Turning Wasted Space into More Food Storage

They used to bully kids like this back in the 1970s…  I was one of them.
Today was the day for the implementation of an idea that had been kicked around for some time – utilizing some empty space.
When I met up with a fellow camping buddy the other day, the subject of storage had come up.  His is a high top van which I really liked.  High top vans have plenty of real estate for stowing things away.  With the Trekker Van being a low top, using space effectively is a must. 
The first picture shows the left side of the kitchen counter/cupboards.  This outside cupboard wall had hooks and was used for things that needed to be secured when the van was in motion:  fishing poles, electric heater, etc. 

What I didn’t realize initially is that the 6″ wide  by 11″ deep x 21″ tall unused area (next to the side entry area) is a LOT of wasted space.  As time passed and more was learned about what needs to be carried, the idea of converting this space to storage seemed like something fun to tackle.

Just a side note… Notice that linoleum doesn’t even extend far enough to cover the wasted space…  I had built out the van like a house trailer – started with the floor, laid a small strip of linoleum, and set stuff on top.  Redneck construction at its finest!

To the right is a picture showing the new shelving unit.  I built it to a height six inches above the counter top.  It is made from pine 1×6 boards cut to size, sanded, and painted.  I added a 1×2 lip to each shelf to keep the cans from sliding out.

This new storage rack is able to house twenty standard sized cans of food.  Though each shelf is only the width of three cans, it is deep enough that you can stagger them and fit five per shelf.  The spaces are also tall enough to store larger soups, too!   (i.e. “Chunky” brand)

As you can see, I’m using the new shelves to carry soups, sardines, dry beans, rice, medicine, gravy packets, and even Berkley power bait for fishing.  I was amazed at how much stuff will fit in here.  It’s freed up enough room that the full sized skillet can now be stored in the drawer under the bed (formerly food storage space), not under the passenger’s seat. 

The whole project took an hour to assemble and another hour to paint…
It’s fun modifying your van.  Some people don’t understand it’s an ongoing process.  If someone asks “When will it be done?” try not to laugh.  If it’s ever “done” then it’s probably not being used.  Tweaks and modifications that make life easier are part of the continuous learning experience.

Thanks for visiting. Take care!  …   V.T.

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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