No matter how big an RV you get, if you live in it long enough, eventually you will begin to fill it up with stuff. This has happened to us and our 36′ fifth wheel trailer. When it was new and we first moved in years ago, it was so big that half our cabinets were empty.
Since then, especially after consolidating back into our fifth wheel after living on our sailboat for nearly four years of cruising Mexico, our lives have changed a lot. We have found a new passion — photography — and all that camera gear has wound up taking over our living space.
We began storing lenses in a drawer with dish towels (soft padding) and we had four camera bags that lived on our desk and under our dining room table. Camera bodies were always strewn across the sofa, fanny packs got piled on the desk, and tripods often got stuck on top of the subwoofer under our TV. Tucking everything away for safe passage while driving was a real pain. We needed to get this stuff organized!
Mark had a brilliant idea one morning — replace our dining room chairs with big storage ottoman benches!
We began researching storage benches and ottomans and found the perfect thing from Simpli Home Furnishings. They are made of a nice faux leather, and there are no decorative buttons on the top, so the plush, padded top is very comfortable for sitting on (here’s more info).
The outside dimensions are 36′ long by 18″ high by 18″ deep. The inside dimensions are 33.25″ long by 11.5″ high by 15.5″ deep.
We bought them sight unseen from Amazon and couldn’t be happier. They come with four short legs, with three screws each, which were easy to attach.
Some customers have complained that the screws are too long and coming up through the floor of the box, but the legs simply need to be oriented correctly with the three screw holes aligned with the outside edges of the ottoman.
The legs were attached in just a few minutes using our cordless drill.
The end result is much more comfortable seating at our table and a whole bunch more storage space for our camera gear.
The tricky thing about storage space in an RV is that anything located behind the coach’s rear wheels is going to bounce around a whole lot as you drive down the road. That’s why most RVs don’t have the kitchen in the rear.
Our new storage ottomans sit just slightly forward of the trailer’s axles.
Another tricky thing with storage space in an RV is that in many coaches, like ours, the shelving is very flimsy. We prefer not to put anything heavy into the wall cabinets (except in the kitchen where our cabinets are more sturdily built). But it doesn’t take long to run out of storage space down near the floor.
This new storage space is solid.
We put some throw pillows on our new benches and now we’ve got not only a great place to keep our camera gear organized and a nice, new, clean look to our dining area, but we can kick back after a meal, prop our legs up on the benches and chit chat for a while. It’s fun to sit there together and get a new perspective on our little rolling home and on life!
These benches are ideal for us, but Amazon sells lots of other similar storage ottomans of different sizes and shapes too and you can find all kinds of storage benches for sale at Amazon at this link HERE).
If you find the benches are a little low, one good way to raise them up is with the plastic rug protectors made for furniture legs. We also removed the feet from our table to bring it down a smidge.
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Other Tips for the RV Lifestyle:
- Winter RVing Tips – How to STAY WARM in an RV
- How to Heat an RV in a Blizzard
- RV Tips & Tricks – Some of the things we’ve learned in our RVing Lifestyle
- How to Install a Vent-Free Propane Heater for RV Boondocking
- Travel Photography – Tips, Gear and Resources
- RV Boondocking – Tips for How to Live Off the Grid in an RV
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