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Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Menu Planning & Cooking, Preparation & Readiness, Space Saving

Reducing Kitchen Clutter

September 30, 2010 by · 12 Comments 

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dana T’s recent blog on RV Kitchen Organization.

So much so, that I cannot resist the temptation to slip in behind her excellent ideas and add some of our own.

Dana’s family and mine live in significantly different RV environments.  First, it is normally just Nancy, me and Oscar in the RV – that is unless we are taking grandkids along too.  Second, we are not full-timers and third we have a little more living space since our fifth wheel is not a toy hauler.

But, more living space does not necessarily translate to a larger kitchen or more storage space.  The only thing we really gain is room for more furniture and dirt.

RV kitchens are, well, RV kitchens.  They are typically small, use downsized appliances and never have enough cabinet space.  They provide a really good reason for cooking outdoors on the grill!

Dana’s comment on, “If you don’t use it, toss it” is so true.  For years we hauled hundreds of pounds of stuff – stuff like waffle irons, sandwich grills, multiple pots and pans, enough dishes for a 30 piece place setting and enough food to feed us for an entire winter.  Then, one day, we decided to get organized.  Out went all of the unused stuff – back to the Goodwill thrift store where most of it was purchased to start with.  Some kitchen wares were replaced with space saving designs and space was reworked to maximize convenience and storage.

We too keep evaluating the  need for the items in our collection of kitchen gear and foodstuff.   Now we only haul enough food to feed us for a month at a time. :)

The space saving pot and pan set

The space saving pot and pan set on the left quickly expands to the set on the right by snapping on a handle. All items nest inside one another. They also have plastic lids for refrigerator or freezer use.

This is a 16 piece set that we purchased from a vendor at The Rally 2010.  You should be able to find vendors and specifications by searching on either keywords Fago or Rapid Chef and 16 piece cookware set.   The price varies from about $149 to $249 depending on vendor, so shop wisely!

"Pop-out" tools made from silicone that save valuable space.

All of these frequently used kitchen tools would normally take up acres of kitchen real estate. But, by using “pop-out” tools made from silicone much of that valuable space is saved.

Mixing and serving bowls that "nest" inside one another take up less room and are easier to find when needed. The two sets on the front are oven, microwave and freezer useable.

There are all sorts of kitchen stores that offer space saving tools and gadgets.  Some of our favorite are those that can be “nested” inside one another.  Tools that  are made of heat rated silicone and simply pop-out to shape when needed are great space savers.  Most all of these items can be used in an oven, microwave or in the refrigerator-freezer.  They also double as serving bowls and often come with plastic lids that can be added when storing left-overs or taking to a group picnic. (Just be sure your name is on them so you can get them back!)

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Added cabinet in kitchen area

Sometimes there is some open wall space where additional cabinets can be added.

Our camper had an unused wall section next to the stairs going up to the bedroom that was perfct for a manufactured bathroom cabinet found at Lowe’s.   The Oak finish matched our existing cabinets well and provided storage for spices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate

Under Cabinet Glass Hanger

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Under-cabinet space can often be put to good use with hanging appliances or racks.  This hanger is for glasses having a stemware design.  It is out of the way and opened up additional storage space inside the cabinets.  It also makes it convenient to grab a glass when setting the table for dinner.

Storage Space is Available Under Chair Seats!

We gave up a considerable amount of stgorage space when we elected to have a table with chairs rather than a dinette.  Some of the space was regained with “flip up” chair seat bottoms.  This can be done with most any chair of this type by removing the seat, adding a piano hinge to the front and attaching fiberboard or thin plywood underneath.  We keep all of our plastic table ware, napkins, baggies and foil in our chair bottoms.

Reclaiming Unused Oven Space for Storage.

OK – This one may sound totally crazy.

We rarely use our gas oven.  It heats the camper up so it is uncomfortable even with the air conditioner on in the summer.  While we “may” occasionally use it in the cooler months, we still do not like it because of the moisture added to the air from the burning propane.

So…. Why not use the inside of the oven for storage?  We do!

The oven rack makes a great place for large flat items, foil, dishes, serving bowls and most anything else you can think of.  The bottom of the oven is often used to store aluminum serving trays and bowls we use for outdoor cooking.

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Pull-out outside storage trays on the Cheap!

Dana commented that not everything needs to go inside.  I could not agree with her more!  But, the huge basement in our fifth wheel was begging for organization.  There was so much room everything got lost!  The heavy commercial pull out shelves were extremely expensive, so when I found a set of used tracks from a computer server I bought them and put them to good use.  The plastic storage boxes easily stack.   They are the right height inside to hold empty coffee cans full of small items like nuts, bolts, batteries, matches, buttons, bows and more.  All I have to do is grab the bottom handle to pull them out and then I can easily open the lid or access lower boxes.  Of course, we keep the most frequently used items in the top container.

