How A Professional Organizer Goes RVing

Original story written by Stephanie Y. Deininger and published by Thor Industries.
Stephanie Deininger is an organizing and productivity professional and Founder of The Organized Flamingo. She loves the outdoors, the beach, road trips, sunrises and sunsets. Stephanie lives in Colorado with her husband Todd, their son Axel, and two furry pups. For more information about Stephanie and The Organized Flamingo, visit www.theorganizedflamingo.com

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been an organized person. I like to leave room for my adventurous and creative side to roam, but something about a clear space allows me to enjoy the moment a lot more. I turned my passion into a career as a professional organizer, and now I get to help people become more organized and productive in their everyday lives.

When we got our RV, I found that staying in a smaller space really required us to get creative with how we organized our life. The top tip I give people when organizing anything is: Do something now that your future self will thank you for. It’s something my mom and dad instilled in me and has helped me in all aspects of my life. In planning RV trips, that means pre-planning meals, organizing your gear ahead of time and making sure you’re equipped with the essentials.

Our RV is a 30-foot Heartland North Trail Travel Trailer. After taking it thousands of miles across the country, I’ve learned a few things about staying organized on the road. Here are my top organizing tips for RVers, which I hope will bring you more time and energy for all the fun activities you have planned.

PERSONALIZE YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL STYLE

I believe that organizing needs to fit your lifestyle. More specifically, it helps to think about how you plan to spend time in your RV. Will you be inside most of the time? Try to focus on keeping things comfortable and functional—baskets for blankets, dividers for utensils and containers for food. Or, will you spend more time outside? Focus on stocking your RV with practical items that are weather-proof and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Your style of organizing may not make much sense to others, but at the end of the day, it needs to make sense to you and anyone else that will be utilizing the space.

PREPLAN YOUR TRIP

Pre-planning goes a long way. A few weeks prior to the trip, take notes of the things you don’t want to forget (it’s easier to take notes the moment you remember rather than trying to remember at a later time). Get your suitcase or bin out and leave it open in the room where you’re packing. As you go throughout your day and come across things you need for your trip, put it in the bin. When you’re ready to pack for real, you’ll have one less thing to remember.

Pre-planning meals can also have a big impact. Think about your favorite meals and what you need for them, and make a grocery list. Or, as you are making your regular meals in the days leading up to your trip, just make a little bit more and freeze the extra to take with you on your trip. If you decide to take a last-minute trip, stick with planning familiar dishes to keep meals stress-free. The goal of pre-planning is to help make your trip less complicated.

SECURE STORAGE, AVOID MESSES

RVs have a lot of disparate storage areas. One thing I love to do is use netting and bungee cords to lock cabinets and other storage areas when we’re in transit. This helps us save time on moving days because we don’t need to rearrange anything before we hit the road. It’s also a handy way to keep small children away from things you don’t want them to get into, like cleaning supplies, tools or small objects.

KEEP CLEANING TOOLS IN REACH

A duster, broom and portable vacuum are your best friends. Dust and dirt are like annoying little pebbles in your shoes, and RVing can mean grappling with both all day long. Getting rid of them as soon as possible will help your RV interior feel cleaner and tidier immediately.

BINS, BINS, BINS

Bins make it easy to put things away quickly and keep them contained. They’re a great multi-use item. For instance, not only do they hold clutter, but in a pinch, they can serve as a side table, a kid’s activity table (no mess, just wipe it clean!) or a foot bath for soaking tired, sore feet after a long hike. The only limit to their many uses is your imagination. And when they’re not in use, they stack so you can reclaim more space.

LABEL EVERYTHING

Labeling items makes it quick and easy to read what’s inside a container, bin or box. No more rummaging through items, messing up what’s inside on the chance that it’s holding the item you’re seeking. Labeling doesn’t have to be fancy, if that’s a mental block for you (although a label maker does make the whole process more fun). Just grab a piece of paper and tape it to the outside of the bin. Or get fancy and order label stickers to suit your aesthetic.

LET’S GET VERTICAL

This underrated space is valuable when you have a storage problem to solve. You can use vertical space to hang light items, like mounting a paper towel holder under the cabinets or fixing netting to the wall or ceiling to hold things like hats, gloves or off-season accessories.

Utilizing all of our vertical space! Bungee cords keep containers from flying out of cabinets without doors when you’re on the road.

With these tips, I hope you feel motivated to begin your next adventure with a clean slate. Because when you’re in the thick of it, you don’t need to spend precious time tidying up all the time or expending mental energy planning meals. With a little bit of preparation and planning, you’ll be organized the whole trip so you can focus more on the things that really matter.

Stephanie Deininger travels in a Heartland North Trail travel trailer.