10 Neat Storage Ideas For DIY Van Conversion

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Small spaces are fast to clean, but they get messy in the blink of an eye too. Trust us! When living in a van, the key to sanity is organization. Having multiple storage options all over the van is important, so that each thing has its own dedicated place and can be easily put back to where it belongs. In this article, we share 10 storage ideas for DIY van conversion. We hope that helps!

1- Storage Cubes

When designing the layout of our van, we knew we wanted many small storage units so that:

1- each of us has its own personal storage space.
2- each object, or category of objects, has a dedicated place.

We implemented that idea by building the storage cubes on the side of our platform bed. We store our clothes in there; no doors needed, the clothes are not moving a muscle! We also store food in the column close to the kitchen.

Where objects are susceptible of jumping out of their cube, we built adjustable-height bars. It’s just a bar with velcro on it!
Note: The bars is installed inside the cube, so that it can’t fall if an object push against it

Velcro Adjustable Bars Storage Ideas

Build It!

We fully detailed the construction process: material, tools, products, pictures, etc.!

Bed Storage Van Conversion (8)

2- Overhead Storage Bins

We love that our High-Roof Ford Transit has plenty of head room; with about a foot clearance above our heads, we don’t feel cramped at all. That’s a major factor on why we’re so comfortable living full time in our van!

And that high ceiling also has another benefit: it’s a good opportunity to add more storage!

Space above the countertop is occupied by our overhead storage; it would be wasted space otherwise! We could have add more overhead storage on the other side of the van too, but we didn’t want to feel like being inside an aircraft cabin.

The doors are gas-spring actuated, which is very slick to use 🙂

We divided the storage space so that each things (well almost) fits neatly and doesn’t get shuffled all over the place.

Overhead Storage Van Conversion
Storage Ideas Van Conversion Overhead Bin

Build It!

We fully detailed the construction process, it should gets you going!

Overhead Storage Cabinet Camper Van Conversion (20)

3- Mesh Pouch

It’s a simple but effective storage idea. You can add mesh pouches EVERYWHERE! Back of the seat: POUCH-IT! Toilet cabinet: POUCH-IT! Girlfriend’s back: POUCH-IT!

Pouch-It!

Velcro Storage Net-2

Pouch-It!

Velcro Storage Net

Mesh Pouch

mesh-pouch

4- Magnetic Storage for USB Cables

Everything needs a USB cable these days: phones, cameras, GoPro, Drone, GPS, bananas… We first stored our USB cables into the mesh pouch, but it quickly turned into a forbidden-spaghetti. So we found magnetic “buttons” that attaches to the USB cord. You can then hook your cables to the included self-adhesive pedestal (as shown above), but the magnetic button will also attach to any metallic surface! (van metal, screws, fridge, etc). Neat!

5- Hook and Loops (Velcro!)

One more simple, but oddly satisfying storage solution: Velcro! We use it to hold our Verizon JetPack, our thermometer wireless sensor and our toilet’s mesh pouch:

Verizon MiFi Holds with Velcro Van Conversion
Storage-ideas-Temperature-Sensor-Velcro

Temperature & Humidity Station

With wireless sensors

AcuRite-01094M-Temperature-&-Humidity-Station-storage

Internet On The Road

Read our guide on “How To Stay Connected” on the road!

Internet-on-the-road-(Heading-1200px)

6- Quick Fist Clamps

We bought the 8 pieces kit and we’re using them everywhere! They’re perfect to hold heavier stuff without rattle sound, sweeeeet!

Tire-Inflator-(1)

Quick Fist Clamps Kit

quick-fist-amazon-kit

7- Closet

A closet if often overlooked in van layouts. We’re so glad we have one! An organized van is an happy van… so having our coats, shirts and mountain biking gear neatly away from our sight when we don’t need them make us feel more organized (and happy). The point here is that it’s much easier and quicker to hang a coat (or a shirt, whatever) than folding it; so it’s not an hassle to stay organized.

We’re no snowbird: we love chasing the snow and ride! (see our tips and thoughts about living in a van during winter here: Winter Vanlife) The closet is especially useful during winter as we have much more gear to deal with: base layers, mid-layers, shells, pants, casual coats, etc., etc. Once dry, all of this disappear in the closet 🙂

The closet divides our living space (warm) from the garage (cold); in winter we hook a curtain to prevent cold drafts so our living space is more comfortable:

Van-Conversion-Closet-Storage-Idea
Van Conversion Curtain Divider for Cold Draft

Build It!

OK we can’t pretend this one is “fully detailed”, but there are some clue here :)

8- Suspended Shelves Storage

We finished building the van and we realized there was some empty space up above in our “garage”:

Suspended Shelves Storage Van Conversion
Under-Bed-Storage

Build It!

Once again, there are some clues available here :)

9- Slides

Adding slides to a van conversion allows to maximise the storage space, especially where it’s deep. We hate playing Tetris (in real life), so the slides allow us to reach stuff back there without having to remove other things that are in the way. Also, during summer we use our mountain bikes almost everyday; as we said before, any repetitive task should be made as simple as possible! Having the mountain bikes stored on a slide-out tray makes loading/unloading the bike super easy 🙂

Faroutride Garage

Build It!

We fully detailed the construction process, hope that helps!

Camper-Van-Conversion-Slide-Out-Bike-Rack-(Heading-1200px)

10- Hooks

Similarly to the suspended shelves, the hooks allow to occupy storage space up above. It doesn’t seem like much, but having our mountain bike helmets there prevent having to shuffle everything when we need something!

And now it’s time to pack!!

Conclusion

We believe the key to maximise storage space in a van conversion is good planning. You should know pretty much in advance what stuff you’ll be carrying in the van and design storage space accordingly. If you’re a computer-oriented person, making a 3D layout is definitely a good thing; Google SketchUp is free and the learning curve is not too steep.

Before deciding on your layout, get inspiration from other’s: check out VanLifeIdeas on Instagram for more storage ideas!

 
 
 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, read our VanLife Guides, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.

 
 
 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 
 
 

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