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10 RV Living Hacks You’ve Never Heard Of

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Life as a full-time RVer is likely pretty low-key most of the time. You enjoy your time visiting different places, meeting new people, and generally spending time outside. I would say most RVers would prefer to do things the easy way and would like to hear about what other people do to make like easier so they can incorporate them into their own daily, weekly or monthly routines. I’ve come up with a number of RV living hacks that you can incorporate into your lifestyle (some you may never have heard of).

Just know that, although not a strict definition, tips are generally considered advice, such as making sure you refrigerate your milk. A hack implies it will make things must faster or easier which is the plan with these ideas. Full-time RVers are adventurous people so it would stand to reason they would find solutions to make everyday living a little easier.  Check out this easy and inexpensive RV living hacks you may not have heard of and add them to your “must do that” list. 

Refrigerator Hacks

Genius hacks for your small RV fridge and freezer.

Placemats to make defrosting a breeze

Red and yellow plastic placemats at the rear of an RV refrigerator
These plastic placemats help to quickly defrost your RV refrigerator.

You can purchase these plastic placemats at your local Walmart. Slip them in the back of your freezer compartment. The next time you defrost your refrigerator, it doesn’t take long for these to thaw enough that you can pull them out and the ice breaks up. Once you are done and the refrigerator is defrosted, just put them back for the next time. It makes defrosting so much quicker.

Containers to keep loose items contained

The inside view of an RV fridge with white shelves and clear, plastic organization containers
Containers in your refrigerator help to save space and keep small items in check.

Who doesn’t have loose items on the shelves of your refrigerator? Plastic containers keep those bags of cheese, small items, and even drinks contained. All the better when you are moving too.

Cooking & RV Kitchen Hacks

Check out these RV kitchen hacks to make cooking a breeze.

Electric skillet

A black electric skillet on an RV kitchen countertop
An electric skillet is my go-to appliance for most meals I cook in the RV.

This is my personal favorite appliance and I’m surprised that more people don’t use it! I use it every day and have worn out too many to count. Purchase a size that fits your needs.

Electric skillets are easy to clean up and to store, save on propane and you can even fix multiple items for a meal. For example, if I make hash browns for breakfast, I can simply move them over when they are done and still have room to cook eggs or sausage in the same pan. To save on propane use, I’m all about using electric when I can.

Get creative with storage containers

Storage comes at a premium in most RV kitchens. Finding ways to stack items vertically is a great way to get extra room.

Buy stackable shelves or locker shelves for canned goods. Just be sure to measure your cabinets before purchasing.

Canvas storage containers are great to use for storage because they fold up when not in use. Clear containers don’t fold up but you can see what’s inside.

RV Bathroom Hacks

Here are some hacks to making the most of your RV bathroom.

Clean Shower

If you use Clean Shower daily after every shower, you can keep your glass shower doors from getting water deposits and you won’t need to do anything but wipe your shower down once a week or so. After three years, our shower looks great. The product also helps keep away mold and mildew. Any daily shower spray will work wonders and keep your shower cleaner. Just remember to check the ingredients and make it is safe for your RV shower.

Keep it simple in the bathroom

Various medicinal products stored in an RV medicine cabinet with a small tension rod
Items in your RV medicine cabinet can be easily contained with small tension rods.

Simple tension rods work great to keep small items in your medicine cabinet in place. We didn’t like drilling holes where we didn’t need to so we chose a small corner shelf to keep the toilet paper and other items handy. Our bathroom scale sits vertically behind and keeps items off the floor.

Tearing Down, Setting Up and Moving Your RV Hacks

Make travel days easy with these hacks.

Bungee cords and childproof locks to keep cabinet doors secure while moving

Although our cabinet doors have typical RV latches that are supposed to keep them closed, we have found that sometimes they don’t work or they break. Childproof locks are a great way to make sure nothing opens while we are in transit.

Use the shower to store appliances

RV shower with a coffee maker and icemaker in the tub
Appliances can be stored in the shower while traveling.

I use a shoe mat with a lip on the sides to store my coffee pot and ice maker in my RV shower for travel days. These are items that usually sit on the countertop and I really don’t have a cabinet to put them in for travel. Any water left in them, if they did tip over, would go in the shower. So far, they’ve always stayed upright. I can take them out first when we arrive and put them back on the shelf once the slides are out.

Dog hacks

RV life wouldn’t be complete without your dog – here are some ways to make life easier with your pooch.

Use a simple shoe mat for dog food and water

A shoe mat with dog's water and food bowls
A shoe mat with a lip is a great way to contain dog spills.

This simple idea is to use a shoe map with a lip on it and contains, for the most part, any spilled water or food.

Spill proof water dish

Our puppy was enjoying emptying the water dish and dragging it all around the rig. I had to find something that she couldn’t dump. A spillproof water bowl has worked great. She can drag it around when it gets low on water but it’s my signal that it needs to be filled up again. It’s also good for outings and to keep in the truck when we are on the road.

