A bad day camping is better than a good day in the office, right? You bet it is, there’s no denying it! But camping is not a complete holiday from ‘life.’ Cooking, cleaning, washing and all of the other mundane tasks still insist on following you, wherever you may roam.
Along with all of these day-to-day tasks come items and accessories to make the chores easier, but it also means more ‘stuff’ to clutter up your limited real estate. Not to mention the clothing, linen and towels we tend to (over)pack for all possible situations and scenarios.
So here you are, you’ve arrived at your destination, finally get all set up. You pull out the camp chair and sit down with a hot cuppa or cold beverage, ready to put your feet up and relax. Then one of the kids pipe up, “Mum, where’s my jumper?” Or the other half calls out, “Hey darl, where’d you put the BBQ tongs?”
I reckon you can see where I’m going with this. The number one key to staying sane and saving precious relaxation time while travelling and inhabiting such a small space (be it a camper, caravan or motorhome) is ORGANISATION.
Here are 5 tips to help keep you and your family organised while on the road:
Meet the humble ‘hook,’ these little guys are your new best mate. Got nowhere to hang the bath towels? Stick a hook on the wall and hook them. What about the random keys (you’d think there’d be less keys in a tiny ‘home,’ but in fact there seems to be more) – stick some hooks inside a cupboard and hook them. The same applies for belts, jewellery, cloths, belts, hats, cooking utensils… the list goes on.
Sometimes the little plastic hooks just don’t cut it, in which case go for the metal screw-in ones. For added ‘stick’ with the plastic ones, a dab of liquid nails will do the trick, as long as you don’t mind the hooks being permanent. Hooks not only keep things organised, they also stop things from rolling around during travel.
Although you might not have a huge number of storage spaces within your van or camper, you can effectively create more spaces with containers, boxes, baskets, holders and caddys. If all of your clothes need to fit into one draw, slip a small (slimline) box into the draw to house your underwear. This creates an extra space to separate the bigs from the smalls and makes organising your clothes easier.
The same applies in the pantry, rather than jamming all the sauces, packets, tins, jars and biscuits into the one space, create separate, organised spaces by using a few containers or boxes. You can even get simple wire racks to add extra shelves inside cupboards to create an extra level.
Then, the next time you’re looking for something, you’ll know exactly where it is without having to rummage around. To save all the shampoo, soap and conditioner bottles from rolling around in the bathroom, stick a suction caddy to the shower or wall. Got nowhere for the soap to sit during travel? Go to Bunnings and grab a soap dish that can stick or screw permanently to the wall.
Everything must have a home
It’s absolutely essential that every single item in your van or camper has a good, solid home. ‘Home’ can be a box, hook, cupboard, drawer, or even a nook, it really doesn’t matter, just as long as everyone in the family knows where each item lives. Which brings me to the next point – once you’ve finished with an item, put it straight back into its home. This means there’s less to pack up when it’s time to move, plus and things won’t get lost or left behind.
Items must serve more than one purpose
I know, I know, this can’t possibly apply to every single item. Undies can only be undies, right? While this may be true, there are other items that are quite capable of doing not just one, but many different tasks, helping to eliminate unnecessary items from your packing list.
Take this Weber Fry Pan for instance. It serves as a toaster, a fry pan, an oven tray and a hot plate. That’s just one item for four different jobs. Another example, do you really need a fancy Serving Platter for ‘Happy Hour,’ when a chopping board or dinner plate will do the same thing? Before packing each item, ask yourself, “can this item serve more than one purpose?”
Less is More
When we first got our caravan, in all our excitement we proceeded to fill it with ‘stuff.’ It didn’t take us long to fill all of our spaces and then that frustrating game began. You know, the one where you have to move the backpack and the shoe box to get to the camera.
It doesn’t take long to get over it, then you really begin to see the value in packing less stuff. This really ties in with point four – including items that serve more than one purpose, means you don’t need to carry to so much ‘stuff.’
Do you really need two weeks’ worth of clothing when you wear the same three favourite outfits in rotation? No, you don’t. Is it really necessary to have a BBQ, plus the stove top, plus a portable camping cooker? Nope. The stove top and BBQ will tend to all of your cooking needs.
Just remember, when it comes to organising your caravan or camper:
Hook it, Contain it, Home it, Ditch it (less is more).
Because keeping your space sorted is ten times easier with less stuff!
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Check out our parks in Australia, browse stories from our community of travelling contributors, and start planning your next epic Australian road trip or camping adventure. And remember, download the CamperMate app before you go, to find everything you need when you’re on the road.