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Tiny kitchen in RV

Space-saving Ideas for Tiny Kitchens

Ideas for RVs, apartments, and tiny houses

I’ve been taking some trips in my RV lately, traveling for about a week at a time for Comicons with my husband, a writer. I like traveling! I especially love setting up and organizing a new kitchen with space-saving gadgets. It makes our life on the road easier!

It will make your life easier, too, if you have a small kitchen.

Tiny kitchen in RV

I have some ideas to help you enjoy your small space to the maximum!

Our RV is a forest River Nitro, and one reason we chose this one is the kitchen design. Some RV kitchens have a narrow ‘galley’ kitchen created by the island or peninsula, but we like this open L-shaped footprint for the kitchen cabinets.

To me, the kitchen feels more open this way. The only real disadvantage to this kitchen is the depth of the drawers, which are only 9 ½ deep! I had to improvise because a normal silverware organizer will not fit in my kitchen drawer. I’m sure there are things about your kitchen or apartment that require creative solutions. Read on for some great storage ideas!

But the kitchen in my RV has plenty of storage for food, dishes, pots and pans, etc., as long as you’re willing to get on a stepladder to get to the 2nd shelf.

One way I solved the problem of not being able to reach the back of the cabinet is by adding a large lazy susan. It almost fills the space and allows me to reach three sets of dishes without going on tiptoe. That made it so much more convenient!

The Look Up Principle. A storage idea if you don’t have enough space: whenever this happens look UP to find more space. And by this, I mean: look at your blank walls and even the space above your cabinets. These can be used for seldom-used items like a punch bowl or large vases.

A good general organizing rule-of-thumb is: if you use an item often, it needs to be closer to the hub of action. If you use it infrequently, it can be stored farther away from the action, even in a garage, basement, or attic. Just make sure to label it so you can find it when you need it!

To create a storage system for a kitchen, I always take a look at what I have for cabinets, then figure out a general idea for where to put things. Sometimes that plan is based on the size and shape of the cabinet.

Then I measure each drawer dimensions, including vertical space. I measure each cabinet too. Then I think about what kind of —– I can add to make my space as efficient as possible. To store as much food or kitchen tools as possible.

Either taking a short video or some photos helps with this planning process. Or if you’re really into it, make a sketch of your kitchen and label the drawers and cabinets with the dimensions.

Space-saving Idea 1: Use a lazy Susan for awkward areas

For example, I have a large corner cabinet which is very deep. I can’t reach all the way to the back without climbing on the counter or getting on a stepstool. As I mentioned before, I solved that by adding a large 18-inch lazy Susan, and by putting things in the ‘way’ back that I don’t need to access often (I put some canned food there). By the way, I put bowls, plates, and paper plates on the lazy Susan.

Space-saving Idea 2: Create a shelf

One thing I noticed right away in the camper: there is too much vertical space between the kitchen shelves. And the shelves are not adjustable. My solution for this dilemma is to create a shelf using a wire cabinet shelf. They can hold a surprising amount of weight, and I usually opt for the ones that can stretch to be multiple lengths. Mine stretches from 14 inches to 24 inches long if needed. These are available at organization stores or some big box stores.

Space-saving Idea 3: Maximize counter space

If you like a clear counter, you’re going to have to work hard to get it in a small kitchen. One way I do this: hang stuff up instead of using your ‘prime real estate’ counter space. This is part of the Look Up Principle. When you need more storage, look up.

  • Under-cabinet paper towel holders keep paper towels off counter.
  • Try a ‘hammock’ for bananas, they won’t get bruised in transport! This genius idea was already installed in my former camper. Its just 2 hooks, a dowel with grooves at the end to hold the hammock, and a cute hammock made of string that attaches to the dowel with 2 loops.
  • Place a small catchall basket to containerize the little things. My basket usually holds a sleeve of crackers, flashlight, small tools, and tea bags. This keeps clutter contained and keeps emergency supplies handy should the power go out. This basket has to be regularly unloaded and we are careful not to let the amount of stuff expand and become clutter the kitchen countertop.
  • Use 3M hooks on the wall above the counter for small, light things you use frequently, like potholders.