We see a lot of ideas on FaceBook and the Internet in general about what you should add or change when you purchase an RV or start fulltiming. We chose to give it some time and discover hacks and ideas that really work for us.”

Todd Nighswonger, faithful husband, RVer and dog wrangler.

Bonus RV Hack

Canvas cart

I don’t happen to have a washer and dryer in my rig so I use a canvas cart to tote my laundry to the laundry room. I don’t have to get the truck out to go a few blocks and I don’t mind the walk. It’s amazing how much laundry two of us can accumulate in a week! We purchased ours at a Coleman store in Springfield, Missouri, but you can get the same thing at Walmart or Walmart.com. Mine folds up and is easily stored so you can throw your towels, a small cooler and chairs and use it to take your items from the car to the beach or anywhere else you like.

Do you have a favorite RV living hack? Share with us in the comments below.

37 thoughts on “10 RV Living Hacks You’ve Never Heard Of”

  1. Use the plastic balls that you freeze for drinks. I keep a bag with them in the freezer door. No spills from an ice tray, wash them after each use and throw them back in the freezer. They look fancy but serve a great purpose. Cold drinks, no spills when traveling.

  2. I was TOTALLY expecting the “same-ole same-ole” hacks but these are CLEVER!! Esp like the dog food/water mat!

  3. Double the life of your ice by first painting your cooler White or silver. Secondly drape a big wet towel over the cooler and keep it in the shade. Thirdly fill a gallon milk container with water, punch a few ‘small’ holes in the bottom and set it on the wet towel. With the cap still on the jug, the water leaks out slowly and keeps the towel wet and evaporation keeps the ice chest cooler. In drier, windy weather your ice life will double.
    Another tip,- half fill a gallon milk jug with drinking water and freeze it. When frozen, cut the empty top-half space off the jug and slip it under one of those adjustable ‘cooler racks’ and when the ‘block’ of ice melts you have drinkable water. And block ice melts slower than cube ice.
    Another tip – Using 4 of those blue freezer packs, rotate 2 at a time to your larger insulated cooler from your fridge freezer and keep your veggies fresh longer without freezer burn.

  4. Regarding refrigerator containers: USE WIRE MESH or well (large spaces) perforated plastic. Because absorption refrigerators do not have circulation fans, there is little airflow to cool contents. Solid bottomed containers block vertical airflow which is much of what occurs.

  5. I leave our Keurig coffee pot on the counter all the time and secure with a bungee cord around the bottom of the sink facet while on the road.

  6. Regarding shower surfaces, we use a squeegee and designated towel to wipe everything down. Periodically, I’ll use vinegar or mild cleaner, but this simple method keeps shower spot- free, mold and mildew-free.

  7. Mac & Jo McCullough

    Your hacks are very informative and useful!!
    I really enjoyed them!! Thanks and keep them coming!!

  8. We have purchased many rectangle plastic baskets from 99 Only Stores. They stack inside each other when not being use. We fit them in the cupboards and cabinets to group similar items in so you when you open a door things don’t fall out on the floor or counter. It makes it easier to find things you are looking for when the cabinet is taller and you can’t see inside to the back you just take the whole basket out to see. Another thing that we have done is purchase the colored waffle material mats to put in the bottom of the cabinets and refrigerator door shelves to keep thing from sliding around and spilling. I cut the matting to the shape of the shelf bottom so that when we clean them you know where they fit and they clean up easy in hot soapy water and just hang them to dry. Before we start an adventure trip we freeze about 14 of the drinking water bottles and put 6 or 7 of them in the back of the freeze wall and the rest I put in the refrigerator door and shelves around items that are temperature sensitive like milk to help keep them colder. After we have dinner I rotate the bottles from the freezer to the refrigerator and they will freeze solid again. The Fridge Cool Fan circulates the air in the fridge part and you can pack more stuff in both the fridge and freezer. The fridge is a two way absorption and I put a fridge fan in the freezer also. I use a Harbor Freight contactless temperature gun and monitor them when I open the doors. The freezer will run about 4 to 10 degrees on hot day. Hope some of these tips are helpful to others.

  9. Another idea for keeping cabinet doors from flying open when traveling: We bind them together with girls ponytail bungee circles. On and off easy.

  10. “About the shower storage, how do you keep your shower head from those occasional drips?”

    We put a ZipLock sandwich bag over the shower head and zip it as far shut as it will go. Works well for a few drips, but if you get a lot of water draining out use any small plastic bag (like a produce bag) and fasten a rubber band around the neck of the shower head. Likewise, we use an upside-down gallon bag (a grocery bag will work too) to protect our portable surge protector from rain. Cut a small hole in the bottom, push the plug through, cover the unit with the bag, and use a rubber band to seal the small hole against the cord.

