Unexpected Space Hogs in Your RV

Unexpected Space Hogs in Your RV 1
RVers love their outdoor spaces, but is your patio setup taking up too much space?
Whether you have a 45-foot motor home or a tiny, tow-behind trailer, one thing all RVers have in common is a finite amount of space for our stuff. In a previous article, I discussed ways to organize your RV to maximize space. This article highlights nine of the biggest RV space hogs – and some possible solutions.


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The problem with printed content isn’t just that it takes up space. Paper can also add unwanted weight. The solution is to go digital. You may be wondering: Does the IRS accept digitize or scanned versions of my documents instead of paper documents? The answer is yes. If you don’t have a multi-page scanner, take your important legal and financial documents to a self-serve kiosk at Staples. Be sure to back up those documents to a cloud server and/or hard drive or thumb drive. From today forward, take a photo and digitally file all new receipts and documents or use the Shoeboxed or Evernote app.

Got photographs? It may be worth it to pay for a professional service that will scan them for you. Or you can scan batches of 100 fast and free at any Family History Center.

Paper maps and travel brochures are great for planning, but they don’t update themselves. Periodically cull your collection. As for product manuals, did you know that they can be found online? Just search the database by category or name. Once found, ditch the paper manuals.

And let’s not forget about books! Many RV parks have a guest library where you can leave a book you’ve read and pick up a new one. Or you can ask Santa for a Kindle. Yes, it’s not the same as holding a printed book in your hands, but I love that you can read in bed in the dark.  


Socks and underwear don’t take up a lot of space, but outerwear sure does, especially bulky sweaters and winter coats. How many do you actually wear? That’s how many you need. What you’ll likely find (if you haven’t already) is that you’ll wear your most comfy, casual clothes 80-100% of the time while on the road. If you need to pare down, it helps to determine your preferred style and then build your wardrobe around mix-and-match items.

Dirty Laundry

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Dirty laundry can be a real RV space hog. That’s especially true if you take your laundry out to wash – and especially if you only do laundry every couple of weeks. A simple solution is to get a couple of collapsible mesh laundry hampers and store them in your shower stall for collecting dirty laundry and transporting it to and from the laundromat. When you need to use the shower, the lightweight hampers are easy to pull out and put back.

Shoes and Boots

Shoes and boots can take up a lot of space in your RV. Donate those you rarely or never wear to make space. As for the ones you can’t live without, here’s a great solution: Buy a hanging shoe organizer with pockets, cut out the rows of pockets and mount them to the foot and/or sides of your bed. You might consider doing the same in your entryway for storing frequently worn shoes.

Linens, Toiletries and Things

Extra blankets and pillows for the occasional guest take up a lot of space. One solution: Store them inside pillow shams. (Also see #9). Toiletries, too, can be RV space hogs. Keep in mind that you don’t have to store extras inside your RV. And toilet paper – oh, my! You don’t want to run out! If you buy in bulk, open the package. It’s much easier to find room for the smaller packages or even individual rolls.

Kitchen and Pantry Items

Pots and pans, food choppers, mixing bowls, serving dishes, leftover containers all need a home – or do they? You may be able to consolidate kitchen items by using pot lids that fit multiple size pans and double-duty cooking utensils. And keep in mind that if you’re looking at empty air in the top half of a cabinet, you’re not fully utilizing that space. Stepped organizers and freestanding shelves will solve that problem.  

Patio Decor

An RV patio is an extension of our living space. But mats, tables, potted plants, and other décor are probably the biggest space hogs. At least once a year, go through what you have and make a decision to jettison what you aren’t using. You might also consider investing in some super-compact and lightweight furniture.

Hobby Stuff

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Traveling by RV allows us to kayak, hike and bike in some of the most beautiful places in the country. It also provides opportunities to play tennis or pickleball with locals. But the required sporting gear (and footwear!) for these outdoor hobbies can take up a lot of space. Add other hobbies such as playing guitar, ham radio, jewelry making, or quilting, and you may find yourself struggling to keep your RV clutter-free. The only solution is to let go of any hobby items that are no longer being used by your current self.

Organizing Bins

Large plastic lidded bins can be a great way to store all kinds of things. But they can sometimes be RV space hogs, especially if they are mostly storing air; i.e., half full. Vacuum sealed space bags are a good option for dust-free storage of soft items such as out-of-season clothing and bedding. Using your vacuum hose, you can compress the bulk to about 40% of its original volume. Another idea is to use the original, plastic zippered bags from linens for storing items.

Dare I say that pets are RV space hogs? No! I’m not even going to talk about pet supplies – litter, food, toys, beds – we just do what we have to do to keep our fur babies happy and well cared for. But anything you think you might need? Rule of thumb: Always give precedence to those things you currently use and love and you won’t find yourself living with RV space hogs.

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Donna Smallin Kuper | SKP# 116641

Donna Smallin Kuper is an award-winning organization expert and bestselling author. She has been featured on the CBS Early Show, The Daily Buzz, and Fox & Friends as well as numerous other television and radio programs around the US. Her tips regularly appear in magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, Readers Digest, and more! And Donna is a full-time RVer – she really knows her stuff! Find more of her tips and tricks on her website at www.unclutter.com.

4 Responses to “Unexpected Space Hogs in Your RV

  • Donna Smallin Kuper
    Krista Coakley
    3 years ago

    Hi Donna! Just entered you giveway and want to wish you all the best on your retirement. Hopefully soon I can join you in the RV community. Have awhile before retirement. We plan on road tripping this coming summer for a couplr of weeks. I really like this blog and will follow your adventures!

    Cheers! Krista Coakley

  • Thank you for the well wishes on my retirement! I only just decided after writing that article that I wanted to retire. I’ve been self-employed all my life and always loved the freedom I had. I never really thought about the fact that I had the freedom to quit any time I wanted – kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who had the power along to get herself home. I’m definitely at home on the road and look forward to having more time to do the things I love with the people I love. All the best to you! 

  • Donna Smallin Kuper
    Tracy Lauth
    2 years ago

    I agree on the items listed and want to add one more. Pet beds, crates, bowls, and toys are a space hog. We have a toy hauler because it allows for us to pick and choose the layout. No matter how much room we have – with two big dogs, we need more.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Farewell Giveaway - Declutter Your Life with Donna Smallin Kuper :

    […] What you didn’t know (because I never told you) is that I’ve been semi-retired for a few years now. I’ve continued to blog and send my quarterly organizing tips newsletter and other emails to my subscribers. And I’ve written some articles like this one about RV Space Hogs. […]

    3 years ago

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