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Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Space Saving

Mods that help utilize your kitchen space

March 4, 2010 by · 15 Comments 


picture of installed knife magnet bar

One of the things that I have really enjoyed doing with our r.v.s, is making them my/our own.  By that, I mean decorating the bathroom with pretty towels, picking the perfect comforter (it’s picked, but I’m waiting for it to go on clearance ;) ), buying organizational tools, and finding more efficient ways to utilize space.  The kitchen is the space where I most enjoy finding new and better ways to pack in more stuff store needed items efficiently; with a family of 13, the kitchen is one of the most frequently used spaces in our r.v.!  Sometimes, finding a way to utilize the small kitchen area better involves a minor modification.  I thought that I would share two super easy mods that we have done to make our kitchen space more functional.
One of my very favorite modifications is the addition of a knife magnet bar.  We did this addition to our previous travel trailer even though it had knife slots behind the stovetop, and we liked it so much that it was one of the first things that I had one of my sons do to our current toy hauler.  I found my magnet bar at a kitchen supply shop (that was the only place that I could find a wood one), but I know that you can also get magnet bars at places like IKEA and building supply stores (they run anywhere from $9 to $60).  They are very easy to install; all the bars that I have seen are a simple rectangle magnet with a screw on either end.  In our travel trailer, we did anchor it into one stud, but the other end was floating (just screwed through the paneling) and held firm for the 3 years that we had it.  In this camper, the walls are thicker, so we just centered and leveled it and we didn’t worry about hitting studs (my son just walked by and asked, “what’s this WE?”).  When deciding where to place the bar, keep in mind the size of the knives you would like to hang to help determine instillation height.  I love having my kitchen knives handy without having them taking up room in my few drawers, and the magnet bar has held them and my kitchen scissors in place over even the bumpiest of roads. 

r.v. stove with cover upAnother modification that I really appreciate is the addition of a stove cover.  Our last trailer came with a factory installed one, and I was very thankful for it as I was always using it to cover the stove and utilize that space as additional countertop.  When we purchased our current trailer, it did not have a stove cover.  The stovetop got dirty faster, we often couldn’t use the stovetop space for quite some time after cooking on it as it was hot, and I really missed having the extra counter space.  We found a universal-fit stovetop cover for around $60, and it took my son less than 10 minutes to install it (and that included unpacking it from the box).  It was a one-piece cover, so he placed it over the stovetop, making sure that it was parallel to the wall. r.v. stove with cover half folded up The screws that came with the cover would not ‘bite’ into the laminate, so once it was exactly where I wanted it to be, he took a pencil and marked through the screw holes so that he would know where the screws should be placed.  He removed the cover and pre-drilled the holes where his pencil marks were, replaced the cover and put in the screws (he, not we!).  I love the extra ‘counterspace’, the cover is not as ‘slippery’ as the stove grate, it gives my kitchen a tidier look, and the stovetop stays cleaner too; definitely worth the money. 

picture of r.v. kitchen with knife magnet bar and stovetop cover installedThese two minor modifications were very easy to install, took only a few minutes apiece, and help make my kitchen more efficient.  If either of these are ideas that you think would improve your kitchen area, try it out for yourself – I think that you’ll find doing minor kitchen mods to be fun and rewarding – especially if you get to delegate, and HE gets to wield the screwgun ;)

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15 Responses to “Mods that help utilize your kitchen space”
  1. That magnet bar is a great idea. It seems like it would make the knives so easily accessible. Are you at all worried that when you stop the RV fast, a knife might come flying off that thing? I suppose its a very strong magnet.

  2. Debbie says:

    I love the magnet bar idea. Keep ‘em coming!

  3. Denise says:

    Love the magnet bar, might have to show that one to hubby : )

  4. Dana T. says:

    The magnet is very strong. I was worried about the knives coming off with movement, jolts, and stops, but they never move a bit! I leave the knives on all the time (don’t take them off when we move), and even over the worst roads, they stay in place. I usually have a pair of kitchen shears hanging off the bar too, and they also are held firmly in place. I love the magnet bar, and wouldn’t want to be without one now that I’ve had one!

