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 our 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 to jumping out of their cube, we built adjustable-height bars. It’s just a bar with velcro on it!
Note: The bars are installed inside the cube so that they can’t fall if an object pushes against it.
We fully detailed the construction process: material, tools, products, pictures, etc.!
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 added more overhead storage on the other side of the van, too, but we didn’t want to feel like we were inside an aircraft cabin.
The doors are gas-spring actuated, which is very slick to use
We divided the storage space so that everything (well almost) fits neatly and doesn’t get shuffled all over the place.
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 in the mesh pouch, but it quickly turned into a forbidden-spaghetti. So we found magnetic “buttons” that attach 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!
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 stashed out of our sight when we don’t need them makes 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 a hassle to stay organized.
We’re no snowbirds: we love chasing and riding the snow! (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 disappears in the closet
The closet divides our living space (warm) from the garage (cold); in winter, we hang a curtain to prevent cold drafts so our living space is more comfortable:
Adding slides to a van conversion allowed us to maximize 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 every day; 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
AND NOW IT’S TIME TO PACK!!
WE BELIEVE THE KEY TO MAXIMIZE 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 YOU CAN 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 OTHERS: CHECK OUT VANLIFEIDEAS ON INSTAGRAM FOR MORE STORAGE IDEAS!
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