Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Menu Planning & Cooking, Preparation & Readiness, Space Saving
Reducing Kitchen Clutter
So much so, that I cannot resist the temptation to slip in behind her excellent ideas and add some of our own.
Dana’s family and mine live in significantly different RV environments. First, it is normally just Nancy, me and Oscar in the RV – that is unless we are taking grandkids along too. Second, we are not full-timers and third we have a little more living space since our fifth wheel is not a toy hauler.
But, more living space does not necessarily translate to a larger kitchen or more storage space. The only thing we really gain is room for more furniture and dirt.
RV kitchens are, well, RV kitchens. They are typically small, use downsized appliances and never have enough cabinet space. They provide a really good reason for cooking outdoors on the grill!
Dana’s comment on, “If you don’t use it, toss it” is so true. For years we hauled hundreds of pounds of stuff – stuff like waffle irons, sandwich grills, multiple pots and pans, enough dishes for a 30 piece place setting and enough food to feed us for an entire winter. Then, one day, we decided to get organized. Out went all of the unused stuff – back to the Goodwill thrift store where most of it was purchased to start with. Some kitchen wares were replaced with space saving designs and space was reworked to maximize convenience and storage.
We too keep evaluating the need for the items in our collection of kitchen gear and foodstuff. Now we only haul enough food to feed us for a month at a time.
The space saving pot and pan set on the left quickly expands to the set on the right by snapping on a handle. All items nest inside one another. They also have plastic lids for refrigerator or freezer use.
This is a 16 piece set that we purchased from a vendor at The Rally 2010. You should be able to find vendors and specifications by searching on either keywords Fago or Rapid Chef and 16 piece cookware set. The price varies from about $149 to $249 depending on vendor, so shop wisely!
All of these frequently used kitchen tools would normally take up acres of kitchen real estate. But, by using “pop-out” tools made from silicone much of that valuable space is saved.
There are all sorts of kitchen stores that offer space saving tools and gadgets. Some of our favorite are those that can be “nested” inside one another. Tools that are made of heat rated silicone and simply pop-out to shape when needed are great space savers. Most all of these items can be used in an oven, microwave or in the refrigerator-freezer. They also double as serving bowls and often come with plastic lids that can be added when storing left-overs or taking to a group picnic. (Just be sure your name is on them so you can get them back!)
Sometimes there is some open wall space where additional cabinets can be added.
Our camper had an unused wall section next to the stairs going up to the bedroom that was perfct for a manufactured bathroom cabinet found at Lowe’s. The Oak finish matched our existing cabinets well and provided storage for spices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate
Under-cabinet space can often be put to good use with hanging appliances or racks. This hanger is for glasses having a stemware design. It is out of the way and opened up additional storage space inside the cabinets. It also makes it convenient to grab a glass when setting the table for dinner.
We gave up a considerable amount of stgorage space when we elected to have a table with chairs rather than a dinette. Some of the space was regained with “flip up” chair seat bottoms. This can be done with most any chair of this type by removing the seat, adding a piano hinge to the front and attaching fiberboard or thin plywood underneath. We keep all of our plastic table ware, napkins, baggies and foil in our chair bottoms.
OK – This one may sound totally crazy.
We rarely use our gas oven. It heats the camper up so it is uncomfortable even with the air conditioner on in the summer. While we “may” occasionally use it in the cooler months, we still do not like it because of the moisture added to the air from the burning propane.
So…. Why not use the inside of the oven for storage? We do!
The oven rack makes a great place for large flat items, foil, dishes, serving bowls and most anything else you can think of. The bottom of the oven is often used to store aluminum serving trays and bowls we use for outdoor cooking.
Dana commented that not everything needs to go inside. I could not agree with her more! But, the huge basement in our fifth wheel was begging for organization. There was so much room everything got lost! The heavy commercial pull out shelves were extremely expensive, so when I found a set of used tracks from a computer server I bought them and put them to good use. The plastic storage boxes easily stack. They are the right height inside to hold empty coffee cans full of small items like nuts, bolts, batteries, matches, buttons, bows and more. All I have to do is grab the bottom handle to pull them out and then I can easily open the lid or access lower boxes. Of course, we keep the most frequently used items in the top container.
I am sure there are many, many more ideas from our readers that would fill these pages and more. But for me, I am out of room and will have to stop here.
Well…… maybe one more. I too hated the tiny, shallow bowls in the two-compartment sink that came in our (former) 2005 Prowler Regal. The two compartments were totally useless since you could not even wash a standard size sauce pan. It only took a few weeks before I pulled the sink out and replaced it with a single bowl stainless steel sink we purchased at Home Depot. Installing it was sort of scary since I had to enlarge the opening in the counter top with a saber saw. Once I made that first cut there was no turning back. It was a tight fit and some plumbing modifications were necessary to get everything hooked up. The results were worth it!
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