RV Kitchen Storage Solutions

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For a relatively small kitchen by household standards at only 8′ wide by 9′ 9″ long, our RV galley is seriously functional – all the major components lined up on one side, and all the prep space on the other – literally, a galley-style kitchen. It has a surprising amount of storage space, which for our family of four is HUGELY important.

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Because we cook a LOT, and there are multiple cooks in our family, we made sure that the RV kitchen we ultimately chose was not a one-cook kitchen, and that we could easily work, cook, talk, learn, read, game and do all the things we normally did in our sticks and bricks home around the table in our new to us RV kitchen. Because we work from home and also homeschool, we spend a lot of time in our kitchen using the table for not just eating, but for writing, doing the maths, crafts, experiments, board games and other activities. In short, we rely on efficiency and effective storage in our RV living to streamline our day – this kitchen totally delivers.

Buffet Storage and Prep Area

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The buffet storage and prep area, which could easily be converted to house a washer/dryer combo unit (it’s plumbed for it behind the roll-out shelves), is a massive 38″ deep by 29″ wide and provides not only a convenient spot for prep work, cooling racks or a countertop appliance like the waffle iron or electric kettle, but behind closed doors also contains two heavy duty, large pull-out shelves that contain our filtered water dispenser, kettle, bulk storage and large item storage such as the 15 pound bag of cat food and jumbo bottle of vinegar on the floor level.

The countertop itself houses our Breville BOV845BSS Smart Convection Oven, daily tea necessities and usually an overladen fruit bowl. Even with all this on the surface, there’s still ample prep space and this area is often used, as its name suggests, as a buffet for serving. Pictured below is our first Thanksgiving on board – all the fixings including fresh cranberry sauce minus the actual turkey – two days after we bought the bus, accomplished with one pot, one pan, one pyrex dish and no convection oven…not bad!

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rv-kitchen-storageAbove this deep countertop is a double doored set of cabinets with leaded glass doors and 2 shelves inside that keep dishes and serveware close to hand. We also keep extra (and specialized) food storage containers, spare rolls of paper towels, dinner napkins and the like on these shelves. The narrow top shelf can be used to store properly wrapped (in socks, of course) bottles of wine or brew for those who like to stock up.

Wall of Tall – Fridge and Surrounding Pantries

One of the areas that maximizes storage capacity is our ‘wall of tall.’ Although only a touch over 44″ wide, the fridge and its surrounding cabinets form a large part of our ample pantry and keep our most often required ingredients close at hand. From the factory, the pantry storage left of the fridge is plentiful and neatly optimized for can storage. We use the bottom pull-out for canned goods, and the top two for other various pantry items. The backside of the pullouts is perfect for kid-height calendar and our sticker map of the United States.

25″ x 54″ Counter-Depth Direct 12v/110v Stainless Marine Fridge

When we replaced the OEM Dometic with a stainless marine Vitrifrigo refrigerator, one of our major priorities was increasing cooking efficiency and maximizing the storage space available. Although the new refrigerator takes up a much smaller footprint (25″x54″ vs. 33 1/2″x60″), the original Dometic had 7.97 cubic feet of usable space inside leaving out IMG_9115unusable icemaker and fin space whereas the new Vitrifrigo has about 8.1 cubic feet of interior space which can easily fit a frozen pizza (the kids’ priority!). Granted, we don’t use a lot of refrigerated packaged foods (aside from our apparent obsession with condiments), we don’t eat meat, and we don’t drink milk so our space requirements for cold food storage are perhaps less than many families of four, but we do eat a large quantity of bountiful greens and keep our produce overflowing.

Because of the compact footprint of the new fridge (we gained over 4.5 square feet of space!) we were able to add two pull-out spice and oils racks behind the closed door to the right of the fridge, a small square cubby for long things like rolling pins and parchment paper, plus two shallow drawers below the fridge and above the existing doored cabinet at the floor level.

