Saturday, August 11, 2007

Small Space Saturday: Corralling Clutter

Every Saturday I write about strategies for living in 300 square feet

People who live in more conventional homes often ask, “How can you live in such a small space?”

Odyssey has about 300 square feet of living area. There are plenty of people out there full-timing in even smaller rigs. So little space, coupled with the fact that the space travels down the bumpy, twisting road, means that it is vitally important to keep clutter to a minimum.

I’ve found that using baskets and bins to contain small items really helps. Things that we use often are out where we can access them, but contained in such a way that they don’t fly around when we’re moving. It also makes it easy to put things away immediately after use, which streamlines the process of getting ready to hit the road.

My style is rather modern. I like baskets and decorative boxes in dark, natural colors because I think they blend nicely with Odyssey’s granite countertops.

But this same idea would also work with white wicker for a romantic look, or simple pine boxes for a country look, animal prints, etc. The variety of decorative containers available these days is amazing. I’m sure you could find 10 different fluorescent orange boxes if that is your RV style. (The Construction Zone look? Hey, I’ve seen stranger decor.)

I’m always looking for these as I’m out and about and have found nice ones at WalMart, Ross, and TJ Maxx. Thrift shops and garage sales are a good option, too. Here are a few of the containers I use.

This box sits on my bedside table. I don’t have a drawer available on my side of the bed (the cabinet has two file drawers and is full of hanging files), so I needed a place to put the little things us girls keep bedside. I started with an open basket, but for some reason it got very dusty, so I switched to a covered box.

This little box holds my glasses. Since I discovered buying cheap eyeglasses on the Internet, I now have four pairs. Keeping them in their hard plastic cases in the drawer took up too much room. I know, I have too many glasses. But I don’t wear much jewelry so this is my way of adding a little variety to my daily look.

I found this fake leather box with multiple compartments at Ross about a year ago. It works great on the dashboard to hold sunglasses, chapstick, pens, and two-way radios. It sits on a piece of non-skid matting and has never budged an inch. As soon as I started using it, I was sorry I didn’t buy the other one they had at the store.

A year later, at a different Ross, I found another one and put it to use to hold the 57 different remotes needed for our entertainment system.

This basket holds miscellaneous stuff. Because it is right in the middle of the coach, more gets added to it all the time. I think I need a bigger basket, or maybe a box with a lid; It’s starting to look messy to me.

This stainless steel colander serves a double purpose. It holds food items that we use often or that need air circulation, such as bananas, tomatoes and onions. And obviously, it can be used to drain pasta, wash fruit and for other colander-y purposes. I found this cute one with pineapple-shaped holes, put a little non-skid matting underneath, and it has worked great to keep miscellaneous kitchen stuff under control.

This little box holds sandwich baggies on the dashboard. We use the bags to pick up after Opal does her “business.” Small dogs only need small bags. We started out just keeping the original cardboard box on the dash, but it looked pretty tacky. Having the bags right by the door was a good reminder to grab a few before each walk, so moving the box upstairs out of sight didn’t make sense. Having a pretty box instead makes this necessity a little more pleasant.


  1. Sean and Louise, I really like both of your writing styles because i am a ex fleet manager I enjoy the repairs and maint section which sean does so well, sort of the click and clack of the bus world. Also, Louise, your new format is refreshing and a great service to all of us newbies who want to embrace this lifestyle. Keep it up you're doing great!! Steve and Carol escapees class of 08

  2. Great containerizing!

    Thanks for joining in on my basket carnival!

  3. Love the baskets you use :)


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