By Jim Twamley
No matter what type of RV you own, storage will be an issue. Over the years I’ve used everything from elaborate storage compartment organization units to stackable plastic storage bins and cardboard boxes. I still use all of these because they work.
If you are new to RVing, I suggest you start off with plastic bins and cardboard boxes until you determine what works best for your RV camping style. One helpful thing you can do to organize your gear is to put masking tape on each container and, using a Sharpie, label the contents. Otherwise you will end up pulling everything out trying to locate one item.
After you have determined what you use most often and its most convenient location, then you can build more user-friendly storage organization units. Our current motorhome has a large (and heavy) 50-amp extension cord for bringing power into the coach. I fought with this anaconda for a couple of years with no dedicated place to store it. I would usually just throw it into any compartment that had some space. One rainy day as I shoved it into a compartment it transferred mud and debris onto the other items in the storage compartment. I knew I needed to find a permanent home for this beast so I decided to design and build a wooden storage compartment.
I needed a place that was easy to get to and simple to use. So, I decided to make a tray deep enough to hold the power cord and a drawer to hold hoses, TV cables, electrical adapters and stuff I need for hooking up the RV. I built this unit to fit on the already existing pull-out cargo tray. I simply pull out the unit and throw the cord into the tray – sweet!
I made the drawer 36 inches deep and installed ball-bearing drawer slides. Since this drawer slides out so far, I can easily access the various size water hoses and adapters I need for different campground hook-up configurations. I also made a compartment for wood blocks and a place for holding a box of latex gloves I use when handling the sewer line.
If you don’t have the woodworking skill or tools to make this type of storage unit, consider asking someone you know who enjoys woodworking to make it for you.
Woodworking hobbyists love any excuse to make stuff. It is important to know the exact dimensions and provide them with a rough sketch of what you want.
Helping to keep you organized and on the move – Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing
After fighting with the 50 amp cord, I decided to store it in my pickup bed coiled around the 5th wheel hitch and when parked at home, I use it and the correct dog bone adapters to plug the trailer into a 15 amp outlet to keep batteries charged.
We are very newbies! One trip in our new 5th wheel. We have already (re) organized twice and figured out the stuff you need later goes in the middle of the basement. The off-camp side has the connections, tools and hoses we need for hookups. The passenger side has our camping gear, dog kennels, chairs, tables and bbq. Both sides have chocks and leveling blocks. Most items are stored in milk crates so it’s easy to see the contents. So far so good!
Thanks Louie. Like your Ideas!!
You could always line the outside of your self built boxes with some very thin sheet metal. Aluminum is light weight. Or even use some light steel. Alternately make the boxes out of metal entirely. The last suggestion works better if you have some background in metal working or know someone who does. Just some random ideas being tossed out for thought.
My husband has turned half of ours into his work room. It works out great, he has a place to build and fix things, plus a place to store all his man stuff. I wish I could post a picture because it’s very organized. He even build a workbench from it that extends and fold up into the possum belly when closed up.
The other big plus to totes is most are mouse proof!
Seems that wood might be heavier than the plastic tubs. You’d have to balance that weight with your GVWR/carrying capacity if you used more than one or two of them.
My thoughts exactly! In order for wood construction to be sturdy enough for construction purposes you have to use at least 3/8” plywood, to build a box like he did you’re going to use at least a half sheet of plywood, it may look great and impress you friends but not practical for anything less than a diesel pusher that’s built on a heavy duty truck chassis. My SIL built things like that for the storage compartments of his 42’ 5th wheel then wondered why it pulled so hard. Lol