Organizing Kids’ Gear in Your RV
I know what you may be thinking, how in the WORLD have we gone about organizing kids’ gear in limited RV space? It’s hard enough to organize and clear the kid clutter in a regular house! To keep your sanity while living in a smaller space, you will want to significantly downsize toys and other items. You’ll need some creative ways to keep it all organized too!
Maybe you sold your house to RV full time and now you’re faced with the complicated task of organizing the small space to suit your family needs, or maybe you just need some ideas to help with clutter. If you’re interested in hearing tips for organizing the entire RV space, especially ideas for how we’ve organized ours, you can watch our YouTube video about this topic here.
Tips for Downsizing Kids Toys & Gear
Purge Toys & Clothes
My biggest tip is to purge all of the toys your kids don’t play with or have lost interest in. Toys that are broken or things like puzzles or games with missing pieces should be tossed as well.
This tip can also be used for downsizing clothes! Donate all clothes that no longer fit (or are close to not fitting), and then purge clothes that have stains or holes in them.
Gather Items to Keep
Give each child a bin for “keep” items and have them go through their toys and keep the things that they really like. I know this may be hard for some children to understand. Our children know that these toys will be given to others who will enjoy them, and we also reminded them about our new exciting adventure where we won’t have as much space. We go through this process every few months as we live in the RV, where our kids purge toys they no longer play with. These are a few of our favorite space-saving (but big fun!) toys that the kids love in the RV.
In terms of clothing, go through the remaining clothes from purging and only keep what you really need. I would suggest:
2-4 dresses or nice clothes
1-2 bathing suits
1 coat or jacket
Since we have younger kids, we have a lot of undies
For shoes, I’d suggest a pair of boots, athletic shoes, dressier shoes, sandals and slip on shoes (like Crocs).
This is a good guide to go by as you live in the RV, purging clothes they don’t need anymore and maintaining a certain amount of clothing. We also keep a bin of “off season” and next size up clothing with us, so we can dive into this bin whenever the time comes.
**You may want to keep more or less depending on your space, and how often you plan to do laundry.
Combined Shared Items
There are certain toys and things that are shared by all. We kept a bin of Legos, a bin of dress up clothes, containers for art supplies and crafts, and a few games. The kids also selected favorite books that we wanted to keep. Our older children enjoy reading books, so we will sometimes thrift books to keep for awhile and then donate. Another option would be to purchase a reading tablet and have digital books to save space.
Organizing the Kids Stuff
Every RV space is different, so you really have to work with the space you have. We have a Heartland Cyclone 4007 Toy Hauler, and we remodeled the garage space to be the kid’s room and multi-purpose space. The room is fairly large, so we had a lot of space to work with. We purchased furniture to accommodate the space.
Our garage originally had one random drawer and a cabinet that no one could reach, so we knew we needed to add furniture to store clothes and toys. We bought this 5 drawer dresser and secured it to the wall and floor using L brackets. Our 3 kids share this one dresser for their clothes. We gave our oldest (the tallest) the top two drawers since his clothes are larger and he can easily reach them. Our two girls get one drawer each and then share another drawer for their undies, socks and PJs. A great way to keep the drawers tidy is to roll the clothes so almost everything is visible.
We started out with cheap, flimsy storage cubes. They were a pain to secure during travel days and not durable at all. Next, we bought these cabinets from Lowes to secure against the wall, and these store things like: bins of toys, extra shoes, bin of bathing suits, and books. We’re able to secure the cabinets shut by tying the handles together during travel days. Take it from us, invest in sturdy furniture that will last with wear and tear.
These are one of our favorite purchases! We secured them to the wall and they hold a lot of shoes! These could also be used for clothes and toys.
Bins & Baskets
Store toys, clothes, and more in bins and baskets! This helps with keeping everything in place and not spilling out everything on a travel day. I recommend purchasing bins and baskets in various sizes and seeing what fits well in your unique space. Durability is also important, so I recommend getting sturdy plastic bins over the fabric variety.
We added custom built shelves to the wall in our son’s loft, and this holds his favorite books, Lego creations, and a few small bins of his nerf guns, cars, etc.
Add Wall Hooks
Organize and utilize vertical space by using hooks to hang coats, sweaters, and hats! We highly recommend using Command Hooks!
We use a workbook based curriculum so we have a lot of school books. It’s been successful for us to keep a few tote bins under our kitchen table (where most of our school work happens) to hold the books and teacher guides. We also use small Sterlite stackable bins for pencils, markers, and colored pencils in the cabinet by the table.
Organizing Kids’ Outdoor & Sports Gear
Okay, we’ve covered storage for inside the RV, but what about outdoor items?
On travel days, there are a few options to store the bikes. The obvious- a bike rack, inside the RV, laying flat in the truck bed, or inside the cargo bay (this works well for smaller bikes.)
When parked at a campsite, we simply park the bikes under the kingpin (this also helps in avoiding bumping our heads into the kingpin!)
Outdoor Play Items
Balls, skateboard, helmets, chalk, bubbles, etc are kept in a large tote bin which is stored in the basement for travel days, and kept easily accessible under the RV when at the campsite.
Our son is really into baseball, so we travel with a custom built pitching mound, pitching net, baseball bags and a bucket of balls. It all packs down to take up less space, and we store it in our cargo bay when it’s not being used. This photo shows all of the gear fully opened, and then the photo on the right shows how small we can pack it up! If your child enjoys a particular sport or activity, it IS possible to make room for their important sports equipment!
We are not avid fishermen by any means, but we do enjoy fishing occasionally! We installed these cut pvc pipe pieces into the cargo bay and the poles can easily be stored there.
I hope this gives you some ideas for sorting through and organizing all of the kids’ stuff in your RV. Tell us in the comments what great tips you have for organizing kids’ things!
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