5 RV Storage Solutions – How To Make The Most Of Limited Storage Space

tight-quarters-in-this-rv.jpg Insufficient storage is one of the biggest issues that RVers have — especially fulltime RVers!

Whether you have a small travel trailer or a large motorhome, if you can’t take all of the “stuff” that you want to take with you, then frustration will quickly set in.

Prior to the mid 90’s, RV manufacturers didn’t give much thought to the problem of not having enough storage.  Outside storage compartments were few and usually small in size.  And with their long narrow doors, fitting anything of substantial size inside was nearly impossible.

Finally later in the decade, the idea of RV basement storage became popular, greatly increasing the capacity to store some serious cargo.

After liquidating our house and moving into a Bounder motorhome, the amount of storage space we had suddenly became a huge issue.  We used every square inch and lusted for more.  I even built a storage platform mounted off the rear of the motorhome where we carried a motorcycle, barbeque grill, step ladder, and other assorted outside items.

Here are 5 ways to make the most of the limited storage space inside your RV…


#1  Add More Rear Storage

If you have a motorhome, you can add a platform off the rear for extra storage.

If you tow a car, a 2-inch hitch extender will extend the receiver out about 18 inches. This gives you some extra space for a platform while still allowing you to tow your vehicle.

With current fifth wheel trailers, the space under the bathroom is usually a very large storage space that can be accessed from either side.

It’s like having an 8-foot wide pass-through space that can hold everything from Christmas decorations to seasonal changes of wardrobe.


#2  Use Large Rubbermaid Storage Tubs

Rubbermaid storage containers provide an excellent water-tight and dust-proof storage.  Consider getting a bunch of them to fill up that space in your 5th wheel.

This will keep everything neat and organized.  It’s much easier to set out a handful of containers to get an item that happens to be way in the back, instead of sorting through loose piles of junk that are stuffed in with no rhyme or reason.

If you’re pulling an RV travel trailer, then the space in your tow vehicle (usually a pickup truck) can become your add on closet.

With an enclosed cap or truck topper, you have an 8-foot long space that can be set up with cabinets, drawers, or even a roll out platform for easy access.  Some truck caps are even built to have side doors to allow access from the side of the truck.

#3  Build A Closet

Building a good sized shirt closet in your pickup truck will quickly double the storage space in most medium-sized RV travel trailers.

You can also put a clothes rod across the space provided in an extended cab pickup.

Most RV beds lift up, providing great inside storage space that’s easy to get at.  Extra bedding would be a good choice for that space.  However, my wife who devours books, always kept a good selection of mystery novels in our bed storage space.

rv-basement-storage.jpg rv-clothes-closets.jpg


#4  Utilize That Space Under The Bed

Storage issues can arise in the kitchen area as well. Some RVs provide only the minimum number of cupboards and little or no food storage space.

Cut down cardboard boxes work well as dividers for that under the bed storage space.  It’s a great way to keep a stock of canned goods from rolling around.

Thankfully, great improvements have been made in refrigerator and freezer space — with some as large as your refrigerator at home!

rv-kitchen-storage-cabinets.jpg For our last couple years of full time RVing, we stayed in one place for many months at a time.  A small chest freezer greatly improved our ability to stock up on a variety of food.  That would be a great add-on for a bunkhouse model RV as well.

Another choice would be a portable chest freezer that can be added to your outside storage compartment — giving you extra space for frozen food.

#5  Consider Removing The Beds

If you’re thinking of buying an RV for full timing, consider a bunkhouse model.  Even if it’s only the 2  of you, the beds can be removed.

With the addition of some closet organizers, you can have a huge walk-in closet for extra storage.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy place to put your upright vacuum cleaner, or broom and dustpan?

Don’t Forget…

There is always one concern to remember: your RV is only rated to carry so much weight! So, make sure that you know the Gross Vehicle Rating (GVR) for your specific make and model of RV. The GVR is the maximum total weight allowed for the RV and everything in it.  (This includes water and waste too.)

After whatever changes you make to improve storage are complete, load up all your stuff and take your RV to the nearest truck stop to have it weighed.  That’s the only way you can be sure that your RV is still within the specification required by the manufacturer.

Curtis Carper

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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  • Clayton

    We have just retired and will be making our living buying and selling on ebay. We are considering purchasing an RV and traveling as well. This will mean we must have storage for the items we are selling. Any recommendations as to the best combination of a nice roomy interior but yet the most storage space possible?

    • Curtis

      Clayton, Big 5th wheel trailers have unbelievable amounts of basement storage. If storage is important, that’s the way to go.

      • Clayton

        Thank you for your reply, Curtis. Do 5th wheels have even more storage room than say 40′ A style motorhomes?

        • Curtis

          Clayton, Generally I believe they do. There is usually a huge compartment from side to side in the front that will hold a huge quantity of stuff.

          • Clayton

            I really appreciate your reply, Curtis. Many thanks!

          • Curtis

            clayton, Your very welcome. I’ve owned all types of RV’s and the big 5th wheels I’ve had always had the most storage.

  • Christie Staggs-Dials

    Hi, I was curious, Do you all take your decor down when you move? We just bought a 5th wheel today, and I want to put a few lighthouses in the shelves, Is there a way to fix them so I don’t have to take down each and everytime?? Thank you for any and all suggestions.

    • Curtis

      Christie. One word…. “Velcro” Just remember anything not secured becomes a missile in an accident.