7 Must Haves For Organizing Small RV Kitchens & Cabinets

Organizing the Tiny Kitchen in Our 24 Foot Class C RV.

The kitchen in our motorhome is absolutely tiny and very compact.

It has to be since our Class C RV is only 24 feet in total length with a queen size bed in the corner, a full bathroom, and a large U-shaped dinette.

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There are really only 3 small RV kitchen cabinets and a drawer under the stove where we can store all of our kitchen stuff.

Since we live full time in our RV, the kitchen area is one of the most important places in our camper. We need to have a working kitchen since we cook 99% of the meals we eat.

There are not a lot of restaurants out in the wild, and like many full-time campers, we are on a budget to help us keep doing the travel lifestyle that we love.

Somehow we have managed to fit everything we must have in our tiny kitchen space.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the things we use to take advantage of every inch of the RV kitchen cabinets and the one large drawer under the stove.

Everything we use helps save space and keep us organized so we don’t go crazy in our tiny living space. If you’re looking for some great RV kitchen organization ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

See Also: 50 Must-Have RV Kitchen Accessories For Full Time RV Living

7 Must-Haves For Small RV Kitchen Organization

1. Hanging RV Trash Can

INSHA Hanging Trash Can,Small in-Cabinet Kitchen Garbage Bin Can Easy Attached to Cabinet Door Kitchen Drawer Car Waste Can with Top Ring to Fix Garbage Bag (LJT-Blue)

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The first puzzle that needs to be solved for any small camper or van is where to put a trash can. Most larger RVs have a space for a standard sized garbage can in the cabinet under the sink.

But those take up a lot of space, and in many smaller campers, the cabinet under the sink usually has a shelf in it. So a normal trash can won’t fit.

Our options were to get a small and short trash can and put it on the top or bottom shelf in the RV cabinet under the sink or get a hanging one that would be out of the way so we could store more stuff on the same shelf.

We went with the hanging RV trash can and even though it’s small, it’s been better than having a full sized trash can in a lot of ways.

wall mount rv trash can in a small rv kitchen cabinet
The RV trash can is mounted to the door of a kitchen cabinet in our small motorhome.

As you can see in the picture above the RV trash can is hanging by a few hooks from the kitchen cabinet door. When we open the door the trash can comes out which makes throwing things away a lot easier since it’s accessible.

Even though the sink drain is under in the same space there’s somehow space for the hanging trash can, a coffee maker, coffee, and even the wall mount grocery bag holder I’ll review next.

One thing I added to this perfect little RV trash can to make it easy to remove but still hang securely is a strong magnet on the back near the bottom.

magnet on the bottom of an RV trash can holding it in place in an RV kitchen cabinet
An RV magnetic door catch glued to the back of a wall mount trash can holding it in place.

We had a few left over magnetic RV storage door holders by RecPro (click to view on Amazon).

The magnets they use are really strong and it holds the hanging trash can in place really well.

I used double sided tape to secure the magnet on the RV cabinet door and I glued the metal part to the back of the trash can.

With the two hooks on top and the magnet on the bottom, the trash can has stayed in place during travel, and when opening the door.

It’s also easy to remove when I want to clean out the trash can and it doesn’t bang around when we’re driving the RV.

Another cool thing about this specific hanging trash can by Insha is the ring that goes around the lip to hold the grocery bag in place.

It works really well and I’ve never had any issues with the bag slipping down.

See Also: Best RV Washers & Dryers Reviewed For All Kinds Of Campers

Finally, the most unexpected advantage we’ve found to using a smaller RV trash can is the grocery bags are easy to throw away in regular trash cans like the ones you find in parks and gas stations.

When we had our travel trailer it was often a struggle to find a dumpster to throw away our full sized trash bags.

Most businesses don’t allow you to throw away your garbage in their dumpsters and not every RV dump station or campground has trash services.

The small grocery bags can be thrown away as we travel from campsite to campsite and we never have to buy garbage bags since we can use grocery bags which we always have plenty of.


2. Wall Mount Grocery Bag Holder

Camco Pop-A-Bag Plastic Bag Dispenser- Neatly Store and Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags, Easily Organize and Conserve Space in Your Kitchen (White) (57061)

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Even if you don’t have a small RV trash can like the one reviewed above in your camper, it’s still nice to have somewhere to store grocery bags since they always come in handy no matter where you are.

