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How To Declutter Your RV In 5 Easy Steps

cluttered drawer - feature image for how to declutter your RV

How To Declutter And Organize Your RV

Keeping your living space clean and organized is a constant battle. Before you know it, mail, dishes, and various junks have begun to pile up on every surface. This problem is especially noticeable within the confines of an RV, so everyone needs to know how to declutter their space.

If you live in an RV, chances are you’ve already downsized quite a few of your possessions. This makes it even harder to get rid of things that made it through the initial purge. However, all of us need to go through periods of cleaning and decluttering so our RVs can remain livable. 

Below we have five tips that will help you take on this challenge one step at a time. You may not need to follow the advice of every tip, but these guidelines will give you a good place to get started. Now, let’s learn how to declutter an RV!

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1. Tackle one space at a time

This tip comes up all the time when you hear about organizing and decluttering. Maybe it’s not new, but it’s worth repeating here! Don’t try to declutter your RV all at once. You’ll just become overwhelmed and frustrated. 

The unfortunate thing about decluttering is that you have to make a bigger mess in order to solve a smaller mess. For instance, your cabinets may be a disaster, but you can ignore them as long as the door is closed. The process of decluttering forces you to bring the mess out into the open and confront it. 

In order to stay on track and keep your momentum, you need to approach this process in bite-sized chunks. Tackling the entire kitchen all at once will be a nightmare, so start with the refrigerator or a single drawer. Once a space has been organized, announce it to other residents of the RV so they will know to respect it and keep it clean. If everyone works together, it’s easier to prevent clutter from building up. 

In addition, feel free to take breaks along the way! Nothing will destroy your motivation faster than exhaustion and frustration. Once you finish one area, you can take a break and come back to it tomorrow. Some people work better once they get started and can blaze through their living space in no time. But there’s no shame in taking the slow and steady approach as well.

Learning how to declutter is hard, but there are no grades or time restrictions to worry about. 

2. Keep strict “keep” and “discard” piles

As you go through the various sections of your RV, lay out the items one at a time and consider them. Sometimes decluttering can be solved with simple organization, but you’ll usually want to throw away at least a few things. We often hold onto things that we don’t really need with the excuse that they might come in handy someday. 

To curb the natural instinct to hold onto things, try to create strict “keep” and “discard” piles. If you put a ton of stuff in the hazy gray area of a “maybe” pile, you’ll have to do extra work at the end as you re-sort these items or try to find spaces to keep them.

If you’re an indecisive person (like me), you might want to keep a single box for undecided items. Sometimes your RV contains your whole life, so you can’t make snap decisions about the things contained within. It’s totally fair to have some things that you need to think about, so put these in the box. Just try to limit yourself to a single box so that the amount of undecided items doesn’t get out of hand. 

As you declutter, save sentimental items for last. Pull them aside so you can deal with them once the craze of cleaning and organizing has faded. You may regret it if you instantly throw away an item that’s meaningful to you or hang onto a bunch of junk just for the sake of sentimentality.

Carefully consider these personal items once everything else in the space has been dealt with. Ask yourself the classic Marie Kondo question, “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is no, internally thank the item for the good memories and let it go. If you do love something, that’s great too! Look for a place within your RV where you can display or use it frequently. 

3. Give every item a designated space

Next up, let’s talk about organization. It’s easy to just shove everything into a tote or cabinet and forget about it. But when you need to find a specific item, this type of system is a disaster. 

Try to assign every item to a specific space. For instance, maybe you’ll want to keep all your blankets, towels, washcloths, and tablecloths in a single closet rather than scattering them throughout different drawers. 

You can also use organizers to create individualized storage for different items. This is especially useful in the kitchen because there are lots of small things you need to keep track of. Make use of silverware organizers, spice racks, lazy susans, etc. 

Labels can also go a long way when you’re learning how to declutter your RV. These will mark which items go where and will remind everyone in the RV where stuff should go.

Finally, remember that your storage solutions can also reflect your style and personality! Cute storage solutions make it easier to declutter because it adds an element of fun to the process. You can use hanging containers, wire racks, woven baskets, or decorative trunks to increase your storage capacity. These items look great and are useful too.

4. Store seasonal items and cut back on clothing

Clothing is one of the biggest culprits of closet cluttering. It’s understandable to want a diverse wardrobe because you want to ensure you can rotate between different items before washing a load of laundry. Many of us also want the freedom to express our style in a variety of different ways! In addition, seasonal changes necessitate different materials and clothing cuts so that we can adapt to the weather. 

However, the fact remains that RV closet space is limited, so it’s easy to overstuff them. Once they get too full, it’s a pain in the neck to find the thing you’re looking for without knocking three more things down. 

Start by pulling out all your clothes and sorting them by type. You may find that you have way more shirts or socks than you need, so you can easily cut a few of these. Now is also the time to ditch anything that’s worn-out, ill-fitting, or falling apart.

Sorting items by season can also help because you don’t need to keep everything in the closet all year long. Some bulky items like coats and sweaters can be put into storage for awhile and free up space in the wardrobe. 

Next, follow the “keep” or “discard” method we mentioned earlier. Don’t leave yourself wiggle room because this will lead to you hanging onto more clothes than you need. 

Pull aside the clothes you wear most often, then tackle the rest of the pile. If you haven’t worn something in a month or more, you might want to ditch it. Sometimes we like the idea of a piece of clothing more than the reality, so try to approach clothes with a practical mindset. 

5. Declutter flat surfaces

Finally, focus some attention on the flat surfaces throughout your RV. Countertops, tables, and nightstands are often full of junk that we don’t really need. You’ll see such a huge difference once they’re cleared off. Your entire RV will feel more open, and you’ll have more space to work with. 

You might be surprised to see how much junk you’ve been holding onto. Sort through the buildup and toss any useless items into the trash. Then, try to find a place for everything that you want to keep. 

If you really do need to hang onto some loose odds and ends, designate a specific container for them on the counters. This will help keep the mess contained while still giving you easy access to items like keys, coins, and important mail.

Find more tips for RV life

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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