Organizing the Class B: Kitchen

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

I find that to be especially true in an RV. It’s the space where we sample new foods. Some we all like and some we do not.  It’s where we cook old favorites and eat them together. It’s where my daughter discovered her love of baking and my son developed his cooking skills.

It’s where we talk about the adventures of the day. What we learned or what surprised us. It’s where we plan our upcoming travels.

A place for conversation. A place for food that nurtures the body and the soul.

When we downsized into the van, I wanted the kitchen to represent our new rig’s heart.

The first thing we did was organize the space.

Dishware

When we moved out ot the 5th wheel I purged many of my dishes.

Bowls Over Plates

I got rid of all of my plates and replaced them with shallow Corelle pasta bowls. I also kept a few of my Corelle cereal bowls. I could not make room for my large Tupperware mixing bowl, but kept a glass mixing bowl. These all nestle together in an upper cabinet along with our coffee mugs and storage containers.

Pots and Pans

I also got rid of a few pans. I kept 2 saucepans and 1 fry pan. We found that the pans are best stored divided. The 2 saucepans share the bottom cupboard with the water pump. The fry pan sits on its side in another cupboard alongside a small cutting board, collapsible colander and collapsible dish pan.

Silverware

A standard silverware tray fits in a drawer to hold our everyday utensils. The other drawer holds my cooking utensils. Mike mounted a magnetic bar alongside the stove for my knives, kitchen shears, and propane lighter.

Blender

We kept our Blendtec blender - once I found a place to store it. I’m hoping to use it more this next month as we change up our eating habits (but that will have to wait until another blog post).

Update - we got rid of the blender. We weren’t using it and only kept it because we had paid so much for it. We realized the amount of fruits and veggies it takes to make a smoothie are tough to store in the van - and then there’s the cleanup mess.

Pantry, drawers and cupboards below.

Pantry, drawers and cupboards below.

Mike flipped the doors on these upper cupboards so they act as shelves when open.

Mike flipped the doors on these upper cupboards so they act as shelves when open.

The right cupboard holds blender, crockpot and coffee supplies. The left holds drygoods like crackers, tortillas, cereal and chips etc.

The right cupboard holds blender, crockpot and coffee supplies. The left holds drygoods like crackers, tortillas, cereal and chips etc.

Our dorm-sized fridge with tiny freezer.

Our dorm-sized fridge with tiny freezer.

Food

We have a few places to store food.

Refrigerator

Sally has a 3-way fridge, but it’s small. I try to keep things organized inside for ease of finding items and for maximum capacity. The condiments are in a plastic container on the middle shelf. Cheeses have their own container on the bottom shelf. The egg carton sits at the back of the top shelf and I can line up small yogurts in front of it.

Mesh Bags

Fresh fruit and veggies are stored in hanging mesh bags. Mike talked about the details in another organizational post.

Pantry

There is a small slide out pantry. It’s shaped to store canned goods. I’ve been able to fit a few things other than canned goods in it. But, it can’t hold a box of pasta or jar of natural peanut butter. So we’ve chosen another cupboard to be food storage.

Spices

I cook with a lot of spices. The differently sized containers filled up a large drawer that I wanted to use for other items.

Mike to the rescue. As is his nature, he researched for a solution. He found square magnetic spice containers that fit closer together than the round tins I’ve seen before. Mike mounted 4 magnetic bars, transfered the spices, labeled the containers, and lined them up on the bars.

Alphabetically, of course.

Cooking Options

Once organized, I looked at my cooking options.

Cooktop

The van came with a 2 burner propane stove and a microwave. I started out cooking meals on the cooktop or making salads. I tested a few new recipes and repeat those that we like. I make simpler meals. And I’ve prepared a few freeze-dried meals (I talk about them here).

Crockpot

I realized that I missed having a crockpot. Chili, Santa Fe Chicken, “Bob”... Meals that my family always enjoyed, especially after a full day of adventuring or working. I found a 2 qt crockpot that fit in my cupboard and holds a decent amount of food.

Grill

I also missed having a grill. The Weber grill we had in our 5th wheel went to my in-laws because we had no room for it in the van. Mike did some research and bought a small Coleman grill and carry case.

We’ve been experimenting with foil packet meals lately, as the cleanup is easy.

Less Than 20 Square Feet

I’ll admit. It’s been a challenge to downsize my kitchen into less than 20 square feet. I’m not sure the original designers ever foresaw people living in this thing fulltime. But one of the reasons we chose this Pleasure-Way over the other Class B motorhomes we looked at is that it had more (and higher-quality) cabinetry inside.

I’m sure we’ll continue to make adjustments to how we use the space and what we cook while using it.

But in the meantime?

A pizza delivery is just a phone call away.

More Class B Organization

Here’s how we organized other areas of the Class B:

 

12 Comments Organizing the Class B: Kitchen

  1. Picture of Linda Hill Linda Hill July 31, 2017

    Very interesting!
    Great ideas!
    We have a 2014 PW Pursuit ~ It is not as small as yours, but it’s only 22’; and we love it. The smaller, the better!!
    I’m retired and camp often near our home in Central FL; hubby still works and joins me on weekends when he can’t take days off during the week. We can’t wait to travel the US when he retires, too.
    I am going to go back and read your other articles!
    Enjoy! Life is always fun in a Pleasure-Way!!