Think double-decker. I have used two-tiered storage under sinks and on counters before. They come in a few different sizes, and most of them slide in & out. Many of them are intended for the fridge, but would work great on a small kitchen counter (or inside a skinny cabinet). Most of them have a chrome framework and 2 plastic drawers. Some are about the size of a dozen eggs, and other units are bigger. It’s a bonus if you can find some with clear or opaque drawers.

Space-saving Idea 4: Clear boxes

Just ask my kids, I love boxes. I especially love clear boxes because they allow you to see what’s inside. You almost don’t need to label them . . . almost. 😉

I have 2 very thin cabinets that aren’t a very useful size. They’re about 8 inches wide each, and again, the vertical distance between shelves is HUGE. The upper shelf is so tall I can only reach the very front of it on tiptoe.

To solve this storage problem, I use 2 narrow clear open-topped boxes. One on the lower shelf and one on the upper shelf. This enables me to easily grab the clear box from the top shelf, retrieve something I need, and put it back.

Clear boxes are a great idea for just about everything! you almost don’t need a label.

. . . ALMOST!

Safety Tip: Make sure the one on the high shelf contains things that are light enough for you to easily lift above your head. Canned soup is NOT a good idea, in case one falls on your head while you’re tipping the container to lower it!

Helpful Shopping Hint

Many times, Ross or TJ Maxx will have great prices on organizing products. The only downside is they have a lot of ‘orphans,’ so if you want all your organizing products to match, pick a color or theme and buy only those. (I haven’t found matching containers all at once, I end up piecing my collection together over time.)

I opt for clear or white to have a more uniform look. But your style might be retro colors or black and chrome. Pick a style or color that makes you happy!

Conclusion

With small-space living, in a small apartment, tiny house, or RV, it is especially important to have a plan because space is at such a premium. Don’t just throw a bunch of random stuff in a cabinet and expect it to work. Take time to analyze your space and use it intentionally. Your space will seem bigger when you are organized and things are put away. This will keep you from feeling claustrophobic in your own home

You’ll be much happier with the design and more comfortable too!

Yes, you do Have Time for Goals: 5 Ideas to Reach your Vision this year

I do have time for my goals

Yes, you can make ‘thyme’ for your Vision!

Hi everyone, I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Specifically, the VISION I have for this year, and how to make it all happen the way I picture it.

You have some great ideas and plans for 2021 too, and you may be realizing now that we are in mid-February that those goals are taking longer than you thought. At least that’s what I’m running up against.

Not enough TIME is the biggest obstacle that comes between you and your VISION for this year. So many people have told me that finding TIME for goals or working on a new habit is a challenge. Patience and perseverance come into play as well.  These qualities that come in handy when pursuing a long-range vision.

So I’m going to show you, using some concepts from my book’s chapter “Fitting in time for Organizing,” how you can consistently make room in your schedule to achieve those awesome goals and plans you made at the beginning of the year!

It doesn’t matter if your goal is organizing or working on a painting every week, these steps will show you how to make time for goals in your schedule.

Regarding the quality of patience, it helps to remind yourself often that projects and tasks usually take longer than you think.

Kate and Sifu Wing-chun-do martial arts

Remember to chip away at your Vision this year.

Here’s a life lesson I learned from my self-defense teacher, Anthony Morgan, “Sifu”, a multi-level blackbelt and a “grandson” of Bruce Lee. (Bruce Lee trained the master who trained Morgan.) My daughter, Kate, and Sifu are pictured above.

Sifu said when he works on a big goal, he thinks about it this way. He has a small pick-axe necklace that reminds him of this principle. He imagines using the little pick-axe to chip away at his goals.

Why does my martial arts teacher use a small pick instead of a big one? Because he will get exhausted if his pickaxe is too big. So, he patiently chips away at his goals a little at a time and doesn’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the huge-ness of the project. In this way, he has become an expert at self-defense and, as a contractor, has built many houses for clients.

