Snowbirding 101

The laws of space

Lynne Benjamin shares how to make the most of a limited space

Storage space inside RV
Every nook and cranny can be optimized to provide more space. — Photo by Lynne Benjamin

You have a new RV, (either brand new or new to you). No matter what style or class of unit you have, there are always spaces that can be transformed into places to stow your treasures. And then there are living space issues—which are a totally different thing.

How do you survive for long periods of time in such a limited space?
There are certain laws that hold true when you are trying to organize the internal space:

  1. There is always more stuff than there is space.
  2. Secret places exist.
  3. The same space can be used for more than one thing.
  4. Cupboard doors usually hide nothing but empty spaces.


Put in shelves and/or dividers. You can often find adjustable shelves or build them to fit.

Oh, those wonderful plastic containers with lids that can be stacked two or three deep in the empty cupboards.

We took the over-the-cab bed out and built cupboards, shelves and an entertainment unit (by the way, we have a never-been-used queen size RV mattress for sale.)

There never seem to be enough drawers.

Usually the cutlery drawer in the kitchen is deep enough to accommodate a second level.

Use sliders inside the cupboards to work as a drawer. We found sliders at a thrift shop and bolted a modified dishpan (to hold bigger kitchen utensils) to fit in the lower cupboard in the kitchen.

So, where do you hang it?

Hooks are our friends. It’s amazing how many keys you need—hooks on a board work really well.

The Scotch brand commander hooks are absolutely unbeatable. They come in any size you want, they attach to anything, anywhere, and they come off with no marks. Mind you, watch your fingers because the snap they come off with can hurt.

The rod we put across the over-the-cab bed works well to hang outside clothes or those odd things that need to be hung up to dry.

One friend of mine made a couple rows of pockets that she attached to the walls above the windows in the bedroom. They hold all the little stuff you don’t know what to do with.

Twice is nice

The microwave doubles well as a bread box.

Pans sitting on pieces of anti-skid shelf lining sit securely on the racks in the oven.

Everyone I know uses their bath/shower enclosures for storage. Ours holds the laundry hamper, a dishpan for dirty dishes that get washed when the pan is full and extra water containers we use for drinking water.

Living space laws:

  1. Whatever you want to do, your partner already thought of it and got there first.
  2. When you want to change what you’re doing, you need to put everything away before you start something new.
  3. You need to have a personal space.

Spending 24/7 in a limited space with the same person can be crazy-making. Sometimes you feel like you don’t even have your own thoughts. Somehow, if you are going to survive, you need to claim your own space (this is often evolved rather than assigned). You need to learn when to let your partner have the space and “go for a walk.”

The dining area is traditionally my computer workspace but we have put in a lift-up table in the bedroom for a second desk.

The outside is important. The add-on room gives us separate spaces and Fred tends to busy himself with outside work whenever he can.

Remember—you don’t need to take everything—there are always paper plates, laundromats, and Wal-Mart.

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