Back in 2011, when we started full-time RVing our basement storage area was packed to the brim! We'd just gone from living in a 'sticks and bricks' home and weren't quite sure what we would and what we wouldn't need in this new RVing lifestyle. If we had any doubt whether or not we'd need something and we could find space for it…we packed it in the fifth wheel.
We started out with 20 Rubbermaid storage totes of two different sizes. Michael found just the right configuration so that they all fit in the basement just right. We filled those totes with extra clothing, seasonal décor, camping supplies, office supplies, electronics, etc.
Over the years we have purged a lot of the 'things' that we thought we had to have with us. At least once a year (usually twice) we sort through the basement (as well as cabinets and closets inside the coach) and toss, donate or sell any items that haven't been used.
We are now down to 14 Rubbermaid totes in our basement. Each tote is labeled with its contents. Things we need less often are stored toward the inside of the basement – seasonal clothes, seasonal decorations, etc. Items that are used most often – fresh water supplies, grey water supplies and black water supplies are toward the outside for easier access.
We've found that the more organized the basement area is the more space we have for storing other items. Since we've reduced the amount of 'stuff' we have in totes, the less totes we need which has created more space for us to store our Weber Q grill and folding chairs both of which used to travel in the bed of the truck.
The basement is Michael's 'domain' and he has outfitted it for his needs and wants. It's his mancave...his workshop…his 'doghouse'. When he's working outside he has shop towels at his fingertips because he mounted a paper towel holder to the ceiling just behind the plumbing chase, out of the way.
We have a 32-inch TV mounted on the wall of the basement. Michael created a plywood cover to protect the TV and then wrapped the cover in felt to protect the objects in the basement.
The broom we use outside is tucked away nicely on the wall, out of the way. Michael installed a couple of brackets on the wall that the broom slides into and is held in place.
We have two small folding tables that come in quite handy but without a designated place to store them would just get in the way. Michael ordered some TV mounting straps from Heartland and attached them to the wall to hold the tables in place when not in use.
For additional storage, Michael 'beefed' up the wall between the basement area and what we call the 'back basement'. He created a door with latches on it for easier access into that area. He also cleaned up the wiring that was back there into a nice, neat bundle.
Now he can safely store a few items in that back area that get used infrequently – two small suitcases, a tower fan and a tower space heater which get switched out in the summer and in the fall.
Michael also has an air compressor set up in the 'back basement' next to the battery compartment. He 'rigged' it up so that it has power and he can turn it on and off from the battery compartment and has access to the hose from there as well.
We have several friends who have rolling trays in their basement spaces.They're quite handy as they can be accessed from either side of the coach and roll all the way out for easy access to whatever is placed on the tray.
The biggest drawback is that you lose some space that the tray itself takes up. For us, as full-timers, we need every ounce of space we can find so we've decided that the tray isn't for us…at least at this point in time, you never know…down the road we might change our minds.
If I've given you nothing else, let me at least leave you this little tidbit of advice from a very wise man.
"A place for everything and everything in its place" ~ Benjamin Franklin
*Kelly Barnett (2PSNAPOD) is a paid contributor to Heartland RV's blog. All opinions expressed are her own.*