Our fulltime RV kitchen is where I spend a lot of my time in our RV. As such, I thought it was a good time to shed some light on what is in our RV kitchen cupboards. I am going to discuss our RV kitchen appliances and food storage, share some RV kitchen tips, show you how my fulltime RV kitchen is organized, and just generally welcome you to my small kitchen! You know Aunt Glady likes to show off her renovated interior, so we have a kitchen tour video below for you too!
Small Kitchen Basics
I believe that the kitchen is the most difficult part of downsizing. It is difficult because it is one of the few areas of your home that you will be expecting to maintain the same amount of functionality, but in a much smaller space. Emptying out the garage and storage areas is pretty easy…you won’t need that stuff now without a house (and, be honest, most of it hasn’t seen the light of day in years anyway)! Minimizing the wardrobe may seem like a task, but again, you won’t need the same functionality on the road that you did in your home…donate those winter and office clothes – tank tops and flip flops are now in order!
Check out our Downsizing 101 Series for help in that area!
As you can see reader, most of the areas of your home naturally minimize as you shift to fulltime RVing. But one area that does not is the kitchen. We still want to be able to create our favorite meals and maintain a healthy diet on the road. But, how can that be in a small kitchen?
Efficiency is the answer to the challenge of a small kitchen. In order to create the same product, with less tools and space, we just need to become more efficient in the kitchen. Limiting our tools to the ones we truly need and keeping them close at hand is a big key.
We also need to be organized. The good news about smaller space is that you don’t have a choice in organization – things will only fit where they belong. Period. But, we do need to be sure that we organize our RV kitchens in such a way that they can travel easily. We do not want to spend a lot of time on travel days re-organizing our cupboards or drawers.
Fulltime RV Kitchen Appliances
I think that the biggest mistake people make with the transition to RVing, is that they feel a need to buy a lot of stuff for the RV lifestyle. I really do not think that is true. There is really no reason to buy extra stuff – the idea here is to take what you have and minimize it for RV living. Resist that temptation.
I began our travels with four appliances – Blender, Food Processor, Hand Mixer, and Crockpot. Now, I only have three – Blender, Hand Mixer and Crockpot. I accidentally dropped the Food Processor bowl, and it cracked. I ordered a replacement, and paid for it, but it still has yet to arrive – been over six months, and I have called multiple times. Still fighting for it, but in the meantime, my food processor is sitting at my sister’s waiting to be made whole again.
I allow that most of you will add a coffee maker to that list. What else has made the cut and now resides on your RV?
The only appliance that I miss is a toaster oven. I don’t like to use a microwave due to the risks involved in microwaving food. So, I really got used to using a toaster oven to reheat leftovers, and I really miss that on the RV. Now, I reheat on the stove (which can dry things out), or I cave and use the dang microwave. I also think a toaster oven would be a good alternative to using the oven. Instead of using your propane, the toaster oven allows you to use the campground electricity that is already included in your rate. Now I am just talking myself in to why I need one! See how quickly that temptation sets in! 🙂
Fulltime RV Kitchen Dishes
I think our dishes are pretty minimal. My advice here is to start minimal, you can always add an item down the road if need be, but make sure you really need it before purchasing it. Or you could purchase things in different parts of the country to remind you of places you have been? Wouldn’t that be fun? I have a plastic cup that I saved from a non-alcoholic mint julep we bought at the iconic Oak Alley Plantation along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge.
I have one baking dish, one cookie sheet, one medium pot, one small pan and one large pan. Every cooked item that comes out of my small kitchen had a meeting with one of those cooking dishes, and the dish won.
Serving dishes are a sad state of affairs on Aunt Glady. I really don’t have any. I go straight from the pot or pan to the plate. We have two plates, which keeps us very efficient. Most of the time, they go from being used, to washed, to used again without even seeing the inside of the drawer! These dishes were random dishes my mother had from different sets over the years. I chose to use items that I would not mind if they broke on the road, but I am happy to report that that has yet to happen.
I do have two small salad plates too, which see some use for snacks occasionally. We do use paper plates at times, usually on travel days to keep the breakfast cleanup minimal. I have set a goal of never using paper plates for lunch or dinner, and I try to stick to that.
For bowls, I have four different soup bowls, and two large mixing bowls. I don’t think that I have ever used both of the mixing bowls at the same time, so one would probably suffice. Since bowls nest together, it is easier to have several of them in the same space.
For glasses, we typically use Mason jars. They are just so functional. I can use them for leftovers, for freezing, with lids, etc. We do have a few regular glasses and some mugs too.
Fulltime RV Kitchen Utensils
I went too minimal in this area when we first hit the road. I literally had two forks and two spoons. Now, I think I have about five each – again, just a mix and match bunch.
For other utensils, I basically allowed myself to fill the drawer with my most commonly used items, and that has worked out just fine.
Fulltime RV Kitchen Food Storage
Reader, you and I have now come to a more complicated issue on the RV…how much food storage space is needed? When I started out, due to our anti-inflammatory diet, I loaded up Aunt Glady with enough food to last us for months.
It was crazy. I just did not know what kind of food would be available to me on the road, or how easy it would be to order things from Amazon. Naturally, in my panic, I hoarded like a Pennsylvania squirrel in October.
I have come to find that it is much easier than I thought it would be to find healthy food on the road. And it is growing easier with each passing month. Even Walmart now carries a lot of organic, gluten-free, dairy-free options. The hoarding squirrel was left in the dust somewhere around El Paso, and she has not returned.
I fill the rest of my kitchen cabinets with food. I also use two cabinets above my desk in our slide. That works out for me, and I am able to store enough to keep us going for quite awhile if needed.
Fulltime RV Kitchen Tips for Take Away
- Don’t make a minimal kitchen complicated. There is no need to buy a bunch of gadgets and appliances to transition to RV living. Allow your kitchen to be minimal and then build from there if you need to. Get on the road first, then make additions.
- Keep full cabinets for travel days. Don’t overfill them, but keep enough items in your cabinets so that things will not be sliding around a lot. This minimizes damage.
- Be efficient. Learn to keep the essentials close. Simplify your cooking style by learning to use what is in your kitchen efficiently.
- Stay Organized. Use your space wisely so that you can keep what you need. Pack your larger items first and then plan what will go on the RV according to what space is left.
- Mix glass with plastic items for better travel. I try to organize my products in a way that intersperses plastic with glass, so that I do not have too much glass banging together.
- Don’t allow RV living to become an excuse for bad eating habits. This is a slippery slope you will want to avoid. Use your kitchen and get accustomed to it, so you won’t be looking for an easy out.
- Trust me, it gets easier with time. The first few weeks, I missed some of the items that did not make the cut for RV living. But, now, I can’t even remember what I missed! (Except for that toaster oven!)
- Keep Perspective. I try to remember that the work I do in the kitchen is an act of love. I prepare food to nourish myself and my husband. Focusing on this aspect helps me to avoid frustration and keeps me motivated. Not feeling like cooking a meal is a struggle for me, so having a motivation is important.
Fulltime RV Kitchen Tour
Are you ready to tour my RV kitchen for yourself? Well, here you go…
When we meet on the road, you can expect something healthy, and hopefully delicious, from my little RV kitchen. And, now I leave you, and I head out to buy a toaster oven.
Leave your RV kitchen musts in the comments below! Can’t wait to find out your thoughts!
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