Decluttering the Kitchen: Out of the Way Sponges

A chronic problem was where to put our kitchen cleaning sponges in our Class B? Left on the counter, they tumble into the aisle when moving. Left in the sink they are in the way and get wet (and dirty) when washing hands. Tucked away, you can't find them precisely when you need them. We found individual sponge holders at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They work OK for the sink at home, but not in our camper. The solution: make a sponge holder ourselves.

Our hardware store stocks aluminum strip 1/2″ wide, and we already has a pop-rivet tool and an assortment of different size pop-rivets. It is easy to bend the thin aluminum strip over a board held in a vise. You can cut it with sheet metal shears or a hacksaw. The cut edges can be smoothed with a file. How big should the sponge holder be? We use new yellow sponges for dish washing. After a time, that sponge is relegated to table and counter cleaning. Finally the same sponge is assigned to cleaning floor spills. So a three-wide sponge holder for the back of the kitchen sink seemed to be the answer.

Sponge Holder closeup - Decluttering the kitchen We came up with the design shown in the photo, and in detail in the second photo. The compartments are sized for the widest new sponge even though they shrink after use. There are 6 vertical members bent in a U-shape, and 3 horizontal members. Members are drilled and fastened together with 1/8″ pop rivets. The two end vertical members are longer and bent into a hook at the top to fit over a window barrier for mounting. Spacing between front and back members is provided by 4 stainless steel bolts with nuts and washers on the back side. Obviously, you will need to adapt your design to mount where it will be handiest in your RV.

Empty Sponge HolderSince we have a labeling machine, we labeled each compartment: DISH, TABLE, FLOOR. That way we cycle new sponges from right to left as they age. Our kitchen is on the left side of our RV; if yours is on the right side, arrange the 3 compartments to suit your use.

While the sponge holder looks complicated, it is not. Try making a cardboard mockup if you're uncertain. Here are the tools needed to make a sponge holder like the one shown. Sheet metal shears or hacksaw, file, pop rivet tool, 1/8″ or 3/16″ rivets, electric drill, and drill bit to fit the rivets you select. Materials needed: Three pc.1/2″ aluminum strip 3 feet long (or one 6-feet + one 3-feet), 18 1/8″ or 3/16″ pop rivets, 4 stainless steel 1-1/2″ bolts with washers and nuts. Optional: labeling machine. This method of construction will let you build all sorts of things, such as magazine racks, door racks, and TV remote control holders.