Updated: Jan 9
As any campervan owner knows, life on the road is an exercise in organization. 300-400 cubic feet – the volume of a medium-sized campervan - might sound like a lot, but in reality it’s the size of a small home bathroom, and one that you also need to fit a bedroom, kitchen, wardrobe, and dining room into as well.
How do you get so much stuff into such a small space? These 20 tips are a great place to start.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to max out their flight luggage allowance for a weekend away, campervan life may not be for you. You need to take a minimalist mindset – one is more than enough for most things (underwear aside.)
2. Switch out the heavy and chunky
Replace your heavy mirror with a reflective vinyl sticker. Trade the thick wooden chopping board for a thin and foldable chopping mat. Choose lighter and/or more compact versions wherever possible.
3. Use square/nestable/stackable kitchenware
Whether pots, pans, cups or bowls, make sure the kitchenware you choose is stackable/nestable, to minimize the space required to store it. Ideally these items will also be square, allowing you to Tetris them into your cupboards.
4. Choose matching, stackable containers
Speaking of Tetris, buy matching storage tubs and containers that stack elegantly on top of and against each other, to ensure you use every square inch of your cupboard space.
5. Put herbs and spices in Tic Tac containers
Tic Tac containers are a great example of this stackable, compactable, Tetris-able storage - they just happen to be the ideal size for all your herbs and spices!
6. Velcro items to walls
Don’t let gravity be a roadblock in your space-saving quest. The walls of your interior are prime space for storage, provided they’re lined with Velcro. Hang up remotes, games, tools, and anything else that can be held by hooks and loops.
7. Get magnetic
You don’t need Velcro for metal items like knives, keys and tools – choose a sleek magnetic strip instead!
8. Store flat stuff under your mattress
Under the mattress isn’t just a great place to hide your money, it’s perfect for any number of other flat items, including paper, towels and spare linen.
9. Choose collapsible
You might be stunned to find out exactly how many items can be designed to collapse. There are the camping essentials like chairs, tables, cups and bowls, but there are also laundry baskets, drying racks, kettles, colanders and even guitars.
10. Use your oven and microwave
When they’re not cooking or heating food, use your oven and microwave to store pantry items like coffee and bread, or kitchenware like chopping boards and toasters.
11. Make use of hooks and eyelets
Dotting hooks and eyelets around your van will give you ample places to hang your hats, towels, keys, sunglasses, and clothes.
12. Choose dual-purpose items
A cupboard door that lowers down to double as a kitchen table. Stemless wine glasses that can double as your everyday cup. A combination jockey wheel and jack. The humble spork. Going dual-purpose will mean that you only need to find room for one item instead of two.
13. Invest in a vacuum sealer
Sure, a vacuum sealer might be another thing you need to find space for, but the space the machine saves will more than make up for the space it takes up. Vacuum seal clothing, towels, linen and anything else that can have the air sucked out of it.
14. Add more shelves inside cupboards
Are you utilizing all the cupboard space you can? If your shelves aren’t positioned close enough together there may be a large amount of wasted space above the items in the cupboard. Add more shelves where you can.
15. Put a lazy susan in the cupboard
Given the tight space that you’ll be working within, it’s somewhat inevitable that certain cupboards will be difficult to access, particularly those hidden in the corners. A lazy susan can help you to make the most of these awkward spaces – simply rotate it around until you can reach what you need.
16. Use the backs of cupboard doors
While we’re standing in front of the cupboards, could you be making better use of the back of their doors? This could be the perfect spot to hang dish towels, a trash can, washcloths or a spice rack.
17. Replace analog with digital
You may already be well on your way to digitizing your entertainment library, but for those who still like to ingest their music and movies in disk form, van life may compel you to make the switch. Book lovers too might need to trade the paper for an ebook equivalent, as hard as that may be.
18. Utilize your ceiling space
It’s time to look up. While headroom is important, are there areas of your van where you can hang things from the ceiling without risking a bump to the noggin? Use ropes or hanging storage to utilize the airspace in your van. Hanging a surfboard from the ceiling could be nothing more than an aesthetic choice.
19. Buy a sink cover
A sink cover instantly transforms your basin into a usable surface. A custom-made wooden model can also add to the interior design of your campervan.
20. Get creative with unused areas
Look in and around your campervan for any sneaky spots or spaces that could be utilized for storage. For example:
Behind or underneath the driver’s seat
In the foot well of the cabin
Inside the rear door
Behind the spare wheel
On the roof
Once you start focusing on these unused areas, you might be surprised at how many you find!
Compacting your life into a few hundred cubic feet isn’t an easy task, but it can actually turn out to be quite fun if you approach it as less of a job and more of a challenge.
And if you’re looking for a bit of help in designing the ideal campervan life, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at Drifter!