Saturday, November 29, 2014


How do you store dishes in a Class B RV that has almost no storage space?
Not like this!!  I had originally been using an overhead bin to store my Corelle set (Corelle is recommended by RV owners in general because it is light weight, break-resistant, and compact - no, I was not prepared to use plastic or styrofoam) but this was an enormous pain in the rear end.  Every time I needed a dinner plate, I'd basically have to unpack the entire bin because the shelf liner scraps (photo below) intended to keep the dishes from clattering while in transit prevented anything from being pulled out easily.
I knew that the best way to store plates securely would be in a vertical fashion (preferably) with some kind of built-in dividers to prevent rattling on the road, but nothing I could find in the consumer market was small enough for our Airstream Interstate.
Common plate storage products on the market, some recommended for RVs by various forum participants.  All of them are much too large, designed to fit plates that are much thicker than the Corelle, and these are also not in-sync with the Interstate's design aesthetic.    
Here is one solution Pinterested from an Airstream trailer.  Nice built-in, but life is hell when you have to pack shelf liner between all the dishes to stop them from rattling or breaking.  I learned this very early on in our Airstream Interstate ownership.  
Furthermore, I knew that I really wanted to make use of the gaps next to our vehicle's microwave.  In an Interstate, every cubic inch of space counts - I can't sacrifice space to inefficient devices such as those shown above (which are designed to hold too many dishes for a micro-RV anyway).  

And then the solution hit me.
I run a small business, so I am intimately familiar with check files and similar organizational products.  I got this one at Staples office supply store.  Ignore the Command hooks - they were for another project.  
Corelle plates are so thin that they fit neatly between the dividers - the all-important dividers that must be present in order to keep the plates from rattling against each other.  Annoyingly, this file has only 7 slots and I have 8 plates, but I can double up dessert plates in one slot.    

Furthermore, the aesthetic is bang-on - it could not have been better if it had been intentionally designed for this space.  The polyethylene construction of the file looks much like the translucent Airstream sliding doors in the cabinet above.

It does push all the way back - here I have pulled it out a bit just to show the plates inside.  
There are actually two separate check file products that will work in this application.  Here is the other.
This is the shorter version.  This one has 13 pockets, so plenty of space for 8 plates.  I also got this at Staples, in Interstate gray to boot.  With black trim.

These plates are part of a plain Corelle Livingware set, which I got at Walmart    
I cinched its elastic cord around the bottom of it so that it would provide a bit of cushioning for the plates.  

This is what it looks like in place.  In a Class B RV, there is no need to carry more than service for four where dishes are concerned.  If by chance we are joining in some future larger group where more dishes are required, at that point I will supplement with disposables.     
Coincidentally, there is a microwave bracket screw right at the place where the check file fits.   
We took a J-shaped mirror hanging bracket, straightened it out into a right angle, and spray painted it black.  
We then inserted this between the microwave bracket and the existing screw to make a "stopper" that prevents the plate file from sliding out.  Thus far, it has done fine in road-testing.  
I ended up using the larger check file to hold the following:
(1) Collapsible trash can
(2) Dish drying towel
(3) Dish washing cloths
(4) Cutting board
(5) Trivet
(6) Trash bags
It slid into the gap on the opposite side of the microwave.  
If you decide to try something like this and find that you do have the space in your Interstate model, make sure that you don't have any microwave side vents that would be blocked by your check file(s).  I do not, and furthermore, the microwave cavity is still open at both the top and a portion of each side for air circulation.  

Here are all the scraps of anti-rattle shelf liner that I no longer have to put between the plates.  Whoopie!!!  I am finally free of this mess!!!
I wasn't quite to this level of frustration with the pre-check-file plate storage situation, but I was well on my way!  Using these check files has made this storage task much more efficient and less bothersome.  

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