Recipes for success:

I’m gonna just get it out in the open right now.  

The following ideas are the basics which I teach to a time coaching client who has activities he/she would like to make time for. As with anything, knowing the steps is not quite enough. Knowledge is just the first step.

What I mean is, consistently applying these steps on a daily or weekly basis will lead to success in reaching your goals. You need to actually take the steps / do the action, even when you don’t feel like it. That, for me, is always the hardest part in implementing a long-range project.

See my post ‘Is Procrastination holding you back?’  https://efficientspaces.org/procrastination-holding/

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”

~ Jim Rohn

The third recipe for success: be accountable to someone. A friend, a coach, your spouse, a sibling. Without accountability, most people’s efforts fizzle out after a few months.

I rely on the calls with my business coach, and just knowing that I have to report my progress spurs me to action. To gather my courage to call the newspaper or reach out to the head of HR at a big company—these are hard for me, but I know she’s going to ask me, so that pushes me to make the call.

And on the flip side, when I work with time coaching clients, we set aside time each week for their big picture goal. For many of us, it’s usually just a matter of making the time to do a thing. And being consistent about working on it each day or each week. But that is easier said than done, isn’t it?

See my blog ‘You can do Anything for 30 minutes’ here.

Emily is reaching for goals

5 Strategies to make time for your goals

YOU CAN DO IT!

1. State your vision.

What do you want to accomplish or learn? Picture yourself actually achieving this goal. Take several minutes and truly envision what it will be like when you accomplish this amazing thing. Going back to this vision will motivate you to keep chipping away at it when times get tough.

  • Who will you be with? Who was instrumental in helping you achieve this amazing accomplishment?
  • what will people be saying?
  • how will you feel?
  • how will you celebrate?

2. Look at your schedule.

To find a regular time each week that has fewer interruptions, pick a day when you usually get less interruptions or regularly have less going on/ less meetings, less clients and less looming deadlines.

3. Examine your time preferences.

Figure out what time of day is best for you to tackle high-focus or difficult projects. If you work with your preferences, your experience will be much more pleasant.  Also, you’ll fit your new activity into the flow of your day naturally.  (Are you a Lark or an owl? See the Time Preferences Quiz at the end of the blog.) This will help you reach your vision for the year.

4. Work on your goal at a regular time.

I recommend the same time every day or the same day and time every week. Create a new habit that will get you where you want to go!

For example, say your goal is to complete a course on SEO so you can increase your website referrals. Thursdays at 10 am might be your golden hour.

5. Remind yourself.

  1. When working toward a new goal, it is important to remind yourself to do that new thing or add that new habit or practice into your life.

Use your calendar to remind you daily—especially if you are working on a new habit. I cover habits in depth using the cute and predictable Habit Rabbit to illustrate the best way to create a new habit or break an old habit.

Get organized quick by Jenny Morin
Get Organized Quick link: https://www.amazon.com/Get-Organized-Quick-Minutes-Organize-ebook/dp/B01KKY30TS

Or, if your plan is to work on your vision for the year on a weekly basis, set a reminder for that in your phone and your work calendar, then treat it like a doctor’s appointment. You wouldn’t cancel a dentist appointment to go to coffee or, read emails, would you?

Did this article help you? Did the questions cause you to think more deeply about your goal and how you’ll actually realize it? Would you benefit by having a coach keep you accountable to your goal?

To find out if coaching is for you, or to schedule a free time management assessment, please head to my website.

Time to find out what time of day you REALLY do your best work!

Time Preferences Quiz

Identifying your Energy cycles and sources

Write down your answers to the following questions.

  • Mornings are the best time for me to:
  • And the worst time for me to:
  • Afternoons are the best time for me to:
  • And the worst time for me to:

   My best time for focus work:

   My best time for low-focus tasks:

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

Resources for you:

My blog ‘Goals: Aim for the Stars, Writing Goals you will Stick To’:

https://efficientspaces.org/goals-aim-stars/
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