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Reading Time: 5min 17sec
Storage space is one of the hardest topics for van lifers to figure out. It doesn’t matter what kind of van that you want to build, if you want to have a lot of storage space, you’ll need to be willing to give something up. For me, I was willing to give up a large kitchen area and sleeping arrangements since it meant I was able to add the desk space and the gaming computer like I wanted to.
Now that I have all the important features added to the van, I need to make way for storage space. This is a task that I actually already started to tackle a little bit in the creation of my bed frame. The bed frame not only houses the batteries and electrical boxes for my whole van, but it has storage cubes underneath it so I can store my clothes and other kinds of valuables and daily items. That’s the place where I will most likely store my handheld devices, books, change of clothes and other stuff that I’ll use on a daily basis.
The storage units that I’ll be talking about today have to do with items that I most likely won’t need to use everyday but need to have on me just in case or for weekly uses. This storage space will consist of overhead storage bins and containers that I’ll secure to the roof. Before I get into all the little details, let’s first break it down a little more.
Step #1: What I need to store
The stuff that I am planning on storing are things such as clothes, shoes, electronics, backups of computer parts, outdoor items and a long list of small items that I am bound to lose while I’m out on my journey. The whole point of having so much storage space is because you most likely have a lot of things that you probably won’t be able to account for when you first think of the space you have to fill.
For example, after running through my list of necessities to bring with me, I know that I need to bring a spare space heater, cleaning products for my hair, body and teeth, extra food and water, the various kinds of tools I’ll need to fix the van and the electronics on board as well as some survival equipment for emergencies. This can usually mean a survival kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, a knife and a way to call for help like with a radio.
I’ll also need to prepare for any outside activities that I may want to partake in. Since I’m more geared up for the tech lifestyle, I won’t be doing all that much outdoorsy kinds of stuff. However, I will want to take some walks around new areas, go on a few hikes and generally just explore and see what’s out there. This means that I’ll need to bring things like bug spray, hiking boots, a tent and a bunch of camping supplies.
Step #2: Where will I store it?
Where I’m going to store it depends entirely on what it is that I’m going to want to store. First, lets recap some of the things that you may already know I’m going to store and where the things I’ll be using daily such as soaps, shampoos, clothes and shoes will be inside the cabin, most likely in the cubicle cubbies that I have placed under my bed space. That’s the space that I’ve been saying for a while that I will make for small everyday things.
If I’m going to be talking about the more outdoorsy items, such as tents and sleeping bags, then I’ll try and store those items in containers that can attach to your roof. Of course, I’ll have to look into either getting a very small one or position it in a way that won’t interfere with the solar panels that I will have mounted into place on my rooftops.
The other ways I’ll be storing things will be by creating some cabinets along the inside of my van. This means I’ll need to get some wood and get to cutting, as I want to be able to store a whole lot of my items inside my van along the walls above all of my appliances. I want to keep it organized as much as I can too. For the extra shower items, I’ll store them above the shower. Extra toiletries will go above the toilet. Obviously then this means that extra computer items go above the computer and extra bedding above, yes you guessed it, the bed!
There is one other major part of our build, and that’s a nice folding table that will go right next to our gaming station. This table is going to be built over a few different drawers and places to store all manner of things. This is actually a really cool part of the van that I wanted to get right. There would be some hinges near the gourd nearby that I can unfold the table onto and latch it shut, making it a fully functional table for use when eating, working on projects or just when I need a lot of counter space or table room. It can then be unhinged and set back up onto the wall so I can save space around the cabin. The table would be directly behind the driver’s seat, which is where the cool idea for a swiveling driver’s chair would be neat, but I probably won’t end up going through with that idea in this build as I just wouldn’t need it.
Step #3: How to keep it in place
How I’ll go about keeping it all in place is more of a question that I’ve actually answered a few times. The main way i intend on keeping everything down is by storing them away in cabinets that are connected to the vans framing by metal brackets. Of course there are some items that can be continued in a storage bin or cabinet, so how will I keep them down? The simple answer is velcro. You can attach little velcro strips to just about darn near everything. If you want to keep something from flying away or falling off of a shelf, use some velcro!
The cabinets that will hold everything might as well also be closed with velcro, but I would feel safer knowing that the cabinets are locked but have a door like mechanism. This is important to me, as I really don’t want to have things falling on my head as I drive or as I sleep at night in my van! I’m going to be taking some extra precautions so that I can avoid any accident happening on the road that may injure me, destroy parts of my van or cause me to lose precious items!
It’s also important not to pack any one storage container too heavy. There are a lot of reasons why I’m going to try and avoid doing that. For one thing, it can cause extra strain on one part of the suspension system of the van. Of course, that’s only really true if you have a few hundred pounds pressed into one corner of your van. Another reason is that the cabinets are being held up by metal brackets. While they are very strong brackets, they aren’t invincible. If there’s too much weight on them, they can still risk falling over and breaking!
Storage space is still one of the tough parts of van life that will most likely be battling with throughout my journey. No matter how prepared you think you may be for the storage dilemmas, there will surely be a time where you just don’t have the room to put something. it’s important to do your best and avoid this from happening, as you don’t want your van to become a huge space full of clutter.
If you find yourself in a position where the garbage or items lying around your van is piling up and up, you may want to look into renting a storage unit to gff load some of your items. Alternatively, you can also download a few apps that let you sell things you don’t really want anymore. That’s a great way to free up space from the things you really don’t need or want while also helping to gain a bit of extra income! I’m going to try and minimize the amount of items I bring with me from the start. I would only really need to bring the essentials, as I don’t play on doing a whole lot of outdoor activities.