  11. I use little squares of Alien Tape to secure the Keurig and toaster oven on the counter. They don’t budge.
    We also use the shower enclosure w/two small dog beds, to overnight our little dogs.
    Absorption refrigerator fans (not the D-battery type):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Ueb94fyd0

  12. Recycle any large plastic containers, similar to the jars of M&Ms that you buy at Costco, are perfect for storing cookies, crackers or cereals. This eliminates any boxes that critters can chew thru, fits perfectly in cabinets or fridge, you can easily see inside em plus keeps items fresh!

  13. Recycle any large plastic containers, similar to the jars of M&Ms that you buy at Costco, are perfect for storing cookies, crackers or cereals. This eliminates any boxes that critters can chew thru, fits perfectly in cabinets or fridge, you can easily see inside em plus keeps items fresh!

  14. The interior wall covers for the freezer will be a great time saver! Also the mat for the dog bowls. TY

  15. Actually, I keep the water hoses in the shower when traveling. I like your ideas too.

  16. I use a lot of canvas bags (medium/large duffle bags) to store my camping supplies and gear in they are more flexible to fit in small places and they can be easily folded up and put away when they get empty. Also easy to carry. I hit discount stores and thrift stores so they aren’t very expensive. I use large and small hair ties (the cloth elastic kind) to keep things tied up. They are cheap and can come in handy for a lot of things.

  17. Another cooler trick- wrap the inside with Reflectix. I used velcro dots to hold it in place on the top, sides and bottom. Really keeps the cooler cold for longer periods.

  18. 1. I use a piece of velcro to secure cabinet doors together. 2. My Berkey Water filtration system goes in the sink with towels to cushion it. 3. A convection water pot heats water much faster than the propane stove – I start a little water on the stove and then add from the convection pot to get a faster boil for pasta. 4. Plastic gallon bags are used to store small items like spices and cookies – they take up less room than other packaging. 5. I lined the inside of our glass fronted cabinets so items on a bumpy ride don’t scratch or damage the glass. It looks good and brightens up the RV.

  19. We use museum gel/putty to hold down many things. Even my computer monitor stays put with museum gel.

    I also use large suction cups in front of the coffee maker so I don’t have to move it during travel. My hubby also made barriers from decorative wood trim to hold small items in place behind the stove. He drilled holes in the bottom rail and glued large suction cups. Works great.

  20. I secure cabinet doors with webbing and parachute buckles; quick to sew and effective. I use skinny tension rods in the fridge and cabinets for travel days and so stuff doesn’t fall out when I first open cabinets after we stop. I use a 3-step folding ladder to get to my upper cabinets, and to reach my a/c filter and ceiling fan for cleaning.

  21. I get dinner ready in my slow cooker and put the slow cooker in the sink to cook while we are traveling. It is usually ready when we get to our next site. I have an outlet above my sink.

  22. Plastic placemats may save a bit of time during occasional defrosting. However, I presume that all the rest of the time that the mats are preventing efficient cooling by providing a thin insulating barrier between the cold surface and the air in the freezer. After all, the reason we defrost is to provide more efficient heat transfer from the air to the cold walls.

  23. We use old (some of them too small for current ski widths) Velcro ski straps to secure waters hose, electrical cords and numerous other items! After years of being in the industry, I had saved them knowing they’d have another life, I am so please to use them and they work great!

  24. We use old (some of them too small for current ski widths) ski straps to secure waters hose, electrical cords and numerous other items! After years of being in the industry, I had saved them knowing they’d have another life, I am so please to use them and they work great!

  25. Don’t need a clothes washer and dryer in your rig. To dry, get a folding clothes rack. To wash get a small manual washing machine. Or make a washing machine by cutting a small hole in the lid of a 5 gallon bucket, put in clothes, water, soap, then use a toilet plunger with some holes drilled thru it and use that like an old fashioned butter churn. It works. Or, my favorite, put clothes, soap, water, in a 5 gallon bucket, then drive. When you get there, rinse the clothes, then hang them on the clothes rack. Motto of the day: Don’t buy it if you can make it.

  26. We’ve used tension rods for 15 years and they have never fallen out. I like the electric skillet idea and I’ve never heard of clean shower, but will put it on my list.

  27. 3M Dual Lock to secure the coffee maker to the counter.
    Same thing under our canisters.
    They stay put, and the only drawback is that they’re hard to move! 🙂

  28. Tension rods do work great! In the medicine cabinet, clothing wardrobe closet, and fridge.

  29. Thanks for the useful ideas. I use double stick Velcro on the bottom of pop-up “wipes” to leave the container on my countertop. I can grab one while moving if we need to wipe hands, and it is always handy for kitchen clean-up.

  30. I have found that using cafe curtain rods on hooks works better for me than the compression rods. I also use small screen door springs using 2 in each cupboard. They maintain the tension at all times. you can get or put items in the cupboard by pressing down the spring and when you let go it snaps back into position. The springs are almost a permanently mounted cupboard control with the less work when using that cupboard. You do not have to remove them and then install when ready to hit the road again.

  31. Earthquake tape (several brand names) works wonderfully to secure items to countertops and tables. It’s a claylike substance that sticks to any flat surface, lasts for years, easily removable and works remarkably well.

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