Staying organized when traveling alone in a van can be hard enough. Now throw kids into the mix, and the van can become messy and disorganized in a snap.
It's okay to let some things go; keeping everything perfectly in place is a never-ending chore that can spoil your vacation.
Nevertheless, having a handful of effective storage methods can help keep the van somewhat orderly during your trip. Plus, you'll be able to maximize your space, take more items, and quickly locate them when needed!
We know how difficult it is to stay organized when traveling with the entire family - trust us, we've done it hundreds of times - so we've compiled a list of our best campervan storage ideas and organization tips for you!
Van Life Storage Ideas
The key to staying organized is to have storage solutions throughout your van. We'll give you van organization ideas and tips for each part of the van.
Bedding and Clothes Storage
Packing Cubes or Stuff Sacks
Give each person a packing cube or stuff sack to store their clothes. You can even get different colors, so it's easier to tell them apart (or label them!). This way, you can place them in a cabinet without everyone's stuff getting mixed together.
Be sure to bring along a laundry bag to collect everyone's dirty clothes. This will also make it easier for laundry time when you get home!
Place Items You'll Use As a Family in One Bag
If there are clothes or items that you will use at the same time as a whole family, keep these together in one bag or sack. For example, you can put everyone's swim stuff (bathing suits, towels, flip flops, goggles, sunscreen, etc.) in one bag, so it's all together.
Nothing clutters up a van floor more than shoes. Shoe racks are life-changing when you hang them on the van’s rear doors or another place where you have room. Everyone can get a certain number of pockets for their shoes. If you don't fill it up, you can use it to store other small items.
Store Bedding in Duffel Bags or Soft-Sided Containers
If you bring extra bedding (besides what's on your bed), store it in duffel bags or soft-sided containers. We recommend this because plastic containers are bulky and take up a lot of space. If you're short on space, you can even vacuum seal these items and stick them in your van garage or bench seat storage compartments.
Kitchen and Bathroom Storage
Designated Kitchen Bin
If your van kitchen is small or has limited storage space, you can use a plastic bin to store items and keep them in your van garage or under the bed. This bin is handy if you plan to do most of your cooking outdoors so that you can move it around.
Multi-Purpose Kitchen Items
Bring kitchen items that you can use in multiple ways. For example, bring cups that can hold hot or cold beverages, a plate for large or small meals, or a spatula to stir pasta, mix a stir fry, or flip burgers. Keep all these items together in a designated kitchen cabinet or labeled plastic bin.
Follow the One-Per Person Rule
Regarding eating utensils and plate sets, you only need to pack one per person. Then, you can assign each person a specific set and put them in charge of rinsing their stuff. Cleanup will move much faster this way!
Use Mason Jars and Small Containers
Instead of bringing giant boxes of food that you will only use a small amount of, like sugar, flour, coffee, and spices, you can put these items in mason jars or small containers that stack nicely in a bin or storage cabinet. This idea will save you a lot of cabinet space.
Butcher's Block or Cutting Board for Expanded Counter Space
Get a butcher's block or cutting board large enough to cover your sink for extra countertop space. Then, you can easily slide it vertically into a storage cabinet when you're finished.
Remember those packing cubes we mentioned? You can often get a set that includes smaller matching toiletry bags. Depending on your kids' ages, give each one an individual pouch. You can keep a larger bag with multiple compartments for everyone's stuff if they're young.
Living Space Storage
Mesh Storage Pockets on Seats
Store charging cables, first aid kits, and other essential items in mesh storage pockets on the back of the front seats for quick access.
Assign Everyone A Place to Keep Personal Items
Give each kid a spot to keep their belongings like toys, games, electronics, etc. This area can be a cabinet, drawer, mesh pocket, or another space. Remind them that everything they take out must return to their storage area at the end of the day.
Keep Gear in the Bulkhead Storage Area
Most Sprinter vans have a decently sized bulkhead area in the front of the van. Utilize this area to place items you'll frequently use for quick reach. You can even create storage cabinets in the bulkhead area for extra security.
Van Garage Storage
One of the perks of traveling by van is it's easy to bring bikes and other sporting equipment along for the ride. Install a bike mount to bring the entire family's bikes.
Hooks, Racks, and Netting
Simple hooks, racks, and netting can significantly improve van storage. These small but very functional items make it easy to organize and keep things off the floor. Hang helmets, backpacks, and anything else on hooks in the van garage or doors.
Install racks in your garage to hold tools, gear, and items you use less frequently. Another option is to use netting in the living quarters or garage to store sports gear, shoes, towels, etc., as an alternative to installing more bulky cabinets.
Other Van Organization Ideas
Utilize Your Van Roof
Vans have spacious roofs for holding larger gear or bulky items like surfboards, paddleboards, kayaks, etc. Install racks and mounts on your roof to fasten these objects in place.
Extra Bungee Cords, Locks, and Magnets in the Van
It's wise to carry extra items like bungee cords, locks, and magnets in case you have items that are loose or rolling around in the van. These are not only for storage purposes but also for safety reasons.
Keep Commonly Used Items in Easy-To-Reach Locations
This is one of the essential van life tips, regardless of how you tackle your van storage. There's nothing more frustrating than packing up your entire van to realize something you need is in the back of the garage and the bottom of a bin.
Pack Extra Stuff Sacks and Bags
Pack some extra storage sacks and bags to organize on the go. These can be useful for dirty clothes or shoes, camping gear, and anything else you need to keep together.
With these campervan storage ideas and organization tips, you can maximize your space and stay organized. Plus, with an Esplori build that's 40% lighter than traditional materials, you'll be able to take even more gear. Contact us for more information about our van conversions.