Part III: Where to store your stuff!
This is the third in a series about our own campervan conversion. We’ll talk about the reasons we made the choices we did, pros and cons of decisions, and hopefully provide some advice for your own adventure!
One of the biggest uses when converting your campervan is storage. You are starting with a blank slate, and aside from some general built-in spaces, there is not much for storage. We jumped through so many hurdles trying to decide what to do about our storage. But what we finally ended up with was simple, streamlined, and carried everything we needed for the journey!
We ultimately decided to install two cabinets. We really liked them because they had good space within for heavier or larger items. However, the cabinets themselves are weighty, so knew we couldn’t just stick them anywhere.
We bought two from Lowe’s and screwed them into the wooden studs already in place on the wall. This was after we’d installed our aesthetic colored poster board so it did require some feeling about and keen “eye-balling” to ensure we screwed them in the correct places! We also bought handles for the cabinet, as well as magnetic latches. But that is up to you if you feel you need those!
But we absolutely loved the cabinets for their interior capacity and ability to hold items on top, as well.
Shelving was, at first, a big puzzler for us. We didn’t want heavy shelves because we feared damage to our studs. We also needed some that had a lip on the front to ensure items did not slide off, which was surprisingly difficult to find! We shopped around at many stores and finally broke down and decided to build our own from scratch.
I (Ashley) was nervous about this idea because we’d never built a shelf from scratch before. But Scottie was excited and so we picked up what we needed from Lowe’s as well as a local craft store. Here are the parts you will need to recreate what we built:
- a simple board about the length and width for your storage needs
- a smaller, thinner board the same length to serve as your front
- 2 square pieces of wood the same width as the board to serve as your ends
- two metal “L” shaped brackets to mount underneath the shelf
- 8 screws (depending on the bracket you buy)
- wood glue
- items to decorate (if desired)
- a drill
Our process to put these together was fairly simple. And once we had a system down it only took 2 days to build from scratch and install 5 shelves. The longest process was the wood glue drying. But we chose wood glue over more screws to protect the integrity of the board.
Here was our process for putting together each shelf.
- Mark on the largest board where the bracket holes are.
- Screw in the brackets to the bottom of the board.
- Mark on the wall where the board will sit using the additional bracket holes that will go into the wall.
- Screw the bracket onto the wall, thus effectively hanging your shelf.
- Using wood glue, set your smaller, thinner board along the front edge of your shelf to serve as its lip.
- Follow wood glue directions to allow it to sit and get secured!
- Do the exact same process for the two square pieces of wood to create ends for your shelf, thus securing your items.
- Allow the glue to have 24 hours to set before testing its strength.
- Go on a drive with the shelf full to verify you did a good job!
So overall we had two cabinets and five shelves, and they did well in holding what we needed them to. We had a few instances of a cup falling off one of the shelves if we hit a pot hole, but otherwise they were strong and protected our items!