Many people have hanging grocery bag holders like these (click to view on Amazon) in their pantries at home.

But small campers and vans don’t usually have full sized pantries and they don’t look nice enough to have hanging out in the open.

Many RVers opt for wall mounted grocery bag holders like the one linked to above by Camco.

The nice thing about this version is it’s small enough to fit in small RV cabinets, but it’s big enough to hold up to 25 grocery bags.

It’s also super easy to load and get bags out of which I appreciate.

It can be mounted with screws or double sided tape. The back comes off for easy mounting.

camco grocery bag holder mounted inside a small RV kitchen cabinet
Camco Pop-A-Bag grocery bag holder mounted to the wall inside an RV kitchen cabinet.

We were able to fit it underneath the sink in our small camper. It’s right next to the RV trash can which is a bonus and it’s so small and compact we can store other kitchen items around it.

See Also: 6 Best Propane RV Stoves With Ovens & Cooktops Reviewed


3. Wall Mount Spice Racks

Premium Spice Rack Organizer for Cabinets or Wall Mounts - Space Saving Set of 4 Hanging Racks - Perfect Seasoning Organizer For Your Kitchen Cabinet, Cupboard or Pantry Door

Check Price at Amazon

Cooking good meals in our camper is important to us, and having a large arsenal of spices is a huge part of that.

In our travel trailer, we had a large spice shelf that was built-in underneath the top kitchen cabinets. This was possible because the kitchen was much larger than the one in our small motorhome.

When we downsized to a small camper we wanted to bring all of the spices we had with us, but there wasn’t any kind of spice rack in it.

After some consideration, we decided the area above the microwave and stove would be the most accessible place to put a wall mount spice rack.

wall mount spice rack in a small rv kitchen above the microwave for organizing spices

It’s a great use of that empty space and it doesn’t look half bad either.

One slight alteration I made to the Zicoto spice rack linked to above was to add some rubber pieces underneath and I wrapped the bar in electrical tape to reduce the noise of the glass spice jars clinking together whenever we drive.

This won’t be an issue if you use plastic spice jars or if you’re using this in a small travel trailer because you won’t hear the sounds when you’re driving.

See Also: Best Small RV Coffee Maker & K-Cup RV Coffee Maker

So far we’ve been on some pretty wild roads that have put some crazy force on the things inside our camper and we haven’t had a single spice jar fall out.

Since there are four spice racks in a pack we had two left over. We mounted them inside one of the taller RV kitchen cabinets to maximize the space and it’s been an awesome way to store more spices.

wall mounted spice rack inside a small rv kitchen cabinet for organizing spices
Spice rack mounted inside one of the cabinets in our camper kitchen to take advantage of the unused space.

If you don’t have that many spices you could put anything that fits up there. Wall mount spice racks like these are really just little shelves you can put anything on.


4. RV Paper Towel Holder

Kamenstein Perfect Tear Patented Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder, 14-Inch, Black, Rounded Finial

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Paper towels are a camping necessity. Many large RVs usually come with built in paper towel holders but they are often just a simple wooden dowel under one of the RV kitchen cabinets.

The downside to this simple style of RV paper towel holder is when you’re traveling the paper towel will often unravel itself.

The better way to go is with a spring loaded paper towel holder that will keep the roll from moving freely.

In our travel trailer, we had this RV paper towel holder by Kamenstein mounted in an area underneath the kitchen countertop.

But in our smaller motorhome kitchen, we really didn’t know where one would fit.

Since the dinette table is directly across from the RV kitchen we ended up mounting the paper towel holder underneath the table.

rv paper towel holder mounted under the table in a small rv kitchen

It actually works great, and there’s plenty of room for our legs since the holder is on the outside of the table that isn’t used by anyone.

It’s also not in the way when we turn the dinette into a bed which is a bonus.


5. Dishes & Utensil Stand

ORZ Plate Holders Organizer White Cabinet Dish Drying Rack for Counter top and Cupboard (Small & Large)…

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In our tiny camper kitchen we use one of the RV cabinets for holding things like food containers, mixing bowls, and small appliances, another cabinet is for food storage, and the last one is for the garbage can and larger kitchen appliances.

