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8 Tips for Van Life Storage and Organization

Van storage and organization

From tiny houses to camper vans, there is a growing global interest in making the most out of small spaces. While transforming limited square footage into beautiful and functional interiors can be a challenge, van-lifers everywhere will tell you that the freedom of living with less is absolutely worth it.

Of course, there are some belongings you simply cannot live without. Want to keep these essentials (and a few luxuries) onboard your van without sacrificing that minimalist and functional feeling of the lifestyle? The solution is simple – storage and organization. From the absolute basics to some exciting hacks, keep reading to learn about eight of the most important tips for organizing your camper van.


Van storage and organization
Photography: @storytelleroverland

One of the top tricks for camper van storage is utilizing and working with items that serve multiple purposes. Add a coordinating cushion on top of a trunk for double-duty extra seating/storage or a wall-mounted cutting board that can be placed over the stovetop or sink whenever you need extra surface space for meal prep. Other great multi-purpose options include folding chairs that can be stored in your “garage” portion of your van (usually under the bed) and used for both backcountry camping and lounging at your campground. Have an extra cabinet? Turn it into your closet or add baskets under your bed for shoes and outdoor gear.

With minimal floor space, making good use of all the vertical surfaces in your van is absolutely crucial. Command hooks, velcro, magnetic strips, and hanging storage pouches are a few of the tools you can use to activate your vertical surfaces. From the walls to the sides of cabinets and the back of seats… there is really no vertical space that cannot be turned into additional storage. Store small items on the inside of cabinet doors for easy and quick access and add extendable pouches under cabinets. Just make sure everything has a place and is returned to its designated spot once it’s served its use. The fastest way to make your compact van space feel even smaller is by having clutter.


Van storage and organization

Photography: @storytelleroverland

A lot of space can go wasted in cabinets and drawers that are too tall or deep for your needs. Maximize your storage possibilities by utilizing every inch of these larger spaces with container organization shelving/stands/baskets/etc. A collapsible locker shelf is also a quick way to double the shelf space in tall cabinets. You can then store your gear by type (or type-color if you’re really fancy like the women from the Home Edit), creating a seamless, personalized organization system, specialized for you and your van.

Using rectangular items whenever possible will ensure everything fits together snugly without the wasted space that comes along with circular shapes. To make the most of small kitchen spaces, consider transferring dry pantry items into square plastic containers that are easy to stack and fit neatly next to each other. Another note on pantry items – only keep what you need with you for the duration of your trip. Trips to Costco or Sam’s Club have no place in the van life lifestyle. This will mean more frequent grocery store runs but we assure you, it’s totally worth it.


Photography: @brookewebber

You don’t want things sliding around while you’re driving, so be mindful of how you keep your belongings secured. There are many ways to accomplish this – from bungee cords to velcro, install hooks, line shelves, check latches, and 3M Command strips. One of our go-to tricks is placing tension rods in front of cabinets and the refrigerator so items don’t shift too much during transit or fall out when you open the doors. Speaking of the refrigerator, don’t forget about securing items inside your fridge. Opt for non-breakable jars when purchasing groceries and don’t leave any lids loose while in transit. There are some great options for refrigerator storage bins on Amazon.

Want to make sure you don’t fall victim to being swallowed by your gear while on the road? Keep as much as you can out of eyesight and in its own designated spot to make your van interior feel bigger and more organized. Consider using opaque materials if you have any storage boxes or hanging pouches that will be in constant view and save clear containers for organization inside cabinets and drawers. Just like mom said when growing up, “everything has a place.”


Van storage and organization

Think about what you really need for your lifestyle, and get rid of the rest. You’ve opted for the van life right? Downsizing is part of the gig. You can design unique storage solutions around the things that are most important to you, whether it’s your skis, painting supplies, or the tools to make the perfect cappuccino. Chances are, whatever you bring with you will be utilized nearly daily and anything else that isn’t should probably be donated the Goodwill of the town you’re passing through. The great part about van life is that it’s your experience, your life, your van. There is no specific way to organize your life – create a system that is fluid and works well for your lifestyle. As your experiences on the road change, so too might your hobbies. Continue to evolve with your adventures and create a storage system that makes the most sense for you.

Organization doesn’t have to be boring. Try hanging a few decorative round baskets above your bed for an interesting design element that doubles as storage and a pretty piece of art. Love greenery? Keep small plants secured throughout your van for an added pop of color. Tape postcards and photographs of your travels to your fridge or work in your own art throughout your van… The sky really is the limit when it comes to exciting ways to use and personalize your van space.

Did this guide about your van storage and organization get you inspired about all the possibilities of a traveling home? Browse our collection of top-of-the-line camper vans by clicking here. Our vans are built with efficient, multifunctional layouts that serve as a beautiful foundation to customize, organize, and create the van life of your dreams and the options of style are endless. Check out Rec Van and join the revolution today.