Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Can RVers buy in bulk? While in an RV? Really?

We know that buying in bulk can save money. With inflation on the rise, saving money is on almost everyone’s mind. But how do you buy in bulk while RVing? We barely have enough space for the few things we pick up at a convenience store. Where would we ever put a giant package of paper towels? Or a family-size pack of chicken breasts? I’m all about saving money, but is buying in bulk even an option while living inside an RV?

The answer is yes! And here’s how to do it successfully!

Nonperishable goods

  • Shoe organizer. A shoe organizer like this one can be hung inside a closet or on the back of a door. You can store extra rolls of paper towels or toilet paper inside the “cubbies.” They’re easily accessible and out of the way.
  • Back of door shelves. These handy shelves can be hung on the back of a door or wall. (Be sure to screw into studs!) Use it to hold extra toiletries like shampoos, soap, and more.
  • Rolling shelf. When searching for extra storage, be sure to look down. A rolling shelf like this might just rest on the floor of your pantry or closet until you need to access the things inside.
  • Top it off. This handy organizer, or others like it, will hold extra t.p., cleaning supplies, and a host of other goods. You can position it over your toilet or washer/dryer combo as pictured.
  • Sink top storage. While this is sold as a dish drying rack, it might serve many additional uses as well. You can store extra dish soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies up and out of your way. Or store your dishes in it and use the cleared cupboard space for other items.
  • Under the bed. Many RVs feature under-the-bed storage spaces. Large bulk items can be stored here. Or you may want to use boxes to keep smaller similar items together (e.g., laundry supplies, napkins, bars of soap).
  • Magazine holders. Use containers like these to store extra packages of aluminum foil, wax paper, and more. These bins are pretty enough to be out in the open. And they hide what’s inside fairly well, too.
  • RV basement. If you have room in the storage areas under your RV, you can store non-perishables there until they’re needed. We’ve also used the back of our pickup for storage. The truck bed cover is fairly waterproof. We put paper towels inside sealable plastic totes.

Perishable foods

  • Stack ‘em up. Get bins like these that can stack (or nest together when your supply wanes). Store fruit, vegetables, or other foods that need not be refrigerated inside. Note: Always look for square or rectangular containers. You can fit more of this shape than round ones in the same area. See-through containers are also helpful because you can know at a quick glance when you’re running low on something.
  • In the fridge. Containers like these will optimize the space inside your RV refrigerator. You can stack them up and still see what’s inside each one.
  • Space saver sets. Sets like this one will take up much less space in your pantry than the original packaging does. Sure, you’ll need to empty the foods into the containers, but food will last longer, you can store more in the same amount of space, and the clear plastic allows you to see what’s inside each bin.
  • Make and freeze. Many times, before shopping for bulk food, I’ll check out recipes. When I get the bulk food home, I’ll try and make up my chosen recipes and freeze the meals for use later. If you have freezer space, this may also be an option for you. Note: When possible, I freeze soups and stews inside freezer bags. They take up less space than large casserole dishes.
  • Collapsible storage. When purchasing food storage containers, look for ones that will collapse when not in use. You’ll save lots of space with containers like these both while in use and when stored.
  • Reusable plastic bags. I like to use bags like these. When I come home from the bulk food store, I’ll take the time to cut apart broccoli, for example, and then separate it into individual meal servings. (Since I’m only cooking for Hubby and me, I know how much we’ll eat at one sitting.) The individual servings take up less space in our fridge, and I know at a glance what veggies we have. It’s also nice to grab a prepared bag of veggies to take along as a snack for a day out.

Other options

  • Shop together. When camping with friends, we’ll sometimes visit Costco (or Sam’s Club) together. Then the families split up the supplies as well as the bill.
  • Share with others. When the local food bank was low on supplies, Hubby donated items that we were not able to store in our RV.

Do you buy in bulk when RVing? Can you share additional storage tips with us? Come join me in my forum and let’s chat there.



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Cathy Stover
4 months ago

Not necessarily bulk, but stock. We took out our jackknife couch out of the bunkroom and bought a 5cu ft freezer. When we find meat and frozen items on sale, we can stock up. Save money and a lot less trips to the store.

Jeff Craig
4 months ago

Buying in bulk really makes sense, but it also depends on the rig. While I do not ‘full time’, I can tell you my house has a storage shelf system that I keep (and rotate) all our foods and canned goods on. In our Class A, we just wouldn’t have room for that stuff. Buying things like paper plates, certain paper products and a Heinz ‘Picnic Pack’ (two ketchups, a mustard and sweet relish) makes sense. The deals you can get on electronics, a 36 pack of eggs, half-n-half or muffins can’t be beat. But no one has room in an RV for the ‘industrial sized’ jar of mayo. So, obviously, shop wisely, buy what you need and will go through in a reasonable period – but most importantly, for every pound of product that comes into your rig, a pound of something else has to go out!

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

So, shop at Costco and then ditch your spouse? 😆 Have a good night, Jeff. 🙂 –Diane

4 months ago

We have both a costco and sams membership but use them when we are at one of our kids homes or for gas. We never buy in bulk while in our class c traveling full time. Storage and managing weight in the RV is at a premium. I question do you really save enough money when buying in bulk to make up for the inconvenience of moving a bale of toilet paper every time you need to get to the hoses. Do you really need to haul around enough detergent to do 80 loads. I do 2 loads a week. As far as perishables, you are what you eat and frankly I would rather eat in season and local grown when possible. That is part of the fun in travel. I also question when buying in bulk how much food ends up wasted. Thanks for the storage ideas

Tommy Molnar
4 months ago

My wife and I both broke out in laughter when we looked at that “sink top” thing. Nuff said.

4 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Me too Tommy. I guess it’s functional but I’d rather put all that stuff away.

4 months ago

Pay attention to the weight of what you put in your RV.

4 months ago
Reply to  Traveler

Amen! Adding organizers and bins adds weight. All of the little things add up.