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Save space in tight quarters

By on April 1, 2015

DEAR SARA: We purchased a new camper this year and have been camping twice with it. Fun! However, we are climbing over our clothes and different items every time we go in it, and I can’t stand the clutter! How do you organize your clothing in limited space? Suitcases don’t seem to make sense to me, but all of our drawers aren’t enough room for all five of us. Our camper isn’t small; it’s a 26-footer. Help! — Vanessa, Montana

DEAR VANESSA: Try plastic totes. Some can fit under or at the end of the bed. Some clothing can be put in backpacks instead of suitcases. Then you can hang the backpacks. Maybe you can add shelves, a set of plastic drawers on wheels or stack totes in the closet to best utilize the space. You can hang shoe organizers on the doors. They can be used for shoes or personal-care items such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, brushes, etc.

DEAR SARA: What veggies do you refrigerate? I got to thinking about this because they say not to refrigerate some veggies, but quite frankly in the South and in a trailer, you either refrigerate or they go bad in days. — qtkitty, e-mail

DEAR QTKITTY: I typically don’t refrigerate tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, potatoes, onions or garlic.

DEAR SARA: My husband and I just found out that we have an opportunity to save $300 a month on rent. Our best friend has a line on a house to rent. It’s a five-bedroom (three downstairs, two upstairs) house in a good neighborhood. He suggested that we move in with him. He would take the main-floor bedrooms, and we could take the upstairs for more privacy. It’s a great plan, and we’d be saving more money, but my only concern is the roommate thing. I’ve had three roommates during my marriage, and they haven’t worked out well. But we didn’t really know any of them, and we all shared a small space, which was tough. Now, with him, we’d be sharing a kitchen and a bathroom, but it’s not as if we don’t know him. He’s at our apartment every day anyway. Do we save $300 a month and get a roommate, or do I stick to my guns when I said I’d never live with another roommate again? — Rachel, Toronto

DEAR RACHEL: I would first look into the cost of the utilities to see whether there is going to be a difference that decreases your $300 forecasted savings. Will it cost you more in gas for driving? Is everyone on the lease? Sort out all the financial aspects such as food, phone, cable and utilities, too. I’d create a plan to be certain that your extra money actually is saved. You should have clear decisions made on housecleaning, laundry, overnight and long-term guests, pets, friends, parties and privacy.

With that said, I wouldn’t do it. Even though you are good friends and see each other daily, it’s still not the same as living full time together. You should stick to your guns and not live with another roommate again. You vowed that for a reason.


photo by Christopher Schmidt


  1. kathy hodges

    4/4/2015 at 10:23 pm

    I like the answer about the plastic totes You can get one for each person and they can even be left outside and slid up under the camper. They will keep the things inside clean, dry and bug free.

    • Rich

      9/29/2016 at 11:45 am

      Totes are great but they may not be the best answer. I have a 37 foot travel trailer (upgrade from a 24 footer) and we have 8 kids so I totally understand the space issue. I have found that duffel bags work best and roll the clothes dont fold them. i know it sounds stupid but I travel a lot and it really helps. For more tips visit travel trailer tips on Facebook or travel trailer

  2. Kristin

    4/6/2015 at 3:13 pm

    Rachel- Don’t do it! Listen to Judge Judy Scheindlin’s opinion on room-mates: “I’d live in a CLOSET before I’d get a roommate” she’s right. I did it too- and it is NEVER beneficial. There is one kitchen in this house, correct? how does this “best friend” keep house? will he/she use your kitchen sponge to sop up a greasy pan? will he “accidentally” consume the last slice of bread for his toast? does he slam cupboard doors shut- waking you abruptly at 5:45am? I did the roommate thing- UGH! I still fume with grudges years later. Even a little pat of butter “borrowed” annoys me. Books came up missing- band-aids, the Dawn dish soap that *I* purchased was used up, the list goes on and on. I was furious that my light duty kitchen sponge was used to wash THEIR dishes. I don’t like anyone touching my things- period. Privacy went out the window. There was never an Even-Steven payment arrangement- if you split the electric bill, there will be fights as to who left the living room lights on, etc.

    Do NOT do it! It’s a huge mistake you will forever regret.

  3. Christine Stephens

    5/8/2016 at 3:06 am

    Only would consider it if house is completely set up with two different living areas/kitchens and someone you know well. Like twin home or duplex arrangement may not drive you nuts….Do you share the same values? Will come into play eventually with children, too many fluzzies or personal crisis introduces drama.

    Horribly, it is scary how many wealthy children turn out to be a Single White Female psychopathic and worse family members. Most of the time, poor person ended up victimized and savings from renting was made up paying for attorneys. IF Richy Rich lives well above income he brings in, job doesn’t matter much and just gonna party you to trouble or brokeness — find out Daddy Big Bucks refused to pay all the bills Junior racked up and poor roommate got screwed. Keep this friend out in public but I bet you still find out the guy really is trouble. Have to just lose these people quietly, make a fuss or worry and get ruined.

    Only exception is some cities are just so creepy, especially if you want to live near the formerly-ghetto new party zones, you need to rent out the extra rooms to feel secure. You’ll know what I mean. Can definitely happen to person who is alone and living near the ‘hip’ places. Can just be better to pick up a relationship, but depends on your previous baggage…

  4. Janet

    6/9/2017 at 3:28 pm

    Just don’t do it there is zero saving any money. It always ends up hurt feelings and no one penny saved. The money will go out in other areas, electric bill , extra cost for picking up more trash, extra water used, extra things purchased because he broke something, extra lawn care etc. etc,etc……
    We did it with family and it does not work at all!!!

    Live in a closet first ! At least it would be your closet!

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