I am sure there are many, many more ideas from our readers that would fill these pages and more.   But for me, I am out of room and will have to stop here.

Well…… maybe one more.  I too hated the tiny,  shallow bowls in the two-compartment sink that came in our (former) 2005 Prowler Regal.   The two compartments were totally useless since you could not even wash a standard size sauce pan.   It only took a few weeks before I pulled the sink out and replaced it with a single bowl stainless steel sink we purchased at Home Depot.   Installing it was sort of scary since I had to enlarge the opening in the counter top with a saber saw.  Once I made that first cut there was no turning back.  It was a tight fit and some plumbing modifications were necessary to get everything hooked up.  The results were worth it!

New kitchen Sink in the 2005 Prowler Regal.

Comments

12 Responses to “Reducing Kitchen Clutter”
  1. Jennifer Batte says:

    Wow. This is a fantastic post! These tips are awesome! I love the “pull out storage on the cheap!”

  2. Jon says:

    Great post really enjoyed reading it. Gave me some ideas to use. Very helpful.

  3. Deborah Branch says:

    Great Ideas. Loved the sink.

  4. Julie gramoll says:

    What a great post and ideas!!! End of the year is upon us and before we store the trailer for the year, we are going to lack at “cleaning out” and using some of these tips!!! Thank you!

  5. I got rid of my toaster and use my George Foreman grill to “toast” bagels, etc. A toaster only does one thing (and that usually not very well), but my GF grill is a multi-tasker.

  6. Richard says:

    AS Capt. James Kirk of the Star ship Enterprise exclaims ” space…the final frontier”
    How true that statement is.

  7. JAG says:

    Useful informaton! I have always stored things in my oven…but, they will chatter and rattle (for those in motorhomes) I have used some cheap foam backed placemats on the racks and between whatever cookware is riding in there to quiet it. And, if you don’t have a George Foreman grill (I don’t) skillet toast is great. Butter both sides of the bread and quickly ‘fry’ it on each side in a skillet or griddle.

  8. Jerry S says:

    We live full-time in an -89 Pace Arrow 37J. Have been in it for 4 years now. I recently had to replace the kitchen cabinet top. Went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and a couple of custom countertop places. When i mentioned the countertop was for an RV, you would have thought I said I had a contagious disease. Finally bought a 2 x 6 solid wood craft piece at Lowe’s (31.00), purchased a piece of Wilson Art Laminate (cut to size) from a local distributor for around $37.00 and a 60/40 stonecast sink from a dealer (manufacturer’s Rep) online at a very reasonable price. Put the whole thing together. made a few adjustments to the drain and it is working great. Have not figured out how to wash and rinse dishes with a single bowl sink yet.

    On the subject of sinks. Have not understood why there is never enough room on the counter to stack dirty dishes when washing or to put dishes that have been dryed even with the lengths of motorhomes increasing. engineers must never counsult anyone who has to hand wash dishes.

  9. Dan Bowles says:

    We too, searched for cookware that matched the cooking surfuces we were limited to on our stove. Only the very smallest skillet would fit and try to use one along with even a small saucepan at the same time! We found the perfect cookware set at IKEA. The set is called “360″ and is a seven piece set, stainless steel, and scaled to small apartment use. Cost was less than $40.The skillet is a good size but the pots and lids are smaller and fit the motorhome range perfectly. Add these to a small microwave plastic steamer and life is good. We doubted the manufacturer’s claim that two tablespoons of water in the steamer would handle raw veggies but it does extremely well. This combination handles about 90% of our cooking needs with ease. Your article was just the information we needed to complete our kitchen. Thanks so much.
    Dan and Pat

  10. marvalas says:

    loved the pullout bin idea – now to show it to my husband. We got rid of the 5 storage chairs that came with our 5th wheel and saved 150 pounds and bruised toes. Since my husband loves to snack on peanuts, we buy the big square plastic containers of them (40 some ounce size – generally the Planters brand – Fisher’s comes in round ones that don’t shove together well). And they have now become my storage containers – they hold about 2 eight ounces boxes of pasta – a small box of crackers – two tubes of drink mix little tubs – most of a big bag of Splenda and 4-6 seasoning packets in a sealed container. And since they are all the same size they stack in the cupboards easily. And if you bought the P-Touch label maker that “Martha” likes – you can label the covers when you lay them on their sides. Only problem is getting the labels off – just takes some perseverence.

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