It’s a problem—a big problem—at least three times a day. Those three times are when RVers want to prep a meal and can’t find a clear countertop space to do so. If this describes your RV galley’s situation, perhaps these tips and tricks to keeping camper countertops clutter-free can help.
Cleaning pros often advise that you begin with the place you think may be easiest. For me, it was clearing the very limited countertop space nearest the stovetop. Since this was a small space and one where we really, really needed room for food prep, I decided to start there.
Boxes. I grabbed two cardboard boxes to help with my decluttering project. I labeled one box “Take home.” The second box was labeled “Re-home in RV.” I also placed the trash can near my decluttering area for things I planned to throw away/recycle.
Cleaning supplies. In addition to the boxes and trash/recycle container, I grabbed two microfiber cloths and filled the sink with hot water and Dawn dish soap. (You can find tips about microfiber cloths here. And more ways to use Dawn dish detergent here.) Over time, items near the stove can become greasy and grimy along with the countertop itself. I planned to clean as I decluttered.
Paper and pencil. I knew there may be organizational items needed once my decluttering efforts ended. I kept a paper and pencil nearby to jot down ideas for storage solutions as I decluttered.
I started my decluttering process with the goal of having absolutely nothing on the countertop when finished. (Gasp!) Stay with me here. Remember that this space is very small. What’s more, being next to open flames on the cooktop, items on this countertop could become potentially dangerous or ruined. I wanted the counter clear. Completely clear. Here’s how I did it:
- I picked up each individual item.
- I determined whether the item qualified for a labeled cardboard box or the trash/recycle bin.
- I wiped the item down with the cloth from the soapy water and dried the item with the dry microfiber cloth.
- I placed the item where I thought it should go (one of the labeled boxes or trash/recycle bin).
A closer look
Here’s what I removed from the countertop:
- Salt and pepper shakers. I decided they could go inside the wall cupboard next to the cooktop. I use these spices quite often as I cook, so I wanted them easily accessible.
- Crock of cooking utensils. I love my multi-color crock! But, frankly, it’s too big. It takes up too much space on this RV countertop. Looking closer, I realized that many of the utensils inside the crock were infrequently used. So, I pared down the items. Single-use utensils went in the box to take to our stix-n-brix home, along with the crock. Other utensils would need to find a “home” someplace else in the RV. Into that box they went.
- Napkin holder. No need to put this in a box. I quickly relocated the napkins to our table, where we use them most. (Don’t ask me to explain how the napkins/holder ended up near the stove in the first place. I have no idea!)
- Paper towel holder. I made a note to order a paper towel rack that attaches to the bottom of a cabinet, like this one, and put the current holder into the box to go home.
- Spray cooking oil. This needed to remain close by, so I re-homed it in the nearby cupboard with the salt and pepper shakers.
- Coffee mugs. Our two mugs were easily relocated to a nearby cupboard, where I counted an additional six mugs. No need for so many. I put four of the extras into the box to go home and had plenty of room on the shelf for the two mugs my husband and I like best.
- Takeout menus. A friend shared this good idea: Take a photo of each takeout menu. You can toss the menus (Yay! Declutter!) and you’ll still have the menu information, even when you’re away from your RV.
Motivated to continue clutter-busting
Once I saw the clean, cleared countertop I was surprised and happy to see how much space had been revealed. I’m highly motivated to continue my countertop clutter-clearing project.
- Think practical, not pretty. We all like our RVs to look nice, but your first goal should be practicality. “Function over fashion” should become your mantra. RV space is limited and who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to place a “pretty” item on your countertop once it’s decluttered.
- Donate. To keep your brix-n-stix countertops from becoming cluttered, consider donating the items you remove from your RV.
- Inform travel-mates. If you find a new place for, say, his favorite coffee mug, be sure to tell him where to find it.
- Measure. If you decide to purchase storage containers, be sure to measure the RV cupboards where you plan to place each container. Allow an inch on at least one side for easiest accessibility.
- Think creatively. There are many space-saving products like the under-counter paper towel holder. Look online or ask an associate at your local container store, dollar store, Target, or Walmart to show you creative solutions to your storage challenges.
- Designate a home. Every item in your RV should have a designated “home.” That way, things won’t be carelessly tossed on the countertop by default.
- Store elsewhere. I ended up storing some of my seldom-used kitchen utensils in one of our RV living room cabinets. I would have liked to keep all the kitchen things in the kitchen cabinets, but face it! I only need to take an extra three steps to get from the kitchen to the living room. Those three steps are well worth it to enjoy clutter-free countertops!
What things tend to clutter your RV’s countertops? Please share in the comments section.