How to Organize, Add Storage and Improve Life in a Truck Camper

As I said, we have lived in our truck camper for 7 of the last 11 months.  Not all of this time was preplanned.  We did take a trip down the East Coast and across the South for 3 months.  The rest has been providing support to family and living in our mini-apartment (camper) wherever we need to be.

For that reason, we have had lots of time to make some improvements in the livability of the camper.  I will show you some of the things we have done and tell you about others.

We replaced the cushion foam in the dinette.  We found that after a few months of use over the past year, the old foam allowed one to “bottom out” while sitting.  Since we sit in the same area to read, eat, watch TV, use the computer, pay bills, talk, etc., this was a necessity.  I ordered custom cut foam from the Foam Online.  The new foam is MUCH more comfortable!

We also replaced the pleated shade in the dinette with a day/night shade.  Just did it today as a matter of fact.  We ordered the new blind from The Blind Chalet online.  It is a vast improvement.  The Bearded One is somewhat paranoid about folks looking in our windows so the day shade gives us privacy but still allows us to look out and lets light in.  The night shade will give total privacy when our lights are on at night.

Here is the blind with the night shade showing at the top and the day shade at the bottom. You can move them up and down to have all one or the other or lift the whole thing for a clear wiindow. Nifty.

We also found that the large tabletop that came with the camper was too big for us.  It made it difficult to sit down (had to kind of slide around the dinette sofa) and was made for four people.  We took that top off the base and added a square top using the top of a parsons table from Ikea.  It makes it much more comfortable to sit and easy to get up and down.  I added a storage cube with drawers from Target to provide a place to put books, magazines, tissue box, etc. and provide space for drinks when we are using the table top for reading or computing.

Parsons tabletop from IKEA with storage cube from Target. This makes this area much more efficient! The tabletop can still be completely removed to make the whole area a living room couch.

I found  plastic shoe storage at Walgreens while I was waiting for someone to get a shot.  You know, the kind that has a pocket for each shoe and is meant to hang on a closet door?  I cut it up and have used it for several purposes…

Shoe storage (duh) on an unseen wall in the bedroom area.

Supply storage in the shower area of the bathroom.

Odds and ends storage in the dinette/living room…electronic cords, cell phone, pens, medication, chapstick, etc.

And I still have some pockets left…just looking for inspiration!  All for $4!

I added storage for our laptop computer using two towel racks from (you called it!) IKEA.  I had to put spacers behind the mounting brackets to make the space wide enough for the height of the laptop but this works like a charm.  I can easily pull it in and out.  The computer travels without falling over or needing further stowage.  It can remain plugged in at all times.

I store the laptop bottom side out so it can “breathe”.

We added kitchen storage by adding racks for utensils over the stove.

Racks and hooks from IKEA (as is the cutting board that adds work space over the stove or sink as needed.

Shelves were added to the closet next to the stove.  We keep all our clothes in the bedroom area so the hanging bar in this area was a waste of space.  We bought bins with handles at Office Depot.  The bottom parts of the bins hold foodstuffs on the lower shelves.  The tops of the bins act as sliding shelves for the pans on the upper shelves.

The pantry with added shelves and sliding bins and shelves for kitchen items.

We put magnetic strips inside two cupboard doors to hang knives, scissors and tools.  Also from IKEA.

Magnetic racks from IKEA. Just don’t try to hang anything too heavy. We have had a few drops and these cupboards are over our heads while we are sitting at the dinette.

I love to cook so we need lots of spices.  There was an unused area under the refrigerator.  I added a metal sheet (ordered online) in a color to match the cabinets and bought magnetic cans from IKEA.  (Is this an ad for IKEA or what?)

Spices and little stuff (pins, paper clips, boullion cubes, etc.) stored in magnetic boxes under the frig. These things do not shake loose in travel! (I do keep the spices in resealing snack bags inside the cans. I sometimes have two bags in one can if it is a spice I do not use much.

We also added counter space when the pleated blind over the window between the truck cab and the camper failed.  (Who would have thought it would when it is located in the area where two people and two cats clamber in and out of bed…the cats a hundred times a day?)    We added a folding shelf that gives us privacy with the window when it is folded up and counter space when it is out.  I use the counter at times when cooking and as computing area since it is beside my seat.  It also holds the computer when we are watching a streamed show on the computer hooked to the TV.

The shelf, folded over the window. (A stock melamine shelf from Lowes cut to size with folding brackets we ordered online but (we are told) can be purchased at some hardware stores.

The shelf as counter space or computer work space. The window shows beneath.

In the bathroom, we started the first week taking off the bathroom door.  This space is the size of a small closet and has no window or vent.  The vent is just outside the bathroom door.  The shower curtain covers the door.  This makes activities there private but not suffocating!

