Category Archives: RV Organization

Just Fits

Converting a TV to Shoe Storage

Written by Keith, handy man extraordinaire

One of the concerns of going full time in an RV was the storage. We were used to living in huge homes (3,800 square feet was our last home) and paring down to what we could fit in the RV was daunting. Every facet of our lives had to be examined and turned on it’s head to make us fit. We’re also not very willing to give in to pressure, normally making our own solutions to things when an easy option doesn’t present itself.

In one of our homes we organized the closet with ClosetMaid products including the shoe storage. Two of the shoe storage units gave us storage for 50 pairs of shoes and we had most of that filled. When we were moving into the RV there was a low cabinet that appeared to be for shoes but it was a ridiculously small at 12 inches deep by 24 inches wide and 19 inches tall. There was no separation in the space and we could fit about four pairs of shoes laying flat or more if we wanted to just pile them in.

It was obvious that we’d have to increase the capacity to store shoes and it was equally obvious that piling the shoes up wouldn’t really be an option. As we looked around we noticed the 19” television in the bedroom. We aren’t big TV watchers and we normally watch the same thing when we do watch TV so that space seemed ripe for converting.

Ready to go
Ready to go

My first thought was to make some shoe storage like the storage we had, it was a short trip to realizing I could just cut down the storage we had. For the lower cabinet, there wasn’t much space so I just cut down the inserts to fit in the space we had available. For the TV space we removed the frame and the TV and coiled the cable behind the cabinet in case someone decides to put a TV back. The space that was left wasn’t the right size to hold just the inserts but I noticed that the frame of the shoe storage was pretty simple, the sides screw into the top and bottom and the back nails on to the frame.

Ready for the second cut.
Ready for the second cut.

It was pretty easy to cut the sides down and put the whole thing back together. The whole thing slid into place very easily, one way – it didn’t fit the other way, and the frame went easily back into place.

Just Fits
Just Fits

Now we have nice storage space for 31 pairs of shoes. It works great, but shortly after we got on the road we were asked if we ever put a door over the shoe storage. We hadn’t but had never considered it either. We’re about to go into another yard period for Crush so maybe we’ll add a door, and who knows, it might even have a TV on it!

Done!
Done!

Our Getting Underway Checklist

Before we started our first shakedown trip, we knew we would need a list. We both like to be as prepared as possible and like to avoid any major issues. We started gathering ideas from articles we read, and then set out to create one that works for us.

Getting underway can be a process!
Getting underway can be a process!

Not surprising to those who know us, it’s three pages long. It’s tough to be so particular!

We have items to check the day before, such as tank, gas & propane levels to see if we have to plan a stop. We verify if we will cross state lines & look up any applicable laws. We also look at the weather forecast to get an idea of what we might face & if we should delay our departure.

The day of lists services we take care of, specific items to stow, and course a note or two about remembering the animals! We also do a cross check of each others work to catch anything not ‘on the list’.

We then have what needs to happen when we arrive at our destination to get us set up.

Because of this checklist, we avert (or at least minimize) the chance of an avoidable disaster. It’s worked well – only once did we drive with the antenna up, luckily with no low bridge encounters!

Here’s our list for those just starting out. Those who are on the road, do you do anything else we should add to ours? (You know, because its not long enough!)

Day before
close the gray tank
last laundry (on sewer)
bikes on Toad
load Toad
get iphone 12v power connector
review route
Check directions on campground site
Check height data
Check weight data
Check construction
Gas station location
Propane
review state laws
Review open container laws
vacuum (optional)
check the weather for winds / rain / storms
clear non essential items
wash the windshield
check the air in the tires
Day of
check the weather
sweep the roof and slide tops
close the vents (optional)
lower tv antenna
turn off electronics
turn off and move wifi
secure the recliner
open the blinds
pack the tables
move the litter box
bungee the tv
put down the island
thread matting in china cabinet
garbage can to bathroom
TP off roll holder
take up and wash pets water and food
Put out traveling dishes
cover the sinks
bungee the cabinets
put away, coffee pot, heaters, radio, fan
Take down art
pack knick knacks in master
pack the dishes
pack the liquor
get the exterior temp sensor
Layout clothes
Turn off Generator Auto Start
 
Services
shut off main breaker
disconnect electric
dump black tank
rinse black
dump gray tank
disconnect from water
Fill bucket
refill black drop chemicals
top off freshwater tank
drain water hose
turn on main breaker
 
Start
start Crush
clear slides inside
clear the slides outside
slides in
jacks up
jack stands in
bathroom door closed
 
Toad
Hook the Toad
Ignition to Acc (I)
test wheel movement
Test lights
cargo doors locked / latched
Peer Review
 
Docking Procedure
Leave the engine running
Coach in Park
Emergency Brake
Check slide clearance
LR slide x’ x”
Kitchen slide x’ x”
Check services distance
Drop leveling blocks
Manually level the coach
Ensure all leveling jacks touch
Check slides for fallen objects blocking slides
Slides out
Shut off the engine
Shutoff main breaker
Connect water
Connect shore power
Connect sewer
Turn on main breaker
Turn on the electronics
iphone 12v power to the Toad
Test the water inside
chair and litter box
replenish sodas
put out the solar lights

RV Kitchen Organization

If you’ve been inside an RV, you know the kitchen is tiny! We like to cook, so it was important that we could still have a ‘full service’ kitchen, even with our limited space. Organization became crucial! We are still trying to come up with better ways for some areas, like the above the sink food storage and below the stove storage, but some things have really worked out.

Spice Storage

Simple but effective spice organization!
Simple but effective spice organization!

If you like to cook, you’ve got a spice collection! Unfortunately, not all spice jars are the same size, and we like to buy spices in bulk when we can. We decided we needed a uniform way to store our main spices, and find an alternative location for the ones not used as often. For the majority of our spices we found these glass jars and in order to keep them safe from the bumps in the road, we used lightweight corrugated plastic to cushion them. Originally those spices not used as often were in an outside basement & that was a PITA, so we transitioned those to some behind-the-shelf storage to make it easier to reach, especially in inclement weather.

Vinegar Storage

The beautiful organization of liquids!
The beautiful organization of liquids!

Another must have in a well stocked kitchen, we bought uniform food grade plastic containers to store our vinegars. They fit nicely in one of our pull out racks and with a little help from our label marker, are easily identifiable. They only fit about 8.5 ounces which further prevents us from being tempted us to buy in large quantities. These containers all came from The Container Store – a store we’re glad we didn’t know was so close until we needed it!

Dry Storage

Dry Storage in the drawer under the dining table
Dry Storage in the drawer under the dining table

Instead of large unwieldy bags of stuff, or half used boxes of pasta or rice which draw bugs. We bought locking plastic containers to store most of those sundries in. It was the label maker to the rescue again for identifying the contents, we’ve found this has been an easy way to organize. We also have a plastic tub with kitchen ‘extras’ like the knife sharpeners, apple corers and other items needed, but not used as often.

Knife Storage

Knife Storage
Knife Storage

After investing in some quality knives, we didn’t want to just throw them in a drawer and get damaged. A stop at Williams-Somona resulted in knife storage that happened to fit perfectly in one of our drawers.

Of course, we still have our problem areas:

This drawer is a mess!
This drawer is a mess!

 

We're struggling to organize our food cabinet better
We’re struggling to organize our food cabinet better

Please share what you do!

 

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