Living in a van full-time requires some creative problem-solving to organize all your belongings in a small space. With the right storage hacks and innovations, you can maximize every cubic inch of your campervan or cargo van build. This allows you to bring your adventure gear and daily essentials along in an orderly fashion.
We’ll explore dozens of van life storage ideas to help you make the most of your tiny home on wheels. From customized shelving to multi-purpose furniture, you’ll find tips to accommodate your clothing, food, electronics, and sports equipment. We’ll also cover important guidelines for safely securing your stuff while driving down bumpy dirt roads.
With some clever solutions, you can stay organized and clutter-free as you embark on your van life journey. Let’s get started!
Get Creative With Storage Solutions For Your Van Life
Living the van life is an exciting adventure, but it also comes with the challenge of downsizing into a small space. With some clever storage hacks and innovations, you can maximize every inch of your van’s interior. Consider getting creative both vertically and horizontally to accommodate all your belongings and keep them secure.
Use Walls and Ceilings For Extra Storage
Don’t forget about the usable space on your van’s walls and ceilings. Installing customized shelving, cabinets, hooks, and storage cubes can provide plenty of room for clothing, food, books, adventure gear, and electronics. Go vertical with solutions like:
- Hanging baskets or mesh pouches suspended from ceilings to hold items like hats, maps, headlamps, and notebooks. Secure them with hooks and fasteners.
- Wall-mounted cabinets with doors to keep items dust-free and out of sight. Great for clothes, toiletries, dishes, and pantry goods.
- Magnetic strips hold small metal items like knives, tools, and nails. Prevent rattling while driving.
- Adjustable shelving that can be shifted around as needed. Use brackets suited for a van’s curved walls.
- Spice racks, paper towel holders, and utensil caddies to stay organized in the kitchen area.
Multipurpose Furniture Saves Precious Space
Buy or build furniture that serves more than one function, such as:
- Benches with interior storage for clothes, bedding, and water tanks. Also converts into a bed.
- Fold-down tables or pull-out counters for eating, working, and food prep. Stow away when not needed.
- Sink covers that become bonus counter space or cutting boards when the sink is not in use.
- Storage benches that double as extra seating. Hollow out base to hold items.
- Ottomans that open up for hidden storage or even an indoor toilet.
- A chest or trunk at the foot of the bed for clothing, shoes, and adventure gear. Also used for seating.
Under-Vehicle Spaces Offer Hidden Storage
Maximize the space underneath your van’s bed, benches, and seats. Install pull-out drawers, roll-out platforms, or use storage bins and baskets to corral items. Ideal for storing:
- Camping equipment, tools, emergency kits
- Sports gear like bikes, surfboards, kayaks
- Bulkier clothing like jackets and winter wear
- Cases of water and food staples
- Portable camping toilets
- Your vehicle’s spare tire and jack
Use Appropriate Securing Methods
It’s critical to safely secure your belongings while driving a campervan. Use hooks, fasteners, latches, and ties rated for motion:
- Bungee cords, carabiners, and tension rods keep items like jackets and water bottles in place on hooks or shelves.
- Non-slip mats, Velcro, and magnets to keep containers and gear stable on counters and tables.
- Positive latching cabinets stay closed over bumpy roads. Install child locks.
- Drawer slides and roll-out trays that lock in place while in motion. Won’t pull out unexpectedly.
- Netting or cargo barriers across shelves or lofted beds to prevent shifting.
- Suction cups securely hold devices, caddies, and dispensers to walls and windows.
Bed Areas Offer Clever Solutions
Design your van’s bed to pull double-duty for storage using these ideas:
- Under-bed pull-out drawers to neatly organize clothes, shoes, and daily essentials.
- Mattresses that hinge up for accessing built-in compartments underneath.
- Hanging racks and mesh pockets mounted on walls/ceilings beside the bed to hold clothing, toiletries, and electronics.
- The gap between the mattress and the wall is used for upright shoe storage.
- Headboard shelves and nooks to store books, eyeglasses, headphones, and charging cables.
- A bed platform raised above the floor to allow under-bed storage of plastic bins or suitcases.
Stay Organized In Your Van’s Bathroom
Even a small onboard bathroom needs storage. Solutions include:
- Wall-mounted dispensers for soap, lotion, and sanitizer. Keeps containers off counters.
- Hook and shelves inside the shower stall for razors, shampoo, and scrubbers.
- Undersink pull-out baskets for towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.
- A shower caddy with suction cups keeps toiletries handy but out of the way.
- Tension rods or over-door racks add extra shelf space for toiletries.
- Portable toilet contained in sealed bench compartment, under the bed, or shower stall.
Smart Kitchen Storage For Food And Cooking Gear
Cooking in a tiny campervan kitchen requires some clever solutions:
- Slide-out pantry with shelves to access food items without rummaging.
- A magnetic strip or wall-mounted rack for knives, utensils, and tools.
- Vertical storage units make use of the narrow spaces alongside or between cabinets.
