Skip to content

Van Life Storage And Organization Ideas with Examples

  • By Kate Moore
  • on 
  • This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full disclosure.

When living in a space as tiny as a campervan conversion, proper storage is a must! There are a lot of creative ways out there to keep your van life space more organized. We’ve pulled together a collection of ideas to make the most of your storage space and added a few tips as well. 

Space Saving Van Life Storage And Organization Ideas

Fold out shelving in a diy camper van conversion

Pop Up Shelving

Take advantage of pop-up hinges and hidden shelving. If you have to have a large door on a cabinet, think of ways to double its use as a surface. We used these spring loaded hinges on our van to build swing out shelving into our side doors! They are sturdy enough to cut vegetables and cook on – plus they give us a ton of extra table space.

Saving space in a diy camper van conversion build

Organize Into Smaller Boxes Or Bins

One thing we often hear people complain about is items sliding around inside of their large cabinets. By using multiple smaller bins you’re going to reduce the road noise and keep things more organized.

We like using plastic or fabric bins like these because it allows us to take a section of items (like cooking gear) out to the campfire without having to hassle with digging everything out separately.

storage and organization in a #vanlife campervan conversion build

The More Surface Area The Better

Not having enough space to pull things out and set things down is one of the biggest challenges of van life. Expose yourself to a bunch of different van life layouts on Instagram or other websites to come up with ways to build extra table space into your vehicle. Many swivel options, such as the Lagun table frame, can be found in the marine world.

save table space in a diy camper van conversion with these #vanlife storage hacksswivel seats and table in a diy camper van conversion build @sprincentvango |

Tie Items Down

Make use of magnets and bungee cords to keep things tied down. The last thing you want when you’re driving around is a bunch of items sliding back and forth in the vehicle. We like using these magnetic spice racks to keep these items off the counter but within reach.

storing small items in a conversion van

Use The Doors

Even though the doors may be thin, often you can still use them to hang items like travel bags or tools.

adding storage space to a DIY campervan

Extra Seating

Double up on functionality. We combined portable seating with a garbage can. You can also use a hollow seat to hold towels, dirty laundry, or other knick knacks.

Take it a step further and hide a portable toilet beneath a more comfortable chair. Or use you’re 12v refrigerator as a solid surface or extra seating as well.

combining storage space in a camper or RV

Take Advantage Of Tiny Spaces

As you build out your van, you might find there are tight or awkward corners. Don’t let this space go to waste! There are a lot of little jars or other items that will fit perfectly.

adding extra storage space to a DIY campervan conversion

Hidden Desks or Stow-Away Tables

Without a doubt, adding a desk or a table to the inside of a van can be the biggest waste of space. While some digital nomads need an entire mobile office, others can get away with a little less. First, decide if you actually need a table in your van. Portable tables that you can set outside make a great alternative.

Consider installing a telescoping table base that you can drop beneath the bed. Or, take advantage of a swivel seat and hidden desk.

adding extra shelves to a diy camper van buildbuilding a table into a diy camper van or rv @run_away_van | @overlandvanproject

Dirty Item Storage

Muddy boots and shoes are an annoying thing to trip over, especially when it’s raining. This is something we hadn’t even thought about when we left, but it’s certainly something to consider. Bulky, lose items take up a lot of surface area so ideally anything that you plan on tossing around (like dirty laundry) should have an area sectioned off.

storing dirty shoes in a camper van conversion

Slide Out Shelves

Whether inside or outside of the vehicle, having some heavy duty drawer sliders can add a lot of organization space. With the right sliders, you can store bikes in the back or even an entire kitchen set up.

camping storage and organization drawers for a cargo van

There are also pre-built systems designed to fit in the most popular vans. DECKED is a company that makes customizable drawer systems. They can be easily added or removed and fit the most popular cargo van models including: Ford Transit, RAM ProMaster, Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana, Mercedes Sprinter and Nissan NV.

using heavy duty sliders on drawers in a diy sprinter campervan conversion

Utilize The Outside Of The Vehicle For Storage

Not everyone wants to (or needs to) camp stealth. If you’re planning on adventure camping rather than staying in the city, consider taking advantage of the outside of the vehicle for storage.

