We were sick and tired of searching for tools, parts, and supplies in our RV’s basement storage compartments. So about ten years ago we set out to implement some of the best RV basement storage ideas we’d found. We did pretty well overall, and in fact, we even made a video about it.
But our technique for finding things still needed some tweaking. So several years ago we updated our process enough to to share some additional tips that can really make a difference in getting organized.
As most of our readers know, we’ve been full-time RVers for nearly two decades now. We’ve lived, worked, and traveled in our motorhome, and it’s our only home. We love everything about our way of life. But like any other lifestyle, there are some things that cause irritating, time-sucking issues. For us, one of those issues was finding our stuff.
We eventually got our anal-retentive selves squared away to the point where we’ve organized our RV basement storage in a way that works really well for us, and we think it might work for you, too. So, today we’re sharing our best RV basement storage ideas.
What is RV Basement Storage?
An RV basement is a compartment (or several of them) located under the main floor of the RV… thus the word “basement” is used, even though you can’t walk down there. RV basement areas are intended for storing anything from tools to recreational items to seasonal clothing to supplies to… well… just about anything.
Some basement storage areas are “pass-through” which means that the compartment goes from one side of the RV to the other and can be accessed from either side.
Some basement storage areas even have slide-out trays like the ones we have in our Newmar Mountain Aire, which make it super easy to access stuff.
Depending on how much you travel, and if you’re a full-timer like us, you may have a LOT of stuff to store in your RV basement. Or very little.
As full-timers, our rig is pretty large. That’s great, but there are so many storage areas inside and out, that we really had to get organized to keep from going crazy searching for things when we needed them. It’s amazing how many little cubbies and other hidden places that things can get squirreled away in.
Part of the process of being able to locate what we want when we want it involved putting into practice our best RV basement storage ideas and then fine-tuning them even more. Basement storage areas, after all, tend to be large. And being full-timers, we carry pretty much everything we own.
If you live in a sticks & bricks house, think about your cupboards, basement, attic, garage and anywhere else you keep tings stashed. We need to carry a lot of what you have stored in those areas of your home in our RV’s basement storage.
How Do I Organize My RV Basement Storage?
Here are some of the best tips we have for organizing your RV basement storage areas, whether you have pass-through storage, slide-out trays, or both. Some of these tips can even be used inside your RV’s living areas, too.
Use Clear Plastic Storage Bins
Clear/translucent plastic totes are fantastic for organizing your RV basement storage areas. Not only can you see (somewhat) through the sides of the bins, but containing many small items inside a single bin makes it easy to slide one bin out of the way, allowing you to get to the one containing the item you need.
Plastic bins are also great for holding liquids like cleaning items, motor oil, and other fluids so that any spills or leaks (pump & spray bottles tend to leak some due to changes in elevation when driving in the mountains) will be contained in the bins.
You can use plastic bins of various sizes, which are widely available at any Walmart or other big box store or from Amazon.
These bins are part of our all-time favorite RV basement storage idea (which we’ll get to shortly).
These work nicely and they’re easy to move in and out. You’ll just need to choose the appropriately-sized bins for your RV basement storage area.
This is a 30-quart version:
Or, if your basement is large enough, you could use something like this 53-quart version:
- Modular design makes it easier to stack and organize space efficiently.
- Buckle-up latches for securing content.
Smaller or shorter bins can also be useful as you plan your RV basement organization.
Use Bamboo Mats
Many of you have seen us using our bamboo mats to lay on when we’re working on our RV maintenance or a DIY project. We also use these mats to line the bottom of our RV basement slide-out trays. Not only do they protect the carpeting of slide-out trays or pass-through storage compartments, but they also make it easy to slide a large storage bin out of the way to access an item you need.
Bamboo mats aren’t expensive, are useful in multiple ways, and are available in various sizes & styles.
While these aren’t the same ones that we have (we bought ours over 18 years ago!), they’re the closest we could find to what we’ve been using.
- BAMBOO FLOOR MAT – Elevate your home for functional beauty with the iDesign natural bamboo rug and floor mat; water-resistant with a non-skid...
- WATER-RESISTANT – Great as a bathroom runner or hallway runner rug, it’s made of natural bamboo with water-resistant coating and a fabric border;...
Store Small Items in Ziplock Bags
Gallon-sized Ziplock bags are perfect for keeping smaller items organized. You can write on them with a Sharpie noting the contents, and then store the bags in your plastic totes.
Ziplock bags of various sizes are generally available at your local grocery and big box stores, or in larger quantities at places like Costco or on Amazon.
Use Printed Lists of Bin Contents
This is surely our #1 favorite on our list of best RV basement storage ideas!
We mentioned in our original basement organizing video how we’d use packing lists inside our clear plastic bins noting the contents of each bin. We hand-printed these lists and put them inside the bins facing outward so that we could, at a glance, see what was inside each bin.
Over the years we refined that system in a way that has served us amazingly well. Now, instead of hand-printing the lists of contents, we create the lists on our computer and print them out.
Small change? Not really. This is actually a very significant change. And not just because it looks better.
Now, whenever we need an item, we simply pull up the list on our computer, type what we need into the search bar, and just like that… we’re shown the exact location of the item, including which storage area of the RV’s basement we need to go to, and which bin in that storage area holds the item we’re looking for. Even the tiniest of items are easy to find in this way.
And since we have all of our bin lists included in one master document (with each individual page of the document showing the items in one particular bin), a single search of the entire document will find anything in the basement, regardless of which bin it’s in.
For example, if we need to find a small PEX fitting for a project, we simply type “PEX” into the search bar and the exact location of our PEX parts in our RV basement is revealed.
Now we can go directly to the right section of the basement, and to the right bin, and there we’ll find exactly what we need, even if we haven’t seen that item in years. We don’t even need to remember what area the bin is in, because our computer’s memory does that for us (which is good, because OUR memories aren’t getting any better, LOL!).
If you’d like to use our master list and edit it with your own items, here’s a Microsoft Word version that you’re welcome to use as a starting point.
Another benefit to using computerized lists is that when things get added or removed to a bin, it’s super quick and easy to update any list and reprint it. The same goes for lists that get old or torn. We can print our a replacement in a second.
And if you’d like to see both our original and follow-up videos, we’ll include them right here for you to see.
As long-time full-timers, we’ve found organizational skills to be absolutely critical to our life on the road. With just the tips we’ve noted above, we can quickly find and access any item we need, saving a lot of time and potential frustration. That includes the frustration of running out to buy (or ordering online) a replacement part or supplies that we already have onboard but just couldn’t find.
We hope some of our favorite RV basement storage and organization ideas are helpful to you, too!
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