Monday, December 4, 2023


Taking RV inventory: Does everything in our RV need to stay?

We’re currently in the process of taking RV inventory and packing our RV up for summer travel. We find ourselves asking, “What do we really need?” and “What don’t we need anymore?” We are snowbirds that have been pretty much in one spot all winter, so now it’s time to put stuff away, organize and decide what should go into the dumpster (or Goodwill) and what we really, really need.

With the cost of gas, it is a good time to take inventory, pack the RV, and dump the extra weight.

As usual, we have gathered stuff over the winter and somehow managed to collect even more items than last winter! Taking inventory and packing the RV is going to take a lot of shuffling to fit everything in. The e-bike, although wonderful, is especially cumbersome if I want to fold it to pack it in a storage bay. I should have been heeding my own advice and shed some RV pounds earlier.

Now that we have a house, I find I am a bit more careless in the get-rid-of-it department. I currently have the RV in a jumble and am carrying a lot back to the house. We have only used the pretty folding chairs that came with the dinette once… same with the indoor vacuum attachments. As far as clothes, I should just admit that I will never, ever, be a size two in this lifetime again—they should have gone straight to Goodwill and not to the back of the closet.

I am using this list so I can take inventory and get rid of stuff we don’t need. We have a lot more than this in the motorhome currently, but this gives me (and you) a good idea of what’s inside.

Taking RV inventory: The kitchen

  • Nested saucepans with removable handles. I really like this Magma nested set. They have held up for more than 10 years!
  • Large nonstick fry pan with lid.
  • Instant Pot. (If you have an Instant Pot, check out all these recipes.)
  • Glass 8×8 baking pan for convection oven and microwave.
  • A 9×13 aluminum baking pan fits the convection oven and is great for serving too.
  • Old-style metal percolator used for coffee and heating water. It also doubles as a flower vase.
  • A small cookie sheet fits the convection oven and doubles as a serving tray.
  • Wood tray to use for serving and for taking things in and out of the motorhome.
  • Cutting board.
  • Nested mixing bowls have multi-uses for serving, cooking and mixing.
  • Collapsible food storage containers to be used for food storage and reheating. I got this set at the big tent at Quartzsite several years ago and love them!
  • Corelle dinnerware is lightweight, durable and microwavable.
  • Paper plates.
  • Plastic drinking cups.
  • Four large ceramic soup mugs. I use these for coffee, soup, storing leftovers and reheating. I love these!
  • One very large plastic mug.
  • Two water bottles.
  • Two tall coffee mugs.
  • Plastic, cheap tableware from Walmart for eight. I hate running out of spoons!
  • Measuring cups, serving spoons, knives, knife sharpener and spatulas (I have way too many and need to cull).
  • Plastic storage bags/aluminum foil.



  • Towels: his and hers. One set to wash and one to use.
  • Two lightweight guest towels and wash cloths.
  • Two sets sheets. One to wash and one to use.
  • Comforter.
  • Electric blanket.
  • Dish towels and a couple of hand towels (okay, I have too many of those too!).
  • Potholders.

Too many clothes!

  • I packed for hot, warm, cool and cold.
  • Jacket with removable lining, light fleece jacket.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Culled down to one stocking hat, two pairs of gloves, and three baseball caps each.
  • Wide-brimmed sun hat. I only need one, have two…
  • PJs/undies/socks. I have both lightweight and heavy.
  • T-shirts, shorts, capris, jeans and knit pants.
  • Funeral/wedding dress and suit.
  • Three better-than-T-shirts, shirts each.
  • Sneakers (old and new), sandals, slip-ons, house shoes, dress shoes.


  • Assorted soaps, shampoos, conditioner.
  • Combs, brushes.
  • CPAP machine and rechargeable batteries.
  • Jewelry.

The “Office”

  • Pens, pencils, paper clips, Post-it®, markers, notebook, inkjet paper.
  • Small printer and extra ink.
  • Tablet, cell phone, notebook, computer.
  • Chargers.
  • File with current important papers. (Most have been scanned.)
  • Paper calendar for jotting down upcoming campgrounds and site numbers.
  • Paperbacks. Once we read them, we give them away.
  • Assorted birthday, thank you and get-well-soon cards.
  • Paper maps from AAA.
  • Atlas.
  • Binoculars.