The shower curtain acting as door instead of the suffocating wooden door that came with the camper. Makes me sweat just to think of being closed in that space with a door on it!

We ordered a teak bath mat for the bottom of the shower area.  It is wonderful!  Lets the water flow through but looks good and feels great underfoot.  The Bearded One oils it once in a while.

The teak mat in the shower area.from Teakworks4u.com.

And then there are the cats.  Their food and water fountain (one of ours demands running water) are on a shelf behind the flatscreen TV.  I wish there was an obtrusive place to keep the litter box but I have not found it.  I just keep it very clean.  We added a screened porch for them though outside a bedroom window.  It is a Kitty Kat Kabana and can be installed easily when we are at a campsite.  The cats go in and out through the window.  They love it.

The Kitty Kat Kabana from inside the camper.

And from the outside.

I think that is all the improvements we have made so far (other than the flat screen TV on a mount that allows it to be rotated to be seen from the dinette and kitchen or the bedroom.)  I am thinking of replacing the vinyl and carpet (why do they put carpet in campers?) with vinyl plank flooring.  But we will see.

Life in a truck camper can be very good!

I better go cook dinner.  Filets and baked potatoes for a feast tonight.

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About Retired woman

retired, dealing with parents recent deaths, wondering what lies ahead with the health of my spouse, overall enjoying each day, love cooking, gardening, travel, Grandsons, family, small town life
This entry was posted in camping, decorating, home, renovation, truck camper and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to How to Organize, Add Storage and Improve Life in a Truck Camper

  1. Mary says:

    Enjoyed your post. You are very creative as I like to think, as am I. We go camping with our horses. We have a 26 foot motorhome that has virtually no counter space. I was perusing for ideas for a foldable shelf. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Lyle says:

    Can you tell me which blinds you bought? I’d like to do the same. Did you have valances to begin with? Did you remove them if you did or could you still use them? I have an older slide in with valances and not sure if they would work with the blinds I want to get.

    • Retired woman says:

      I just checked the website for Blinds Chalet. We bought our shades two years ago and they do not seem to have the same fabrics available so I am not sure which is comparable. Our blinds still work very well. Our camper had valances which we were able to rehang with the blinds installed. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  3. Jody says:

    Could you tell me where you got the metal sheet to mount the spice containers. I have the spice containers but haven’t found what I like to mount them. Your spice containers look great. Thanks, Jody

    • Retired woman says:

      Magpanel from Diamondlifegear.com. Comes in various colors to blend with your decor. Custom sizes and delivered on time. We really like the use of space.

  4. Lindsey M. says:

    Great post! I am a new (to me) camper owner and have been searching for ideas on more storage. The kitty Kabana reminds me of a picture I saw from the 1930s with a baby in a “cage” outside an appartment window. Its been said, back then, they put babies in them to make sure they got fresh air everyday while living in the stuffy appartments! Ha!

  5. Johna779 says:

    Very informative blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing. dcbfdddddkdd

  6. Gael Orr says:

    I really enjoyed your blog. I just got a truck cAmper this spring and I love it. I don’t have cats but I do have 3 dogs. I take one of them.with me and my horses when I camp. Thanks for all The tips.

  7. Darliss Bardwell says:

    We’re going to Alaska this summer and expect some bumpy roads at times. Do the S-hooks keep the utensils in place and stay on the towel racks over bumpy roads?

    • Retired woman says:

      Occasionally, an item will come off the hook but not often. The hanging rack is the most prone to coming off but still not often and nothing is breakable. Just rehang it and move on. Just remember to secure your cabinet doors! We have had the most colorful disaster scenes when we have forgotten to secure the cabinets!

  8. Darliss Bardwell says:

    I re-posted your magnetic panel with spices on my pinterest Trailer Storage. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Darliss Bardwell says:

    We were thinking of using magnetic knife holder to the right of our stove (not over our heads). We’d looked at the Culina Magnetic Knife Holder on Amazon. Do you think knives would bounce off on bumpy roads? It sounds like you may have had some problems with yours.

    • Retired woman says:

      We have been travelling with ours for three years and have never had a knife fall off. I tried hanging some heavier items on it…pliers for example. That did not work. I think your idea would work fine.

  10. Tricia says:

    Great ideas!!! How did you mount your shoe storage?

  11. Gaetane says:

    Good ideas. I too love to take my cat RVing, he loves being with me on the road. Concerning your litter box dilemma, I leave his box in the truck and he travel back and forth through the little window. No smell and no scratching noise in the night. Using a, small car, inner tube between truck and camper provides a tunnel with no escapes.

    • Retired woman says:

      Nice idea on the litterbox! We would have to put in an operable window in the camper to follow suit.

  12. Carol Ann says:

    Hi there, loved all the storage ideas but especially the kitty kabana idea for your furry friends…Where did you buy it?

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