Wraps Storage and Pot Drawers

To the right of the “wall of tall,” is our primary cooking station, just to the left of the sink. This spot is doubly useful because there is a folding countertop that covers the cooktop when extra horizontal surface is needed. Below the 2-burner Gaggeneau cooktop, we have two deep pot drawers that are each 22″ wide and 24″ front to back. The top drawer is 8 1/2″ deep and the bottom drawer is 10 1/2″ deep – these two drawers provide storage for most of our pots and pans as well as stainless prep bowls, pyrex storage containers, and baking pans.

Above the OTR microwave and convection oven combo is a short cabinet – just tall enough for plastic storage bags, wraps and foils. Labels, hastily placed one frustrated afternoon, identify locations for each item, and short strips of wood with velcro which attach to the cabinet interior headliner lining help separate items and keep things tidy.

Under Sink Storage and Our Tea Cabinet

Above the kitchen window is a nice little compact cabinet with an upper back shelf. This cabinet is  the perfect size for our tea-making equipment and supplies. Inside the cabinet, I’ve utilized a storage box for individual tea bags, a tea bag coaster, tea balls and other small tea accessories. It seems we have an inordinate amount of tea – there’s an overflow box in the basement! We also keep the honey, a cinnamon sugar shaker, mulling spices, and other sundry drink additives as well as the Bodum french press we use for making tea in this cabinet. Compact, but gets us going every day!

One of the areas I’ve always found to be extremely underutilized is the area under the kitchen sink, but that’s not a problem we have here. We are lucky enough in this rig to have a nicely outfitted under sink area with two large pull-out units and an upper shelf on the right side.

The left pullout unit is large enough for our small kitchen trash can (just fits a grocery sack and gets emptied at least once if not twice daily) and to hold a few items such as Bar Keeper’s Friend and a couple cleaning sprays. This pullout is divided, with the back section being the perfect size to stow our juicer. The right hand pullout is deep and tall enough for the Vitamix blender and its accessories as well as some additional juicer accessories. Above this pullout unit is a fixed shelf on which we store cleaning brushes, polishes, extra sponges and scrubby pads, and the stopper for the sink.

Glassware Cabinet and a 4-Drawer Stack

On the far forward end of our kitchen is an overhead cabinet which we use for cookbooks and glassware, cups, stems and mugs. We also have repurposed the built-in spice rack (our spices take up far too much space!) to hold small kitchen accessories – a couple of 20141017_154737sets of pinch bowls, a mini juicing reamer and even a tiny bud vase. These items are used often in food prep and having them ready to hand and easily organized is perfect.

The counter below is largely taken up with our dish drainer, but the bump-out at the end of the counter that houses the very deep four-drawer stack adds a ton of valuable counter space not to mention storage in the drawers. We use the top for silverware and measuring spoons and cups, the second for implements of food production and destruction, the third is full of onions and potatoes and garlic (oh, my!) and the bottom drawer is the “shop drawer,” full of ready access tools like blue painter’s tape, screwdrivers, levels and such.

J-Lounge Storage and Overhead Cabinets

IMG_5768The kitchen table is surrounded by the J-Lounge – the single most useless piece of storage furniture on board. The drawers are tiny. The drawers are narrow. The drawers take up only about half the available space. Nonetheless, we use the one closest to the kitchen trash can to store grocery sacks and compactor bags for daily trash collection. Another drawer is used for extra canvas grocery bags and wine carriers. The third drawer is nigh inaccessible behind the table leg, so it is currently and probably permanently, empty.

Above the kitchen table, we have one long storage locker and two small storage lockers (truly one locker with 3 doors) that store all our bulk items such as flours, pastas, rices, cereals, grains, dried fruits, nuts, etc. One of these days I’ll figure out the perfect storage container to use in these cabinets and I’ll get them organized! Any suggestions?

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3 comments

  • It’s an amazingly good kitchen. The two propane burners on that stove are HIGH heat, rear burner in particular brings pasta water to a boil way faster than most cooktops we’ve used, and we have a portable induction burner that can readily be placed on the buffet counter if we need three pan/pots going simultaneously. The high power vent located directly above the stove does a great job with pulling steam and cooking odors outdoors, which makes working on exterior projects while onions and mushrooms are being sautéd generate quite an appetite. 🙂

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