  • Cordless drill.
  • Skill saw.
  • Caulk gun and caulk.
  • Assorted screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, and crescent wrenches.
  • Allen wrenches, socket set.
  • Assortment of screws, nails, washers.
  • Small air compressor.
  • Assorted RV maintenance items including silicone spray, gorilla glue and duct tape.
  • RV cleaning supplies.
  • Small car starter that doubles as phone and tablet charger.
  • Big Buddy propane heater.
  • Small carpet shampoo machine (I’m thinking that can stay home).
  • Hand-held stick vacuum.
  • Swiffer mop.
  • Over-sized squeegee.
  • RV lambs wool wash mitt.
  • Car wash rags.
  • Assorted bungee cords.
  • Awning pole.

Outside items

  • Four folding chairs.
  • Patio mat (downsized recently).
  • Two folding aluminum tables (one can be used for the grill).
  • 22″ Blackstone grill.
  • Hiking sticks.
  • Plastic tablecloth.
  • Bungee cord clothesline with clothespins.
  • Tire covers.
  • Large floor mat by outside steps.

Storage bays

  • Small folding stool.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Winegard portable satellite dish and stand.
  • Wood and plastic blocks for leveling jacks.
  • Coax cable and connectors.
  • Water washers, hoses, repair.
  • Electrical items like connectors, small extension cords.
  • Extra parts container.
  • Small container with mouse and rat traps.
  • Large container with extension cords, timers, extra electrical connectors.

Water and sewer

  • Three sewer hoses: two long, one short.
  • Extra water hose.
  • Heated water hose.
  • Slinky support.
  • Water softener.
  • Clearsource water filter system.
  • Water filter heat blanket.
  • Extra sewer connector.
  • Flush extension.

It’s history…

Taking inventory and packing up the RV has taken more than a few days but I have found things we haven’t used or simply just don’t need. Last year I ditched the tents for the kids and sleeping bags too. Seems they were hesitant about sleeping outside with the snakes!

Here’s what I’ve gotten rid of so far:

  • Folding dining chairs for dinette.
  • Canopy tent.
  • Propane fire pit.
  • Huge plastic tote for firewood.
  • Too small and seldom-worn clothes.
  • Down jacket.
  • Upholstered folding outside recliner.
  • Folding chair.
  • Extra drill.
  • Leaf blower.
  • Cheese grater. (My skinned knuckle really won’t miss that!)

I urge you to make a list like this of everything you have in your RV. It may be time-consuming, but it helps to have something to look at while you’re reorganizing for summer or warm-weather travel.


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.



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Vanessa (@guest_176622)
1 year ago

Unless you have a huge class A with a lot of CCC weigh all of this stuff as you put in the RV so you stay below your max weight. I spent two year living in my TT and when I emptied it and weighed everything coming out I was close to 1000# over my CCC.

Running from Gnats (@guest_176342)
1 year ago

When an article like this is written, instead of saying “With the cost of gas,”, please use the word fuel. Many of us out there use Diesel instead of gasoline. You need to remember some of us do use a different fuel than gas.

Bud (@guest_176728)
1 year ago

Except they may use gas so why would they care about diesel? Who cares what anyone uses for fuel! Most of us understood what was being said ! 🤦‍♂️

CeeCee (@guest_176318)
1 year ago

4-5 years ago, following Youtube directions, we made a fire bowl using an old steel dutch oven, corrugated cardboard wick, and melted candle wax. While not perfect, it provides a “campfire”, weighs much less than the propane fire pot, is cheap (!), and takes up little space. We watch estate sales for cheap pillar candles, melting one on the pot whenever we light a fire, and are still on the original wick. Extinguish by covering pot with the lid. Bottom stays cool. Occasionally we still have wood fires, but this is so much easier. We love our Magma cook set too.

Wallace Blackstock (@guest_176315)
1 year ago

My wife and I must be minimalists in comparison. Granted, we have an 18’ Sunlite Traveler with no slide out. We like small. But, I also recognize we have several items we never use that we can leave or donate: extra chairs, extra dishes, extra tools… We intentionally bought small for just the two of us, but we have found ourselves taking extra in case we have company… ummm, we never do. If we have camping buddies at the campsite, then they have their own supplies.