  2. Picture of Stacy Stacy July 31, 2017

    Thank you for this article.  I was feeling discouraged trying to fit my stuff in a 5th wheel so to see you fit in something even smaller encouraged me to keep trying.

  3. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink July 31, 2017

    You can do it Stacy!

    The trick is to think about what your focus will be while traveling. And whittle down everything that doesn’t help you do that.

    With a fifth wheel you’ll be able to be a little less focused, but it’s still helpful to be purposeful about what you bring.

    See this post for a itemized list of what we kept and what we got rid of.

  4. Picture of Eric Eric August 01, 2017

    Very cool to see how a kitchen for those living the #rvlife works.

    This might be how I choose to live in future years in Canada, so it’s very instructive.

  5. Picture of Patty Conley Patty Conley November 26, 2017

    We are in the planning stages and Im super excited. Im stalking everyone that rvs fulltime. Lol The week before turkey day we went to Camper World to look at what was available and to get an idea of the size we would like. I loved the new Class B OMG they were so nice and the room in them was awesome. I know we could do it in one of that size but we have lots of dogs. How many is that Im sure you are asking. Well here it goes 9 I know WTH are we thinking right? Lol well they are small for 1 thing. 8 are Chihuahuas and we have 1 larger terrier. Terror more like it. But they are our children and they have to go to. We have thought of trying to find a couple of them homes before we get out but it may not work out that way so there ypu are. We cant go in a Class B so we are looking for a pull trailer. Not to big as we only have a 6 cylinder SUV. for now so weight will be a big factor in the size. My husband THE TRUCK DRIVIN MAN wants the BIG CLASS A and all its glory. But I shoeed him the BIG CLASS A Price and lets just say that argument went right out da door lol. So we will see. I think if we can ever figure a way to downsize our pup inventory I think we may try the B class but for now we will have to deal with what we can afford and what we can live in without killing each other or a puppy getting squished. Wish us luck and oh by tje way need a travel companion? J.K.  We look forward to meeting everyone when we get under way. Till then Im stalking you and looking for ways to fund the fun grom you all to lol. Happy Holidays and we hope you have a very Merry Christmas. God bless and keep it between the lines. From Florida The Conleys

  6. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink December 11, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your story, Patty.

  7. Picture of Dennis Doyon Dennis Doyon January 30, 2018

    In our ‘03 P-Way Excel (twin beds) we put a 12 Volt Coleman cooler between the beds (with a panic-stop slide bar).  When traveling we plug the cooler into our 12V circuit, but when stopped we rotate one of two square plastic containers (Costco Salsa jar) out of our freezer.  The container just barely fits the tiny freezer, but there’s always one in the cooler and one in the freezer.  Doubles our cool storage space and the jars take up a minimal amount of space in the freezer. 

    Further to the freezer, when freezing our foods in anticipation of travel we freeze “precious” foods we can’t get on the road (primarily fresh-caught seafood like lobster, halibut, shrimp) in plastic bags in containers chosen to fit efficiently in the freezer.  We then remove the frozen bags from the boxes when frozen and stack the bagged food tightly together in the freezer.  Tightly packed like that they last months if necessary.

    Outdoor kitchen:
    Our P-Way has a large exterior storage area just behind the rear wheels, with the normal flip-up door.  We carry a small propane tank in that area, along with a diagonal brace, a heatproof pad and a safety strap.  This allows us to flip the door to a horizontal position, brace it, make it safe with the safety strap, lay the heatproof pad on the now horizontal shelf, put a two-burner camp stove on top and tie the stove into the small tank.  Our awning covers this area, and since we always look for movable picnic tables, we drag the table under the awning to create a covered outdoor kitchen/dining area. 
    Now, we like to cook… it’s a social occasion…so this arrangement suits us fine.  The added plus, of course, is that it keeps the interior free of cooking smells. 
    I imagine we cook 2/3 of dinners this way.  And, we dine under the awning when in regions warm enough, to the point where we have a hang-down light (plugged into the exterior 120V outlet on the van) that is suspended from the awning and down to near table top level, affording low-glare lighting that saves on candles.

    FYI, Yes, we do pay strict attention to the “privacy” orientation of the campsites we choose, with outdoor cooking/dining in mind.  And we avoid commercial CG’s as much as possible, preferring the more-private sites of most national forests and parks, and many state parks.

  8. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink January 31, 2018

    Dennis,

    Sounds like you guys have the food thing down to a science. We’re still newbies at this, but hoping to make things a bit more streamlined as time goes on.

  9. Picture of rob rob February 21, 2018

    what kind of fridge do you have and how is it powered?

    thanks
    rob

  10. Picture of Dennis Doyon Dennis Doyon February 21, 2018

    Rob, if you’re asking me, we have the same size Dometic 3-way (gas, 110V, 12V) that Crissa has pictured in her article.  It’s tiny, and a pain to sort through since it’ on the floor, necessitating frequent on-knees searching.  I’d love a stand-up, but certainly would not get into a larger vehicle simply for a larger fridge.

    Hope this helps.

    Dennis

  11. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink March 12, 2018

    Thanks for answering Rob’s question, Dennis.

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