Top Motorhome & Campervan Storage Tips
If you live in a small space, you’ll already know how important storage is for organisation, and sanity! We’ve got loads of creative small motorhome and campervan storage ideas to help keep van life as simple and easy as possible!
Whether you travel in a DIY van conversion, a converted truck, a diddy 6m motorhome or a VW Transporter, van life storage space will be at a premium. Any surface, cupboard, nook, cranny or few spare centimetres has a role to play in how you organise your storage, and provides an opportunity for you to get creative with storage solutions.
Our storage hacks will help you make the most of your tiny house on wheels.
It’s All In the Planning!
Our top campervan storage tip! If you’re a van life beginner or downsizing from a larger motorhome to a small camper, it’s worth taking some time to plan out how you will organise your van and what you actually need to take with you.
When we downsized and sold up, we had to try and fit our whole life into our motorhome. Before we moved in, we made a long list of what we needed. Then we sold a whole load of stuff on ebay, put some into a storage unit, chucked a lot out, and invested in some new stuff a bit more suited to our new life.
All the stuffy work suits and high heels (not to mention about 20 handbags) went, to be replaced with one (gulp, yes one) small city-style rucksack, technical gear (which is amazing because it dries quickly and doesn’t crease), a pair of trainers, flip-flops and walking boots.
This was a big ask for me, but I built a travelling wardrobe based around two key colours – navy and grey – and then everything went together. I didn’t need all those shoes and bags to complete an outfit, hell I didn’t actually need an outfit! Being comfortable and warm were my only needs and they were pretty easy to fulfil.
In the same way that I ruthlessly dismantled my wardrobe, we did the same for everything else. What we sold on ebay funded the stuff we bought.
The whole process really made us consider what we really, truly needed – meaning we started out with the essentials only, making packing and the art of camper storage a whole lot easier.
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Campervan Clothes Storage Ideas
Forget about hanging your clothes, that probably ain’t gonna happen!
Packing Cubes and Clothes Storage Bags
These help make use of difficult spaces – who has underwear that they stack and fold to the top of the over-bed cupboard? I have one small cube each for knickers, bras and socks and they stack neatly on top of each other.
Instead of pulling out a pile of individual items to get to one thing, I just pull out the packing cube that I need. Ditto that for trousers, shorts and t-shirts.
Because we travel full-time, we carry summer and winter gear. To pack away the out of season stuff, we use vacuum storage bags which get stowed under the bench seat – it’s amazing what you can fit into one of these when you remove all the air!
Make sure that everything you pack away is completely dry, or you’ll end up with condensation in your cupboards and mouldy clothes 🙁
Before you buy packing cubes, measure the cupboard where they are going to be used and hunt around for the best sizes, to absolutely make the most use of the available space.
I think shoe storage is one of the hardest areas to crack, especially if one of you has big feet. You just can’t make shoes any smaller than they are!
Hanging storage can work if you’ve got an empty vertical space. Or try using bungee cord or mesh pockets to secure shoes wherever there is a spare bit of wall space.
If you’re storing shoes in a pull-out under-bed box, drawer box or any other small area, try securing them together heel to toe using a heavy duty elastic band or even a hair band.
If you have a garage or external storage box or bin, this is a good place for things like walking shoes or out of season footwear. Just make sure you let shoes dry thoroughly and then store in an airtight box, or you’ll get mould.
If you’re really struggling for space, get a couple of plastic boxes like these, which are straight sided so make the most efficient use of space, and fill with your shoes. When you’re on the move, store under your table in your living space, or even on the bed. Once stationary, just move to the cab floor.
I loved organising our kitchen storage – it spoke to my inner OCD and gave me a lot of satisfaction knowing we had used every bit of space and would travel breakage and rattle free!
You’ll probably have an overhead cupboard in your kitchen space, the underneath of this is perfect for hanging spice jars, hooks for mesh fruit baskets, a kitchen roll holder and pretty much anything else you can think of. Top tip – don’t leave your kitchen roll in situ whilst you drive – it will unravel all over the van!
To hang jars, purchase plastic jars with aluminium screw top lids like these. Secure the lid with a screw in the centre to the underside of the cupboard. Label the jar, fill and screw it into the fixed lid. Job done!
Another great camper storage idea which takes advantage of a kitchen side wall is to fit a rack storage system or pegboard – you can choose from hanging baskets, hooks, magnetic knife racks or shelves and get really creative with literally anything which can hang on a hook. Ikea do a great range of these small space saving systems.
Use heavy duty Command Tape to hang stuff – this one can take a load up to 7.2kg, and it doesn’t leave any marks if you want to remove it! You can also buy hooks with command tape ready to use, another great solution for the tiniest of spaces.
Choose Nesting Equipment
These days, you can buy nested everything – from bowls to saucepans, and utensils to food storage boxes. The best are multi-purpose meaning you get extra value for money and a more lightweight, space saving solution.
Fit a Smart Sink
If you’re planning a campervan conversion, a smart sink would be a great addition. These kitchen sinks have lips inside to hold things like strainer baskets, chopping boards and drainers. This makes the absolute most of your minimal workspace and means you can travel with those things secure in the sink and not taking up drawer space.
If your sink is already fitted, it’s worth looking around for over sink accessories to see what will fit the sink you have, or even getting a chopping board made to measure.
Back of Door Storage
This is a great way to make the most of a tight space in your camper van kitchen. You can get stuff that hangs over the door or baskets to fit on the inside of the door.
Measure carefully before buying to ensure your door can still close once the storage is fitted.
Under bench or bed storage works well for bulkier items, especially if they can be vacuum packed. They are a pain to get to though and once you open the bag, you’ll have to vacuum pack all over again! Use this space only for things you don’t need to access that often.
Van lifers can utilise the back of the van via the double doors for pull outs and slide outs, or even flip up kitchen preparation and cooking areas. It’s easiest to build this into your design than fit retrospectively.
In our new overland truck, we added a couple of heavy duty slides to our low and narrow garage floor, then fixed ply before screwing in flat sided storage boxes – it makes using the awkward space so much easier.
Soft felt boxes work well for smaller spaces and can also be used inside wire baskets which you can mount on a wall. We have these as our bedside storage for iphones and glasses.
If your cab is open to your habitation space, chair arm storage pockets work well if you have swivelling drivers and passenger chairs with arms – they are great for small items like remotes, notepads and devices. You can also maximise your seats by using rear seat organisers – a great way of storing gadgets and small items you need to keep handy.
And if you really, really can’t fit everything in, get rid of the bed and put it on the roof!