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5 Organizational Tips to Stay Tidy in a Camper Van

Let’s be honest – it’s hard to stay tidy in a camper van. Nomads are always traveling and adventuring, so it’s easy for things to fall out of place and not get cleaned up right away. However, a disorganized space can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration.

Camper vans are a lot smaller than houses, so they in turn feel a lot more cramped. Therefore, it’s important to try to stay as organized as possible to avoid this tension!

Here are 5 organizational tips to stay tidy in a camper van.

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The interior of a camper van bed covered with clothing and other items.

Minimize your belongings

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before – take only what you need!! A huge lesson in van life is learning how to let go of material items that aren’t entirely necessary. If you’re going to choose to live a minimalistic lifestyle, that means letting go of things you might feel attached to.

You don’t need to get rid of everything, but identify which of your belongings you use a lot. Those are likely useful things to keep. If you only use something every few weeks, that is a good thing to leave behind. Don’t assume you’re going to wear that article of clothing you haven’t even looked at in a few months. It’s time to let it go!

Another way you can minimize your belongings is to get rid of things as you go along. If you notice that you haven’t used a few things in your van in a few weeks, consider getting rid of them. You can sell it online or otherwise find local charities to donate it to.

Van lifers @courtandnate go through their belongings every month and donate what they don’t need!

Have a designated spot for everything

Living in a small space makes everything feel much smaller. When even just one thing is out of place, it can make your entire camper van feel messy and cramped. This can be avoided by making sure everything in your van has a designated spot.

You don’t want to pack up your entire van and find that a few of your items don’t have a home. They’ll only float around the van and get in the way of things. In that case, you want to try to reorganize your belongings or otherwise get rid of a few things to make more space.

Another important tip to remember is to keep necessary things accessible and pack away things you might not need to use a lot. Snow chains are necessary to pack, but I only rarely need them, so I keep them pretty packed away in my “garage” storage. My toiletries and yoga mat are things I use daily, so I keep them in a spot that’s easily accessible.

This can help with organization! You won’t have to go digging through your belongings to find something that you need and make a mess!

Get into the habit of cleaning

We all have to admit that it can be hard to immediately clean up after ourselves. If you just spent a lot of time cooking dinner, it’s likely that you won’t jump to clean the dishes. If you spent a long day on your feet, you might not want to make your van spotless.

This will only cause you more stress and annoyance when everything builds up. Rather than only having to put away a few items, you’ll be left with a mess in your entire van! Try to get into the habit of cleaning up right away to save from future trouble.

Another way you can do this is by making it a habit to clean every morning or night. Set aside a specific timeframe to organize and pick up your space to prevent your van from getting too messy.

Get creative with your space

Many van lifers design their builds in ways that take full advantage of the space. A lot of van lifers have a rule that nothing in your van should have only one use! Steps can hold shoes, space underneath seats can be storage compartments, and more!

If you’re still in the building process, try to find ways to maximize the use of your space. Some people like to build smaller compartments in their cabinets or drawers to fit more items. You can build a spice rack to save room in cabinets, incorporate shelves in your wall space, or even find creative ways to utilize your center console and glove compartment.

You can also use hooks or command strips to hold up items on your walls or doors. Magnetic hooks can latch onto your metal doors and can hold jackets, towels, backpacks, or anything else that might fit. You can also use this to hang produce bags and plants as you see fit!

The interior of a camper van with coats hanging on hooks on the back doors.

Utilize outdoor storage

You might also consider getting a cargo carrier to save on space. These can hold seasonal clothing or other items that you really don’t need constant access to. If you’re going to be in warm weather for a few months, you can pack away all of your winter clothes!

Many (if not most) van lifers install their fresh and gray water tanks underneath their vans to save space inside. This can be a basic necessity if you have a large tank, but even doing that with smaller tanks (hello, my personal 6-gallon tanks) can save a ton of room.

Outdoor storage is also perfect for outdoor-oriented gear. Spare tires, gas canisters, and traction pads are all large outdoor items that work best attached to the outside of your van!

The exterior of a black Sprinter camper van with a tire, traction pads, cargo carrier, and ladder attached to the outside.
Van owned by @brodyleven.

There are plenty of ways to get creative and make the most of your space. You want to make sure all of your energy is focused on enjoying your travels and experiences, not worrying about a mess! These organizational tips can help you stay on top of your cleaning game and keep your camper van tidy and stress-free.

What are your favorite organization tips? Let us know in the comments!

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