The only other RV kitchen storage space is a large drawer underneath the stove. We needed somewhere to put all of our plates, bowls, cups, silverware, knives, and other small kitchen things.

The drawer was the last spot left so we had to make it work.

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Luckily it’s pretty tall and deep. It’s also on heavy duty sliders so it’s made to take more weight than a standard RV drawer.

To fit everything inside it in an organized way that maximized the space we needed to be able to put everything in a vertical position.

Plate stands like the one linked to above are perfect for this.

plates, bowles, and cups organized in an RV drawer in small motorhome kitchen
Plastic dish drying rack cut in half to organize and store plates, bowls, and cups in an RV drawer.

You might notice that’s not what’s in the picture above.

If I had been able to get my hands on an actual plate and bowl stand I would’ve used that, but all I had was an old plastic dish dryer rack (click to view on Amazon).

I cut it in half and use the plate holder part to store all of our dinnerware and more in one half of the RV drawer. It looks pretty precarious but so far everything has stayed standing during travel and we haven’t had a broken plate yet.

For the utensils, we use a wooden caddy like this (click to view on Amazon).

utensil holder caddy inside an RV drawer to help organize a tiny rv kitchen
Utensil caddy in an RV drawer holding and organizing all of the utensils and some kitchen accessories we need in our camper kitchen.

It fits perfectly in the corner, organizes everything, and if we eat outside we can just pull it out and have all of our utensils easily available.

In the RV drawer we also have some wooden bowls that sit in the center to hold everything together, cutting boards, and a small knife set with block (click to view on Amazon) mounted to the side.


6. Dishsoap Caddy

Kitchen Sink Organizer Sink Caddy for Kitchen Organization - Kitchen Sponge and Brush Holder and Organizer

Check Price at Amazon

One huge downside to full-time RV living in a small motorhome, camper, or van is no dishwasher. Every dish must be washed by hand.

You could just use disposable utensils and plates, but doing that 365 days of the year just isn’t appealing to us. So we wash our dishes, even when boondocking.

It might seem like a simple organizer but our dish soap caddy is really one of the best things we have in our RV kitchen.

RV kitchen sink organizer caddy holding dish soap, a sponge, handsoap, and a rag in a tiny camper kitchen
Our kitchen sink organizer keeps everything we need to wash dishes organized in our tiny camper kitchen.

It’s the perfect size to hold a standard dish soap bottle, a sponge, hand soap, and a rag.

When we travel we just set it in the kitchen sink so it doesn’t move around and it has a nice spot right next to the faucet when we’re set up for camping.

The bottom catches any water that drips off of the sponge, and it’s really easy to clean.

See Also: Best Unbreakable RV & Camping Dishes Reviewed


7. Collapsible Dishrack with Tub

Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Over-The-Sink Dish Drainer

Check Price at Amazon

Last but not least, we need somewhere to dry all of those dishes we have to do in the tiny camper kitchen sink.

A regular dish drying rack works fine, but we wanted something we wouldn’t have to have sitting out all of the time.

The collapsible dish rack is absolutely perfect.

collapisble over the sind dish rack inside a tiny rv kitchen

It fits easily in any RV kitchen sink, even the super small one in our motorhome, and it becomes a very compact size when collapsed down.

We just slide it into the RV cupboard under the sink and it’s out of the way when we don’t need it.

Another thing I love about it is it fits perfectly in this Rubbermaid dishpan (click to view on Amazon).

I actually normally have the dish drying rack set up in the dishpan to catch water from the dishes. It makes it so I can do dishes in the sink and put them directly into the drying rack.

It’s also nice because we can put the dish rack full of dishes somewhere else to dry if we still need to use the kitchen area.

And the dishpan has other uses too like when we want to do dishes outside or carry water from somewhere.

Conclusion About Organizing a Small RV Kitchen

Hopefully, the way we keep our RV kitchen organized in our small motorhome has given you some ideas for your own camper or van.

Living or camping in smaller RVs has its benefits but they are much harder to keep clutter free and you need to add a lot of space saving techniques to make it all work.

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So far we really love how we store everything in our camper but if you have any other ideas for us please leave a comment below.

Good luck organizing your own “home away from home” and we hope you enjoy your camper.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

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