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RV Mods: Stretching your basement storage

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It seems like we can never have enough “room” to carry all the stuff we find a use for. With the invention of fifth wheels and tall motorhomes, “basement” storage came into vogue. For some, it was like the luggage storage bays on a Greyhound bus!

But basement storage, being what it is, isn’t always the most usable area for practical storage. Oftentimes, basement storage is just a large, open area, where small objects can mysteriously vanish into their own “black hole.”

Here are a few ideas on how to make your basement storage a bit more useful:

Door it!

Friends of ours who have a big Class A motorhome are also into fishing. Tossing fishing rods into basement storage made for hard retrieval and, at times, damage to expensive fishing gear. Dave scratched his head, and soon attached snap clamps to the inside of the basement storage doors. These simple clips “catch and release” the fishing rods, making for a quick grab and go.

Peg it!

Installing pegboard on basement storage divider walls can give you a real place to hang up smaller gear, tools, etc. Mind you, you’ll need to have space between the pegboard and the dividing bulkhead, so attaching a few 1” x 2” chunks of appropriately prepared lumber to the bulkhead first, then attaching the pegboard to the 1” x 2” chunks will give you the space you need for the pegboard hooks to hang.

Slide it!

You don’t need to spend huge bucks on having a custom (or even stock) sliding drawer system built into your storage bays. Head on down to the big box hardware store and fetch yourself drawer glides. The length of the glide stated on the package tells you how far out your new drawer will slide. Don’t go cheap. Purchasing metal, ball bearing glides will put up with heavier loads and are more reliable. Our experience (and that of a custom cabinet man) taught us that “self-closing” glides don’t last long.

In our case, we needed to mount framing on the compartment floor on which to mount the drawer glides. You’ll need to look over your own situation to see what’s best to mount such lumber. In our case we used 2” x 4” dimensional lumber and hardware store brackets to mount to our compartment wood floor. If you’re dealing with metal, you’ll have to give a bit of thought to how to securely mount your framing.

Box it!

Containment is the catch-phrase. Stuff left adrift in a compartment will be a pain in the neck (and other anatomical parts) to fetch back when needed. Clear plastic storage boxes of the appropriate size will make it easier to hold—and see—your possessions. One RVer didn’t worry about the transparency of his boxes. He simply put a numbered label on the outside of the box, then built an “inventory sheet” of what items were in which numbered box, and added specific information as to which bay held the boxes. Now he simply quickly looks up what he wants, and knows where to find it.

Smaller boxes in bigger boxes further “divide and conquer” your storage enemies.

Got ideas?

We’d love to hear your storage solutions. Drop a comment!

Related:

Basement storage disorganized? Fix it!

##RVDT1788

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DW/ND
7 months ago

I have a great deal of storage “space” in our Class A – I can basically fill it up – if I were hauling feathers! The GVW “capacity” is a problem. Adding containers etc – adds to the weight.

Val Catena
7 months ago

My Freelander has a huge outside access storage area under the corner queen bed. There are sunken molded plastic sections on two sides right inside the access doors (1 on rear and 1 large on side). I cut 3/4″ plywood to fit over those areas that are snug against the molded lips. I installed at least 2 u-bolts in each section to act as handles to lift panels and then scraps of old yoga mats on top of each panel and the main interior of that storage area. The handles and mats prevent totes or boxes set on top from sliding and the bolts also are spots I use with bungee cords to keep odd shaped items from being tossed around during travel.

manfred manville
7 months ago

Whenever you use a stock photo to illustrate your articles, it is always some European camper that is unavailable in North America. What’s up with that?

Don
7 months ago

If you’re dealing with a basement area that has restricted height in the center due to the frame {as many Class A’s do), why not install shelves on each side at the level of the bottom of that frame. The result is that the “lower basement” remains a pass-thru area, then the “upper basement” is two separate sections, accessible from each side. If you store too-tall items on one side, you can just use a single shelf on the opposite side.
Keep in mind that if you’re filling those basement areas, you’re very likely to also be overloading your trailer’s cargo capacity!

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