Tim (@guest_176314)
1 year ago

This is a very good idea to itemize your stuff.
We all have an insurance policy that covers, like, $5000 for contents of the RV.
Well, a lesson I discovered from the terrible home fires that happened here in CO outside Boulder. Those folks had the same sort of coverage, but when they tried to collect they found out it wasn’t as simple as their insurer writing them a check.
They had to prove what they had that was lost.
Just because you have coverage for $5000 and you lose everything to some disastrous accident doesn’t mean your insurance company will just hand over a $5000 check. They want proof.
After learning of this, I intend to do an inventory with photos and current replacement costs and keep several copies and a zipdrive of that info just in case of the worst thing.
If they can screw you, they will … Protect yourself.

Andrea (@guest_176292)
1 year ago

Over the past 30 + years, we’ve moved from tents to 6′ & 8′ popups to a 17′ travel trailer. Space has always been at a premium, but some things are a given, used or not, e.g. first aid supplies. Some clothing and supplies we may only need in cold weather – but that can happen at any time where we do the majority of our traveling & we can have temps from <freezing to 100* on 1 trip.
We’ve had the trailer since fall of ’14, and refined our storage once or twice a year.
We also will change up what we take for some trips. The Instant Pot only goes along when we have power and will be doing meals to justify it. I have to move things around when a friend and I take a ladies’ trip, since I lose the dinette space to her bed and duffle bags. We’re taking her dog along this year, so that’s another variation

Drew (@guest_176287)
1 year ago

Everyone’s different but that’s still a huge amount of stuff.

SUSAN M (@guest_176278)
1 year ago

Downsizing from a 24′ Arctic Fox to a 17″ Casita (in which we lived for 4 months this past winter) caused some interesting storage struggles. Even after ruthlessly eliminating stuff before the trip, I still ended up having too many clothes, too many towels, too many seasonings and tools for cooking, too many “toys”. When we finally got home I did a thorough culling and was feeling pretty good about it. But, as usual, I’m already thinking of what new item I might NEED next time.

Spike (@guest_176271)
1 year ago

I am about to go through the same exercise. I have been carrying two spare gallons of hydronic fluid but never need to top that system off. I always carry an extra gallon of motor oil but never have to add between changes and it’s available everywhere. There’s about 25 lbs right there! Tools…that will be the challenge…I know that as soon as I remove one I’ll need it! 😉

Donald N Wright (@guest_176269)
1 year ago

Going from an Aliner to an Airstream, storage space always a premium. I seem to always be adding and removing, sometimes I wonder if I need a box truck for all my stuff.

Tom H (@guest_176248)
1 year ago

As full-timers we purge about every 3-4 months. You really do collect stuff you don’t need or use. Its a delicate balance though because if you are living full-time in an RV you have to pack for all 4 seasons and different geographies. Just this weekend I reorganized the basement storage again (2nd time in 3 months). I was able to consolidate 3 rows of large totes down to 2. Its a process but so worth it! IMHO

Canflo (@guest_176242)
1 year ago

For our 50th wedding anniversary ,We are taking a 3 week trip and renting a forest river sun seeker C , have been making plans for a year and struggling with what should I pack . Trying to keep the weight down but have never seen a good list like this one. Both things to keep and things to leave at home were great guides for me to add and take off the lists . Thank you. May your travels be safe and very healthy.

Gary Broughton (@guest_176241)
1 year ago

After 45+ years of travel, we’ve pretty much got rid of things we didn’t need. No heavy tools, can’t work on new vehicles anyway. Only one spare tire, 2 folding chairs, electrical appliances, (pressure cooker, skillet, toaster, slow cooker). 4 plates, 4 silverware, cutting knives.
Carried a electric drill, bits, small tool box, screwdrivers mounted under and cabinet just inside door.
Just don’t need all the stuff anymore.

Bob p (@guest_176237)
1 year ago

We donate to Salvation Army or some other church organizations, I don’t like goodwills business practices

Gary G (@guest_176282)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Here in Vancouver, Washington, we had to give to GOODWILL as no other organization would take anything. Donated a ton of stuff from my cousins estate. Trust me we tried to find other sources, most wouldn’t accept items due to Covid and people “working from home”.

Judith Roales (@guest_176234)
1 year ago

I am in the process of doing the same thing, but taking it one very useful step further. I spent a lot of time on my last major trip looking for things I knew I had stashed somewhere. So this time I’m making the list in searchable spreadsheet that includes the location of every item. It will double as a check list for next time and a reminder to put things back where they are supposed to be.

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