A roof rack or storage cabinets off the back of the van are a good place to store bulky items like propane tanks, water or spare tires.

storing propane on the outside of a diy camper van conversion sprinter build

Campervan Storage Hacks

One of the main concerns when living in a van is how to make the most of the limited space. After all, you want your van to feel like a home away from home, not a cramped and cluttered mess! Here are some of our favorite tips on how to build a DIY van that maximizes living space:

  1. Use every inch of space – When you’re working with a limited amount of space, it’s important to use every inch wisely. That means utilizing the space under the bed for storage, using the walls for shelving, and even hanging things from the ceiling.
  2. Get creative with storage – There are a lot of creative ways to store things in a van conversion. For example, you can use mason jars for food storage, install shelves above the bed, or use hanging baskets for fruit and vegetables.
  3. Keep things organized – One of the best ways to make the most of a small space is to keep things organized. That means having a place for everything and keeping things tidy. Invest in some good storage containers and label them so you always know where everything is.
  4. Choose furniture that serves multiple purposes – For example, a fold-down dining table can double as a work surface or additional sleeping space.
  5. Built-in storage solutions – Incorporating storage spaces into the design of your key in maximizing living space. Think about incorporating shelves, drawers, and other storage into your design.
  6. Minimalism – Living in a van has a huge amount of benefits to offer, but this sometimes comes with sacrifices. It’s important to note, though, that we have found that some of these sacrifices have helped us to become better, less materialistic people who are much happier with a lot less. Going through each of your belongings and asking yourself if you really need them – if you could do without them for a week or a month, or a year – can help you to whittle down your belongings to only those that truly bring you joy. Living with fewer things brings unique freedom with it that is hard to describe.
  7. Cleaning – Keeping your new home spic and span can make a huge mental difference to how much room it feels like you have around you. For example, if there are week-old crumbs lying around on a cutting board that makes you not want to use it, you might move on to another surface for your cutting needs instead of cleaning it straight away. That space then becomes unusable for other purposes, and before you know it, you become ever more cramped inside your limited space. Quickly cleaning up after yourself and putting things away where they belong directly after use will help to ensure that this dreaded ‘dead space’ doesn’t slowly creep up on you.

Do you have any organization or space saving tips? Drop them in the comments below!

Kate is the lead content creator for and has spent over two years living in a camper van conversion. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I’m planning to buy a ProMaster van and converting it. I’m a veteran and have to drive six hours to the nearest VA hospital. Trying to find a hotel room at a rate I can afford is near impossible. I need to carry a Breathing machine and lots of pillows because of my PTSD, fibromyalgia and Insomnia. A van just makes sense.

  2. Because of breathing problems haven’t slept in a bed in 16 years, use power lift recliner. Where can I find a setup using this. I imagine it could go in back where bed is, without sacrificing space, maybe even gain a little on each side of the chair.

    1. What about incorporating a single-size Craftmatic (or other brand) adjustable bed instead of a recliner? I say so because it might be more flexible as to how it fits, but since I don’t have one I can’t say for sure. It would be even better if you could get something custom-made. I’ll bet some of the most creative van builders could do that.

      1. For example, maybe ask the Humble Road guy if he could do that. Or Jarrod Tocci knows a bunch of van builders. I’ll bet he could refer you to the right person/company.

  3. Hello,

    I read your amazing article, It has a lot of information and easy to understand. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.

  4. I’m planning on converting my 2001 Chevy 3500 cargo van I’m fixing it so I can have a coffee pot a micro oven or convection oven a small tv 32in , planning on solar power and and an outlet to connect to a house I need instructions on how to insulate the van I’m a veteran on social security a set income

    1. Thank you for your service and although I can’t help you with van conversions as I am just looking through ideas I wanted to say thank you. Don’t forget Walmart Parking lots are a great idea to stay too.

    2. There are a lot of YouTube videos on insulating vans. Each person seems to do it a little different. Cheaprvliving has some videos. A lot of the other detailed videos I found were European for some reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *