drainer for over 3 years, and it still works great.

I bought these stackable cutting boards at ALDI this summer and love the size and how little space they take up.

Spices and Essentials

I cook a lot when we are camping, and I believe in being practical about what I stock in our RV for meals.  First, I pre-mix baking mixes and items for singular recipes at home before we leave.  This could be pancake mix, a seasoning mix for making oatmeal in my crockpot or a marinade for meats.  This eliminates the need to keep lots of items on hand in my RV for cooking.  I don't need everything from home on the road for a 3 day weekend.  It just isn't practical.

This mini spice kit came in my Out of the Box Camping Box for summer.  I love the selection and size of these spices.  Plus I could refill these containers and continue using them!

My list of essentials begins with basic seasonings.  
  • Mini Spice Kit - You will have what you need in small quantities for seasoning a variety of foods as needed without a lot of added bulk.
  • All-purpose seasoning mix - Pick a favorite that you can use for eggs, potatoes and more.  I like Mrs. Dash or a local mix from a Mississippi Restaurant, Elys or Shapley's seasoning.  For you, this may be cajun seasoning or lemon pepper.  Just choose from a flavor profile you like.
If you start with the basics, you can do a lot with the items as you need them on the road.  Again, we are weekend campers, so my premixed items for meals doesn't require an entire spice cabinet.

Finally, I think using paper goods that are disposable takes up a lot of space and keeps you stocking things all of the time.  I have a set of dishes, cups, and flatware that we wash and reuse.  While I do keep a few paper plates and paper napkins.  I also have cloth napkins.  I can reuse all of these items, and I am fully stocked all of the time.

Compact bakeware works just right in small RV ovens.

When you lay out all of your items to begin stocking, make sure that you keep things together so that you can locate them with little efforts.  I have all of my potholders together.  The dishtowels and dish clothes are all in one place.  Plastic wrap. aluminum foil and parchment paper are all stored together.  Put all of your essentials in one place.  Then, I save one whole shelf in my pantry for chips, canned items and everything else that I am buying for that one trip.  I just open up and put it all in when I get back from the grocery store.  

If you have a method for your organization, then you will be able to fully utilize your kitchen and cooking capabilities on the road.  As you go through the process, ask yourself if you really need these items all the time.  Sure, you may use a crockpot sometimes, but don't feel like you have to keep one in your RV constantly taking up space.  Pack those occasional items as you need them.  And only store in your RV what you use regularly.  This is the easiest way to waste space and feel cluttered in a hurry. 

My kitchen set up is basic, but it has everything that I need to make meals on the road.  I have planned my RV kitchen around the types of meals that I cook at the campground.  Because of my planning and organization, cooking at the campground is a breeze.

I have created a full RV and Pantry checklist that you can print and use.  This includes all of the spices, pantry basics, utensils and other kitchen gear that will have you feeling more like Betty Crocker and less like Betty Boo Hoo!  You can also find out more about my kitchen gear on my Camp Kitchen page.

Until next time...

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