Loss prevention in your RV


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

“The bigger the RV, the greater the loss.”

Before you behemoth Class A folks get out your shootin’ irons, hang on and let the explanations begin. The bigger the RV, the more “stuff” we can load up, and the greater the chance of losing the stuff, somewhere in the rig. So the question is this: How do you keep track of your stuff?

We’ve heard the high tech, the low tech, and the laughably sublime. We’ll share them.

Find it – high-tech style: Drag out your laptop and your choice of software programs. For those of us who are into words, a word processor is probably enough. If you’re a big time fan of spreadsheets or database programs, you know where to go.

Now, number your outside storage compartments in some sort of logical fashion. Take inventory of all the stuff you have squirreled away in those compartments. You can add numbers or identifications for inside closets, drawers, and cabinets.

Add the “stuff” to the list, identifying the specific storage location. If the list is really lengthy, you can use the “search” function to narrow down the item you’re looking for. For example, “brush,” could cover a lot of ground, but it’ll get you there. How about, “brush, gas grill,” or “brush, awning cleaning,” or “brush, refrigerator flue,” or even, “brush, hair” for those of us who still have a need for such a thing.

Find it – low-tech style: Take out your pencil and paper. Draw a map of your RV and add pointer lines. In small, tiny, hard-to-read-without-magnifier writing, write whatever it is that you have in each compartment, closet, drawer, or cabinet. May require a few pieces of paper, depending on how big the rig, and how much stuff you have.

Now the real problem: Put your list away in a place where you won’t (repeat, won’t) forget where the list is. Sooner or later you’ll have two or more copies of the list, for all the times that you lost it, and later found it again.

Find it – likes-alike style: One RVer says he doesn’t worry about computers or lists. He puts his stuff away like this: “Tools, in the tool bay. Cleaning supplies, in the wet bay. Other stuff bays.”

Then there are the folks who take the industry slogan, “Life’s an adventure, go RVing!” far too much to heart. “I do not organize and do not make a list. I like the hunt. And of course, when I cannot find it, I buy another. That is why I own at least two of everything. And buying another means I then find the first that I could not find before. By the way, has anyone seen my Craftsman 3/8th drive socket wrench?”

##RVT767 ##RVDT1244

Notify of

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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ray Leissner
1 year ago

I use boxes to contain small items similar in nature. Items that are affected by temperature stay inside, such as glues and paints and tape. I label this one “consumables”. Another box hold all sorts of spare hardware from left over repair jobs labeled “hardware”. I have tool boxes for tools and tools for BBQing and tending fire which stay in their respective outside bays, along with the mats and lawnchairs.

1 year ago

Never thought of this. I’m a newbie about to start this crazy adventure in 2020. Thank you

Ed Owens
4 years ago

When we go looking for something in the RV I try to remember the first place I look, so when I do find the item, after I use it I move it to that first place. Next time, voila.

1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Owens

Lol… I thought I was the only one to use this rule… it results in unusual organization but “everything is where I expect it to be.” I’ve got too many little things to remember so my little world has to adjust to the way my brain works…

4 years ago

Easiest not to leave something behind is have a set of everything in the RV and a set at home. My neighbor tells me I have more tools in my RV than he has in his garage so I guess that’s why he comes to me when he needs something. Also, for my toiletries, I have a complete set that never leaves home, a complete set in the RV and a complete set for travelling without the RV. That way you never forget your toothbrush. Cost wise it all works out in the end and is so convenient. Now my wife and all her bags…..naw, won’t go there.

1 year ago
Reply to  George

this is what we do. the MH has all its own stuff…tools, linens, pots, pans, dishes, non-perishable food, clothing, toiletries and so on. this makes the MH a fully stocked lifeboat available in an emergency or ready to go on a spur of the moment trip. just add water.

during winter i remove all food and anything i don’t want to freeze. food is rotated into our home pantry while everything else is placed in crates and stored in the basement.

during the season i keep likes with likes in the basement storage bays. no cross referenced lists on paper or the PC. besides, there’s not THAT much stuff.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Rich

Wow, Rich. This is EXACTLY how we do it. Our trailer is really our second home and except for size, it mirrors our stuff in the house. If we’re not out in it during the winter, freezables are brought into the ‘sticks’ house. Every spring we rotate stuff (canned goods etc) back into the ‘sticks’ house and eat it, renewing the supply in the trailer.

1 year ago
Reply to  George

I started duplicating a lot of things home/RV but then I realized the commonality — my truck is at home, towing the RV *and* at work with me! I now carry an absurd amount of stuff in my truckbed so that whereever I am, a functional amount of tools are as well. It feels weird at first but having the “good enough” tool when you need it is priceless. Sadly, the lathe and 5′ drillpress still stay home…

4 years ago

I don’t have a problem with finding something in the RV, but I do suffer from not knowing whether an item is in the RV or in the sticks and bricks. One tip that helps is to keep a note pad in the RV and to make a note every time I remove something. This happens frequently when I have to raid my second kitchen to replenish a pantry item or something else that I have “borrowed” from the RV. It serves as a good check list when we are getting ready to head out or to go shopping.

4 years ago

I made these lists about 10 years ago and laminated them, then taped them inside the closet door. My only problem is getting my husband to put things back in the correct bay!

Bluebird Bob
4 years ago

Just take a picture with your camera or smart phone and download it to your computer….easier.