When our family started RVing, I didn’t know how things would shift inside our RV while we were moving down the road. It took time to learn the best way to secure items in all the rooms of our 5th wheel.
Now that we’ve been living in our RV for almost 10 months, and have moved locations every week, I’ve become a pro at securing items on travel days. I’d love to share what I’ve learned to help you keep your things safe and avoid messes in your RV while driving.
Tips for keeping items secure while your RV is in motion include:
- Use nails or screws for wall items
- Try velcro strips or 3M Command strips
- Install hooks
- Clear off your counters
- Check latches on cabinets and drawers
- Bungee cords are your friend
- Line shelves with non-slip mats
- Store items in plastic containers
- Don’t forget the refrigerator
- Organize your closet space
- Hang over-the-door shoe holders
- Mount bedside items
- Pack medicine cabinets tightly
- Be creative with storage solutions
Let’s go through the RV room by room, explaining in more detail all of the tips for securing your things in each area.
Making Sure Things Stay on Your RV Walls
I decided to cover the walls first since this affects the entire RV. Even if you are not living in your RV full-time, chances are that you will still find yourself wanting to hang either storage or decor on your RV interior walls.
There are many different products out there for you to choose from when it comes to securing your wall hangings during RV travel.
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to use nails or screws
I was a little hesitant at first to nail or screw hardware into our RV wall. However, if you use caution, it can be the most effective way to hold a wall hanging in place. We have successfully secured message boards, artwork, and organizers onto our RV walls with basic screws.
Use shorter length screws/nails
Your RV wall is unlike a wall in a regular house. Usually, there is not much behind the aluminum wall for a nail or screw to latch into. A shorter length screw or nail will be sufficient in most cases.
Avoid metal frame (studs) and wiring inside walls
In some cases, there are metal studs that you need to avoid. Use your stud-finder or the old-fashioned “tap on the wall” method to avoid these. Wires that lead to electrical outlets or switches shouldn’t be a problem as long as you are making your hole away from these areas.
Tip #2: Use velcro strips
If you aren’t ready to drill a hole into your wall, adhesive velcro strips might do the trick. This is particularly true if the item you want to hang is lighter, like a canvas print or lighter picture frame. The only downside of a traditional velcro strip is that it may leave residue behind on the wall after you remove it.
Tip #3: Try 3M Command strips
3M Command strips and hooks are very popular for hanging items in RVs. We have used them much in the same way as we’ve used velcro strips.
The benefit to the 3M Command brand is that they are supposed to be easy to remove when you want to take them down and leave no residue. I also like that there is a suggested weight on the packaging so you can calculate how much weight they should be able to support.
Tip #4: Install hooks for hanging items
You can find hooks to screw into the wall or adhesive hooks. Hooks are a great way to hang things up and secure them while you’re traveling.
Tip #5: Double up for heavier wall items
Don’t be shy to use more than one of these wall products at a time, especially if you’re hanging a heavier object. We have used both screws and velcro tape together for a heavier message board we recently hung on our RV wall. It can’t hurt to secure items in more than one way!
In the RV kitchen
The kitchen is a really important area to secure things since there are lots of either breakable or spill-able items in this room.
Tip #6: Clear off your counters
Some things can stay on counters while traveling, but heavy, tall or glass items should always be secured. If you don’t have space inside a cabinet or drawer for counter items, there are some products you can use to “mount” an item onto your countertop to secure it.
Mounting putty, such as Quake Hold Museum Putty, is supposed to hold up to 40 pounds in case of an earthquake. This sounds like a good product to secure items in a moving RV to me! Anti-slip pads made of rubber or silicone can also be purchased at camping stores for the purpose of securing items on a countertop.
Tip #7: Opt for plastic containers over glass ones
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s just say that a plastic container that crashes to the ground is an easier mess to clean up than a glass container.
Tip #8: Invest in magnetic knife holder
We have met many RVers who use a magnetic knife bar to store knives on a wall in their kitchen. It’s smart vertical storage, plus they’ve never had a problem with knives falling while moving the RV.
Tip #9: Check latches on cabinets and drawers
If your rig is like ours, those little latches on our cabinets routinely come loose. More than once we’ve had cabinet latch failure while driving and found a mess on the floor when we opened the RV. Give a little pull on your handles before taking off, and if a latch is loose, tighten the screw on it right then.
