Saturday, May 27, 2023


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

Each year before our summer travels begin, we start the process of taking RV inventory. 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 washcloths.
  • Two sets of 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.


3.6 8 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Two years ago I took everything out and weighed it as it came out…almost 900#s over my CCC!!!! Weighed everything going back in and kept it below. In fact, we took out the dinette and put in a folding counter height table with two stools that I haven’t used in the two years it’s been in there. As I am getting ready to head out this summer I know I’ll be kicking more stuff out.

1 month ago

I scanned the list without getting into the details, but I am questioning the few items I saw.

I am not a camper but a former boater. My wife and I had a 36′ double cabin cruiser (a 1984 that a really 36′ stem to stern not like newer ones that are measured tip to tip including pulpits and platforms). One of the things we prided ourselves on was Not carrying plastic and paper goods. My wife’s position and I concurred, was that having washable ware was less polluting and a classier method of enjoying ourselves. There might be an argument for those with children, but we were already empty nesters and had no concerns along this line.

Most of the rest of the list is RV specific and I am in no position to offer a comment.

My only other comment would be about supporting certain big box stores. While they might allow a free overnight boon docking, they are far from good for the economy in general. (I withhold my comment on their political position.)

Richard Hughes
1 month ago

We recently sold our trailer. To be honest, we had never weighed it and with an entire garage full of things from the trailer, I can only shudder and think we were lucky. My wife said we could set up an apartment and still have stuff.

1 month ago

“Do you have any room for this downstairs honey?”
Sometimes the basement in our coach seems like the transfer station for my wife. Once a year, I get to empty the cargo area and get reminded if all the goodies that came down from the kitchen and living area that year and shuffle them onto greener pastures in order to make a little space for the inevitable, “do you have room for this downstairs honey?” Stuff thats coming down that year. I seldom say no and I always get a little chuckle because I know it’s coming. She has me figured out I think, and me her, well almost.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Thank you, Nanci! I don’t know that advising RVers to continually review the contents of the RV and evaluate their need for it can be said too much, can be overstated. Similarly, regularly taking an inventory can’t be done too often. Doing so, as you did here, likely will surprise because the list usually will be unexpectedly long. However, it likely also will diminish the chance that the RV is overloaded. As to our RV, we usually leave our folding dinette chairs at home. Our most recent mouse problem caused us to completely empty out storage bays. We will have an unusually intimate knowledge of the stored contents during our next trip because we will have added every item right before our departure. I do not wish anyone have mice in their RV, but we did get this small silver lining from their most recent intrusion.

1 month ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Sorry about the mouse on board tho, had one about 10 years ago. Little B_ _ tard lasted a few days even with a cat on board. Sheba was better with moths than mice however.

1 month ago

I would have been more interested in what you got rid of, and why. We just returned from our 8-week trip, and I am facing (and dreading) the same task.

1 month ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Reread the last section “It’s History”, she lists what got thrown over the side.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

34′ bumper TT- this RV is semi-stationary at an RV park and used seasonally. (smaller TT is towed for travel). As a seasonal home it is tempting to treat like a house – the saving grace is being gone for 6 months with more itinerant RV park users we pack everything into the RV’s bays (smaller than a 5th wheel basement) and one locked deck storage box. Keeps the honest, honest. AND if we don’t have a storage spot, we have learned not to buy it or bring it from the house.If something is coming in, something has to go out.

1 month ago

It’s amazing how much stuff people will pack if their carriage allows for it. We hit our ceiling at about 2000 lbs worth. We don’t miss what we don’t have. But I’m shedding stuff too. It’s a spring ritual.

1 month ago

We full time so decluttering is essential. Each winter when we exchange our summer clothes for winter we go through stuff. After the holidays we go through stuff. In the spring when we switch back to summer clothes we go through the entire rv. Losing the weight the rv carries and keeping items to a minimum is important.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

“Funeral/wedding dress and suit”. I can see most of the other stuff you listed as stuff you were carrying. But a funeral/wedding suit? I’m not planning to attend either on an RV trip. But then, maybe you travel in different circles than we do – 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Tommy Molnar
Jim Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

We do the same. We are 1,600+ miles from the house closets for 6 months every year. Life events do happen in that half-year; often with short notice and in places other than near the house.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

If you’re a full-timer, it’s a good idea to have a suitcase ready for air travel, and in it can live the funeral/wedding clothes.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

As the others have said…I keep a small carryon suitcase and a dress and nice pants w/dress shirts with low heel dress shoes in case I have to travel from MT or WA to GA should something happen to my sisters and their families. Of course one big issue would be finding a place to store the RV & truck for a week or so should I have to do that.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Vanessa

I guess in that case you find an RV park, get a site, park, and fly out. This can get spendy but hey, ya do what you gotta do . . .

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.