No matter how organized you are in your own home, nearly every house has some sort of junk drawer. A junk drawer (or junk closet, box, room, corner) is not necessarily full of junk or trash. However, they do tend to hold items that just don’t seem to have homes in other locations.
Junk drawers tend to collect items such as small tools (all those darn Ikea Allen wrenches), rubber bands, eyeglass kits, pens, and other “just in case” items.
RVs also tend to collect items that end up in a junk drawer or random unused space. However, because RVers are usually organized folks, let’s call this space a “utility drawer” instead of a junk drawer.
It’s just fine to have a catch-all space, but the key is to have only one of these types of drawers. If you have too many utility drawers or too many useful items, you won’t be able to find anything.
Depending on your RV space, you might not have a drawer to spare. That’s okay, a plastic shoebox or tackle box will do the trick, and they are also portable.
How many of these 12 items you can fit into that space will depend on the size of your rig and your junk…er…utility drawer. Whatever you choose to get, make sure each of the items you keep in there are small, lightweight, and easy to handle, use, and store.
1. Lighters and matches
Keep a few lighters and boxes of matches on hand in an RV junk drawer. They are useful for everything from lighting the stove and the campfire to handing out to unprepared camping neighbors.
2. Small flashlights and batteries
For some reason, flashlights tend to wander off. So do batteries. Keeping a few small flashlights and their respective batteries in a utility drawer will be handy on those dark nights. It might also be beneficial to keep a battery charger for rechargeable batteries and a battery tester on hand as well.
3. Pens and Sharpies
There is always a reason to keep a pen or Sharpie permanent marker around. You’ll need a pen to fill out campground paperwork or to write down impromptu directions. A Sharpie marker is useful for marking tools, containers, or even boxes and cans of food.
Whether it’s the front door, a cabinet, or the hitch ball, something on an RV is always stiff, sticky, or squeaky. Having a small tube or spray bottle of lubricant on hand, such a Boeshield T-9 or WD-40, will be useful for numerous jobs.
5. Command Hooks
6. Ball bungees, gear ties, or zip ties
Having numerous ways to tie things down is really helpful. Keep a few ball bungees or zip ties around for tying down loose or broken items. Zip ties are inexpensive, but can only be used once since you have to cut them (see below for scissors).
Invest in a few gear ties, which are reusable, flexible wire covered with a plastic sheath. They can be used to tie down bikes or organize technology cords.
7. Adhesive felt pads
Normally adhesive felt pads are used to prevent furniture legs from scratching wood floors. However, these little pads can be used for many things. Use them to even out a wiggly camp chair or table or to quiet a slamming cabinet door. I’ve used them to stop an under-seat storage lid from sliding around and to keep boxes from sliding out of cabinets.
8. Scissors and utility knife
It seems the one tool that I’m always reaching for while camping is a pair of scissors. From cutting open bags of grated cheese to snipping those aforementioned zip ties, scissors are super important to have nearby. Add a utility knife and you will have various ways to stay sharp.
9. Krazy Glue or marine adhesive
Small and useful for many jobs, having a tube of super glue or brand name Krazy Glue seems to be a basic of any utility box. Marine adhesive sealant is also a good choice. The containers and their sticky substance also last for years.
10. Post-it Notes
A pad of Post-it Notes can come in handy for leaving notes for yourself or other forgetful family members. It’s also helpful that they are colorful and easy to see. Post-it now has Extreme Notes that are water resistant and stick to tough surfaces. That’s handy when camping out in the elements.
11. Kelvin or multi-tool
For someone who is missing those Ikea Allen wrenches, replace that tool with a multi-tool, such as a Leatherman or the useful Kelvin tool. The Kelvin.17 has 17 tools in one, in a device the size of a cell phone. It has 12 screwdriver bits and driver, a hammer, level, tape measure, and a light. While it won’t replace a full toolbox, it will fit nicely into a utility drawer.
12. Screen wipes and microfiber cloth
How many times have you wiped your cell phone screen or eyeglasses off with your shirt when you couldn’t find a screen cloth or wipe? Screen wipes come in individual packages and can be used for any type of screen or glass. Microfiber cloths cleanly wipe up eyeglasses and sunglasses and can come inside protective cases so they also stay clean.
You might notice that this list doesn’t have tools such as wrenches and screwdrivers, or other useful items such as duct tape and adhesive. These specific tools should be kept together in another location, such as your RV garage or truck bed. They tend to get dirty and sticky and don’t live well with smaller items such as pens and sticky notes.