- Undersink pull-out baskets for stashing cleaning supplies and spare kitchen towels.
- A sink cover converts to bonus counter space or a cutting board when the sink isn’t in use.
- Collapsible dish basins, plates, and utensils take up minimal space when stored.
Keep Your Living Space Clutter-Free
Creative storage solutions for your campervan’s living area include:
- Cabinets built into the doorway utilize the excess width for hidden storage.
- A shelving unit behind the driver/passenger seat keeps daily items handy.
- Space under benches is used for large water tanks, electrical components, or dirty shoes.
- Bungee cords and hooks on walls securely hold mugs, water bottles, hats, and towels.
- Pockets mounted on seatbacks corral maps, books, phones, and small items.
- A “junk drawer” stash zone in the storage bench or under the bed.
- Hanging shoe organizers on the ceiling or back of cabinet doors for extra pockets.
Garage And Exterior Spaces Offer Storage Options
Take advantage of your campervan’s rear garage area and the exterior:
- A pull-out bike rack, kayak rack, or surfboard rack makes gear accessible without occupying interior space.
- Tall cabinets allow vertical storage of camping chairs, folding tables, and tools up high.
- A rooftop cargo box securely holds adventure equipment. Helps keep weight low.
- Exterior lockable compartments for dirty hiking boots, tools, and generators. Keeps interior clean.
- A hitch-mounted cargo carrier for transporting your generator, water containers, or spare gas can.
- Collapsible camping chairs, tables, and grills store compactly when not used.
Accessories Add Storage And Keep You Organized
Handy van living products include:
- Packing cubes, pouches, and reusable bags for neatly containing clothing, toiletries, and food.
- Storage nets, hammocks, or ceiling racks to hang lightweight items overhead and out of the way.
- Hooks, suction cups, and tension rods are placed strategically to hold towels, water bottles, hats, and keys.
- Magnetic strips, chalkboard sheets, and pegboards provide a place to stick knives, tools, and reminders.
- Stackable storage bins help corral kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom supplies.
- Under-seat organizers, caddies, and pockets to contain small essentials within reach.
With a bit of creativity and the right storage solutions, you can make even the smallest campervan feel organized, tidy, and comfortable. Look for multipurpose furniture, make use of all available nooks, and secure your belongings safely. Happy van life adventuring!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some good ways to store adventure gear like kayaks, bikes, or surfboards in my van?
You have a few options for safely and conveniently storing sports gear outside your living space. Many people build custom pull-out platforms and racks in the “garage” area of vans. You can also install exterior locks and storage compartments. Roof racks are useful too. Storing upright works well for some gear types. Make sure to securely fasten items while driving.
Where should I put items like tools, camping equipment, or outdoor cooking gear that I use frequently?
Look for ways to keep frequently used adventure and camping items readily accessible. Under-bed, bench, or ottoman storage works well for bulky equipment you’ll be taking in and out a lot. Install hooks or overhead storage nets for easy access to hats, headlamps, or grilling tools. Keep a camp kitchen utility box on a shelf near the door so your camping supplies are easy to grab.
How can I add storage space if my van’s walls and ceiling are already fully built out?
Get creative about adding extra organizational solutions without permanently altering your existing build. For example, over-door storage racks hook onto the tops of doors to create more shelving space. You can screw in tension rods with shelving across gaps or in corners. Multi-pocket organizers and hanging shoe holders are useful for walls and seat backs. Even small vertical magnetic strips provide storage for real estate.
What are some ways I can keep canned foods, dry goods, and other food items organized in my van kitchen?
Some good storage solutions for food items include slide-out pantries, vertical racks, hanging baskets, and magnetic strips on your ceiling and walls. You can find stackable storage bins designed for pantries to neatly corral ingredients. Consider an under-counter pull-out spice rack. Mason jars are great for holding bulk dry goods. Label containers clearly so you can find ingredients easily while cooking in your compact kitchen.
How can I securely store delicate items like dishes, glasses, or electronics while driving?
Prevent your breakables from rattling around and getting damaged while driving over uneven terrain. Use non-slip liners or nets to keep dishes and glasses stable on shelves. Positive-latching cabinets with felt inserts are great for dishware storage. Pack electronics and valuables securely in padded compartments. Fasten hooks, tension rods, Velcro straps, or elastic nets across open shelves. Slow down on bumpy roads or take delicate items out for transport.
After learning about all these storage tricks and tips, you should feel equipped to keep your prized van organized and tidy. Remember that every item should have a dedicated place built or bought to contain it while in transit. Get creative with building customized shelving and furniture suited exactly to your van’s unique dimensions.
Staying organized in your tiny home will make day-to-day van living infinitely easier and more enjoyable. You’ll always know where to find clothing, food, tools, and gear when you need them. Safely securing your belongings is also critical for preventing damage and injuries while driving.
We hope these van living storage ideas have sparked some inspiration for your campervan or cargo van build. With some clever solutions, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your limited space. Soon you’ll be hitting the open road in your perfectly organized tiny home!