RV Organized for New Baby

Mom and Dad and baby makes...4! Our family is growing this summer as we add a sweet baby girl to our family of three. Our almost 2-year old son is nearing his role as a big brother and we couldn’t be happier! This summer will be our third year with our trailer and with a growing family comes the need for growing organization. As the storage needs for our children will now be doubled in size, we took a little time to map out the space we will need to keep everything on hand and readily available.


New baby on the way!

I’ve felt the importance of taking some extra time to organize our trailer in the “off” season, so that we can enjoy our time to the fullest once camping season is back in full swing. My main priority with organizing the trailer is to maximize the “hidden storage” options (closets, drawers, and cupboards), in order to keep the common areas and surface areas (kitchen, dinette, couch, etc.) clear and available for use throughout our trip. That may seem obvious, but so many times on vacation our things start out in the closet and then spill over to the common areas for lack of better organization. Tell me I’m not the only one! With 4 people soon to be moving about our trailer, we want to take advantage of all the space we have without tripping over things.

While the “master bedroom” area has plenty of storage room-overhead cabinet storage and an entire closet for my husband and I, our kids will eventually be filling up the bunk beds and need their own storage space. Our trailer is set up with two drawers below the bottom bunk, which hold extra bedding, and across from the bunk beds there is a “broom/multipurpose closet”. So far, we haven’t had the need to organize this area as my son has plenty of room for his belongings, but my first organizing focus has been to enable this area to fit things for both our children and still have room to spare.


Before photo of the closet

Getting Started

Take Inventory:
To get started on organizing space for your own kids, refer to my packing list for babies/kids and customize it for your own use. Once you’ve taken inventory of all you bring with you on a typical trip, you’ll be able to assess how much space is needed and how to store these items to maximize your available storage area.

Gather:
Gather any spare storage/organizing baskets, bins, etc. for use organizing your child’s belongings. If you don’t have any to spare, pick up some inexpensive containers at the dollar store or your favorite discount store. Or, simply use things you have around your home: empty shipping, tissue or shoe boxes will work just fine too. It will be helpful to measure the storage space you’re organizing or bring the boxes/bins out to your space to see how things will fit best to maximize your storage.

Organizing Steps:

1. REMOVE
My first step in organizing is to remove everything from the space so I can see a blank slate of what I’m working with. In this case that meant pulling everything out of the closet.

2. CLEAN
Once the space is empty, take a couple minutes to wipe down surfaces and any removed storage containers you plan to use so your space is fresh and clean before you fill it up again. This won’t take long especially if you have your RV cleaning kit ready.

3. SORT
Removed items: If you had a lot of items previously in your space, it’s important to take the time to sort these so they don’t float around the trailer causing clutter. Sort your items into the following categories as needed: trash/recycle, donate, and keep. For those items you want to keep, use this time to decide if they will be stored elsewhere or be returned to the current space.


Sort items into piles

Incoming travel items: Use the list you created when you took inventory of your kids packing list and put these items in a pile in front of you. This will let you see how much actual space you need to accommodate. Sort these items into simple categories (ex: pants, shirts, socks/underwear, etc.). Pull out the organizing containers of your choice that you gathered at the beginning and start filling them with each category as best fits.


Sorted and organized into bins

4. LABEL
Once all your items are sorted, I highly suggest you add some simple labels to each bin/area. This will help your whole family know where to find things and where to put things back in order to ensure things stay organized throughout your trip.

5. LAYOUT
Our closet layout has DIY shelves that were put in by the previous owners, which majorly helps maximize the vertical space. There’s a rack for hanging clothes at the top, but at this season of life, we are simply using the shelving. Completely open closets can quickly become wasted space without any shelving. Consider your desired space and decide if you want hanging space, shelving, or a combination of the two with clothes hanging up top and shelves or stacking bins at the bottom. Then fill in your space with your containers of belongings to maximize your own layout.


Labeling is very helpful!

In our space we have 6 “shelves” in place. Each family’s needs will vary, but here is how we have things laid out from top to bottom:

Shelves 1 and 2: Clothes
Each child has their own shelf with 2 containers. One keeps pants, shirts and socks, and the other holds, swimsuits, pajamas, hats, etc. (Coats are so bulky that we hang our coats on hooks by the front door to free up closet space.) Keeping all the clothes on the upper shelves keeps them more at eye level which is perfect since those are our most reached for items.

Shelf 3: Diapers
The entire next shelf is used to store diapering needs- diapers (in 2 different sizes), swim diapers, wet wipes, diaper rash cream, wet bags, etc. While this holds all these supplies, we also have a diaper changing bin set up by the master bed which we use as a changing station. There we keep diapers and wipes in a diaper clutch. This keeps everything we need readily available so there is no need to rush to the closet each time a diaper needs changing. We refill the diaper clutch daily or as needed from the supplies in the closet.

Shelf 4: Clean up, Sleep supplies, Entertainment

This shelf holds items to help keep the kids clean - bibs (drool bibs and bibs for eating), burp rags, and wash rags for cleaning up after meals. It also holds entertainment and sleep related items such as small toys, security blankets, special stuffed animals, sleep sacks (for baby), pacifiers, and books.

Shelf 5: Family Entertainment

Board games and cards occupy this space.

Shelf 6: Pet/Emergency

On the bottom shelf we store the supplies needed for traveling with our cat. Food, treats, brush, etc. We also use this space to store a small kit for emergency needs in our RV such as spare lights, batteries, etc. We keep our old GPS in this space as well, in case we’re ever in need of directions and out of cell phone service.


Supplies organized at bottom of closet

By reorganizing our closet space we created space for the belongings of our (soon to be) two children with plenty of room to grow as they and their belongings grow too. With clear labels it’s easy to find and know where to store things as items get packed for vacation. If you’re needing some extra organization in your RV take a look at your current storage areas and follow the steps above to maximize your space to meet the needs of your family. Happy organizing!

 

Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily Helgeson
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and son in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

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