  5. thornton zeigler says:

    What if the camper has an accident ie: a head on?

  6. dana t. says:

    I guess that in the event of an accident, the knives would probably go flying, but since no-one rides in the 5th wheel when we are driving, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. That would be a consideration if you have a motorhome though. Good point!

  7. Gail says:

    I removed by metal stove cover and replaced it with a cutting board. It stays in place going down the road and does not “rattle” :) The cutting board came with a material underneath that does not let the board slide,

  8. Patti Gallagher says:

    We added an extra “drop down/hinged” shelf in our RV next to the stove.. Hubby used our cutting board that came with the TV (fit in sink) and it was the perfect size.. Then he cut a new cutting board and used peel and stick floor tile that almost matches the counter to replace the cutting board..It adds more counter space, It sits over one side of the sink.
    We also bought ($20) at Camping WOrld Under the counter/.table drawers that fit perfectly under our dining table and hold silverware or office stuff.. VERY handy.
    Bob added some over the sink shelves in the bathroom with a decorative rail (from Lowes).. for extra storage of bottles etc. and some “narrow ” nick nack shelves from thin pieces of wood and decorative railing .. ALso made a spice rack with molding as the rail to hold the bottles. Very handy and useful. Thanks for sharing your ideas !!

  9. Patti Gallagher says:

    sorry I meant RV … not TV .. the cutting board.,

  10. Debbie says:

    We just put up a magnet bar inside the bathroom cabinet and it is great! It holds scissors, tweezers, safety pins, metal nail file, nail clippers etc. We did this because of this idea you gave us and now the bathroom feels so incredilbly organized. I’ve always hated hunting for tweezers.

  11. Marj says:

    Love the knife magnet….what a great idea!
    Covering the stove is a great way to make usable counter top. In our 5th wheel the stove is set in a little cubby-hole by itself with small narrow counter tops on each side of the stove. The side spaces are only big enough to maybe hold a small toaster or coffee pot but it gets very crowded and I really don’t like to use the stove with appliances so close to the stove. So my husband and I discussed how much we really use the stove and came to the conclusion that we do most of our cooking in either the electric oven or in an electric dutch skillet.And sometimes the crock pot. So since we don’t use the stove, we decided to cover the entire area and create a much larger counter top that could have more usable space. My husband cut a counter top out of plywood and he then tiled the top of it. It covers the entire area so we now have a very much larger space to work with. The new counter is basically resting on top of the stove cover, with small pieces of wood that come down in the corners to help stabilize it and it is completely removable if we choose to use the stove. I feel so lucky that my husband is so handy!!!

  12. Marj says:

    Good idea about the magnet in the bathroom! I have little plastic tubs in my bathroom cabinets but I can never find the little things that always seem to fall to the bottom. The magnet idea will solve the problem! Thanks a bunch!

  13. mary lowrey says:

    we frequently travel with our grandkids and I’ve purchased one of those plastic organizer hanging things (like a shoe bag but smaller w/ smaller pockets) for each child. We hang them with magnetic clips on the outside of the RV when we set up camp and each child has a specific place to keep their “stuff.” e.g., flip-flops, jewelry, hair clips, found treasures – rocks, etc., playing cards, game pieces, ear buds, all those little things that so easily get lost and create chaos!

  14. Dana T. says:

    Thanks for all the feedback! I love to hear what other people have done with their rvs – it often gives me a solution or ideas!
    I hope that I get to meet some of you on the road! :)

  15. Rana says:

    I’m puzzled. I love all these ideas, but the manual that came with my trailer said not to screw or nail anything to the walls because you might hit wires in there. Can you trust using a stud finder for walls in a trailer like in a house? I don’t know how the walls are made. I noted one of your suggestions that said only one side was anchored in a stud and the other side just floated in the panel. Aren’t you worried about wires in there? I would really appreciate advice on this. I have been very frustrated by this limitation on my storage ideas.

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