Tip #10: Bungee cords are your friend
Bungee cords come in all shapes and sizes, so use this to your advantage.
Buy a package of screw-in hook eyes and attach them to an immovable object, such as the inside of your cabinet. Then connect a bungee cord to keep items in place. I have also seen people use tension rods inside cabinets this way. Bungee cords are not only limited to use in the kitchen, but they are also helpful to have around in every room of the RV!
Tip #11: Line your shelves with non-slip mats
This is recommended in the kitchen, bathroom, and closets. Anti-slip mats keep items from toppling over while the RV is in motion. It doesn’t secure them like mounting putty, but in a cabinet, with other things surrounding them, it will minimize their movement.
Tip #12: Store pantry items inside plastic containers
Storage containers also minimize the movement of pantry items inside your cabinets. It something does topple over, the mess will be much easier to clean contained inside of one plastic box or basket.
Tip #13: Don’t forget the refrigerator
We assume that our RV refrigerator keeps food items secure during transit, but that isn’t always the case. I have opened up my refrigerator upon parking our RV, and had things fall out on me. Restrainer bars can be purchased for the purpose of keeping food items in place. RVers tend to like the Camco brand.
Packing your refrigerator tightly and using door storage for taller items can also help movement while in transit. If you have a problem with the refrigerator door itself coming open while you are moving down the road, you can install a latch on the outside handles to keep the doors closed until you’ve stopped.
Read more: How to pack your RV fridge the right way
In the bedroom
Many of the products we’ve already talked about for the walls and also for cabinet space will be useful for securing items in your bedroom.
Tip #14: Organize your closet space
The more defined you can make your closet space, the more your clothes, shoes and other items will stay in their space. Use plastic containers inside your closets for linens, clothing, and office/desk supplies. Clothing on hangers usually stays in place while driving too.
Tip #15: Store shoes over the door
Hanging over-the-door shoe pockets work great for storing shoes and so much more!
This type of storage is secure while traveling since the pockets stay in place on the door. You can also use command hooks to hang shoe and accessory pockets on walls in the bedroom as well.
Tip #16: Consider mounting beside items
If you have lighter items on your nightstand that you don’t want to put away every time you move your RV, consider using mounting putty to secure them down. Many people use storage containers for books, magazines, remotes, etc. that they want right next to their bed. Look for ways you can mount these containers on the side of your bed or nightstand to keep them securely in place.
In the bathroom
Tip #17: Pack the medicine cabinet tightly
In addition to lining your medicine cabinet with anti-slip grip mats, we suggest packing your medicine cabinet tightly. Any extra space that is not filled in is space for your bathroom items to topple over. One suggestion is to roll up smaller towels to fill in those gaps.
Tip #18: Be creative with your shower space
In addition to your bath items that regularly stay in your shower (soap, shampoo, razor, etc.) consider using your shower space to contain other items that may move around while the RV is in motion. Our family puts our laundry basket inside our shower on travel days. Our shower has a fastener on the outside, so we know whatever we put in there is not going anywhere. Thinking outside the box can lead to some creative uses of space.
Tip #19: Put things in the sink
This is kind of like the shower idea, but for smaller items. We always store our hand soap bottle in the sink when we travel. It contains the soap, so it doesn’t end up on the floor. And if some soap accidentally spills out, it’s easy to clean up.
Our kitchen sink is larger, and also gets used as a place to safely store items like our teapot, coffee press, etc. that we often have out on our kitchen counter.
In the living room
Tip #20: Strap down larger items
If you have a TV that was not pre-installed with your RV, or mounted in another secure way, you may want to strap it down when you move. This could work for other larger appliances or electronics, such as a computer, printer, stereo, etc. We had a dehumidifier with wheels that we had to strap down when we moved.
Use a nylon strap with a buckle (sometimes called a camping strap) to anchor the item to a piece of furniture that is bolted down to the RV floor, like the dinette booth. If you have more than one heavy item to secure, consider distributing the weight evenly across the RV.
Tip #21: Secure the windows
We personally haven’t had our windows open while we’re driving, but I can imagine this could be a big problem if they did! If your window locks are not tight, you can slide a small dowel into the track of the window to prevent it from sliding open.
These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about how to secure your items. The more you travel in your RV, I’m sure you’ll find your own solutions in addition to those I’ve named. I’d love to hear what other ideas you come up with to keep your RV items secure while traveling!