RV Life and the Challenge of Shoes

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I
recently saw a t-shirt that made me smile. It said, “Sometimes I do such a big
eye roll that I see my own brain.” You might have had a similar response when
you read the title of this post. Really? RV life and shoes? If you thought that,
then you’ll be especially surprised to learn that discussions about RV life and
shoes is one I’ve had multiple times with other RVers. Should you take them off
before getting in? Do you leave them at the door? And, most of all, how do you
find a perfect place for them. The latter problem is real. The problem is, like
so many others, a problem of space.

I want start with a few tips about RV life and shoes, then move on to share a few creative ways to deal with where to put shoes. These are mostly ideas I’ve gotten from others and not ones I’ve tried out myself. But hopefully they will get your creative juices flowing, help you to think outside the box so you find the perfect place for shoes in your own small space.

Tips for RV Life and Shoes

Tip #1: Before starting RV life, downsize, downsize, downsize. The greatest tips in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you simply have too many shoes for RV life. This means getting down to the bare minimum and being realistic about what you’ll need.

Most people allow four to six pair of shoes per person. Even that sounds like a lot but I count everything including slippers and slip-ons for fast dog walks or a run to the laundry room. Add a couple pair of sneakers and sandals. And you’re done.

I have four pair inside my rig—slippers, Crocs, flip flops and a pair of my favorite brand (Brooks Ariel) of sneakers. However, in all fairness, I must add that these are not my only shoes in RV life. I have extra sneakers still in their boxes in my van as I stocked up before hitting the road, since I knew I might have trouble justifying $150 sneakers once on the road, on a budget. I bought enough to last for several years, switching them out every six to twelve months depending on usage. In the van, I also have a pair of hiking boots, a pair of rain boots and a storage bin of sandals.

Tip #2: Do everything you can to not drag in dirt, leaves, sand, etc. on the bottom or your shoes into the rig. Obviously, this really isn’t about the shoes themselves and much more about keeping the rig clean. But you’d be surprised how annoyed you can get at your own shoes when you are constantly cleaning up behind them. However, if you have pets, taking your shoes off when entering is for naught because those scalawags will manage to drag in everything on their little paws.

Even
so, here are a few ideas on that topic you can try:

  • Carpet your RV’s steps so you can wipe your feet on the way in. Don’t have carpet on your RV steps? I just happened to have written a post on the subject. It was my first DIY RV project.
  • I know many RVers who leave a boot scrapper outside their RV front door. It’s the much tougher, more serious version of carpet. And every time I see one, I’m transported back to the 200-year-old boot scrapper I saw (and couldn’t figure out what it was until I read the information plaque) at the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s estate in Tennessee.

Creative Solutions for Shoes Storage

In my tiny trailer, when you go in the door it’s almost like a mini-hallway. And, by that, I mean there is no open space upon entry. Walls are on both sides. You might remember the photo of my entryway from the post on finding a place for the kitty litter box since that’s where the kitty box lived for a long time.

However, that isn’t the case with most rigs. Many open into the living room. Therefore, many people choose to place something inside the door for shoes. I’ve seen small shoe racks or shoe stations, just like you’d have in your house. I’ve also seen RVers use a box or a bin (either plastic or collapsible fabric) where you just toss the shoes in.

One double-duty version of this is a padded footstool with storage because it gives you a place to sit while removing your shoes and then the top opens and you put the shoes inside. Triple duty if you want to drag it over to your living area and use it for a footstool. In RV life, double and triple duty items are awesome.

Clear plastic hanging shoe rack on the inside of a small white closet door.
You can see it was cut to fit. Plastic is easier to but than the fabric ones if the plastic is thin. You can also see shoes and other items on the inside of this closet door.

Another carry-over from sticks-and-bricks is the hanging shoe rack. In houses, I’ve seen people use both the metal and the fabric ones. But in RV life, I’ve only seen the fabric ones. If I were to guess the reason, I’d say that the fabric ones are less likely to scratch and cause damage during travel. Even in a tiny rig like my Oliver, I’ve seen many who employ this option, hanging the shoe rack on the inside of the closet door.

Bonus Tip

So, you know the hanging shoe racks are made up of individual pockets?One shoe per pocket. For some sandals and flip-flops, you can get both shoes in a single pocket. Or a pair of child’s shoes also fits in a single pocket. But—here’s the tip—if you have extra pockets, once you’ve secured all your shoes, make use of them. They would be perfect to hold dog poop bags, cleaning supplies or other items you might need when heading out like mittens, hats, scarves.

More Creative Shoe Storage Solutions

I met someone who came up with a super creative way to get her shoes off the floor. This one I copied. It can be done anywhere—low or high. In essence, you secure the shoes to the wall.

Two white hooks on the white wall, about 8 inches apart. They are connected by a mini bundee cord.
I didn’t realize until I took the photo that my hooks aren’t straight. Oh well. This is the set up before the shoes are tucked under the bungee.

Attach two hooks the width of a pair of shoes. Put the shoes against the wall, heal-side at the top. Secure with a mini bungee cord. Super easy DIY project. And if you use the Command hooks, it’s also super easy to move whenever you want a change.

A
variation on this idea is that you could simply use hooks. Though if the hook
is shallow (and most are), the shoe would have a tough time remaining flat
against the wall. But, like I said at the beginning, this post is intended to
offer ideas as a jumping off place for finding your own creative solution. It
might take some experimentation with different ideas to find the right one for
you.

Sneakers hooked on to a white wall.
Shoes off the floor but still easily accessible. Just remove the bungee holding them in place.

The
last idea I want to share is probably more about shoe storage and perhaps not
ideal for the shoes you wear every day. So, you know how all RV beds sit on a
platform of some sort? That means you have another flat vertical space.

Now, if you have a bed that butts against three RV walls, then you might only have one flat space on the platform. Even if you can get to three sides of your bed, some platforms have built-in drawers. If those are regularly accessed, it probably would not work to use the fronts for shoe storage. But it might.

In my twin bed space, I have 12 inches of vertical flat space that support the mattress above and runs 52 inches long. Normally, this is space none of us would give a second thought to. But at the Oliver Owners Trailer Rally, the Ladybugs (two sisters who travel together and whose rig is decorated with a lady bug theme, so we all called them the Ladybugs though their names are Robin and Susan) came up with a super creative and out of the way place for shoes.

White and black bed spread with a row of shoes in pockets underneath, against the platform of the RV bed.
This is an Oliver bed. You can see a fantastic use of the vertical space that would otherwise go unused. Very creative.

They used that vertical space and hung a single row of hanging pockets. I thought the idea brilliant and the photo is of their rig.

It’s not something I can replicate, at least not right now, as I have some storage bins in front of the beds that serve as steps for the cat to get up. And Solstice too, when I still had her. The pets are too old to get up without steps.

What
Else?

Any
other creative ideas for shoe storage? Or tips about shoes and RVs in
general?  In tiny spaces, you definitely
have to get creative when coming up with storage solutions. Would love to hear
your thoughts.

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