Moving Into the Van
We are house-less, not homeless. Have a look..
I am a very thorough person, mild OCD and extremely organized. I have a pretty good mental inventory of everything I own.. 1- because I enjoy constantly getting rid of old things and accumulating new things, and 2- I don’t own that much to begin with. So when it came time to prepare for van life it was actually fun for me to start going through everything I own and deciding what would be used in the van and what wouldn’t, what would fit in the van and what wouldn’t. What was necessary to live and adventure the way we planned, and what was just frivolous, extra or irrelevant? And so it began…white pile or blue pile? Our other blue van is being used as a storage unit while we’re gone so we loaded up tupperware bins with everything to leave behind and started working things slowly into the white van to live for the next few months.
Van life teaches us to live with just one or two of something instead of multiples of things that are unnecessary. In the van we have one drawer, two cabinets and one “closet” cabinet. The bed is raised which gives us plenty of storage below. However, creating a space of easy accessibility was a project. Accessibility is key. You can in fact fit a whole lot more than you think... squeezing, stacking, using every open space, but then you end up with a whole bunch of stuff you may not use every day getting in the way off the things that you do use frequently. So accessibility is something to keep in mind.
In the back of the van we store a lot of our gear: the grill, camp table, backup propane, extra shoes, guitar, cooler, fishing poles, etc..lots of stuff we don’t use on a day-to-day basis. We have divided this lower storage area in half. Opening the back doors gives you access to all the gear.
The rest is accessible from the inside of the van. This area was fun to organize (sarcasm). I was able to find two sets of drawers that fit under the bed which give us more space to work with, great for dishes, snacks, a junk drawer of tools and necessities, and other general storage. Again, easy access is key so Casey also has his skateboards here. Open spaces are filled with dirty laundry baskets, trash bags, clean towels, water.
One of the two kitchen cabinets is used for pots and pans, food storage and hand towels, refill water filters, foil and saran wrap, etc. No meal will be sacrificed to life on the road. Health and wellness are non-negotiable so I need the fridge in order to cook delicious and nutritious meals on the daily.
The second kitchen cabinet houses other kitchen necessities: cooking oils, lots of tea, all of my coffee essentials for pour-overs, paper towel dispenser, the Brita, backup cooking utensils, paperware, and tubs and tools for dish-washing and face-washing. We do have a sink and hot water pump, but decided against using it as the water reservoirs would have taken up the entire lower cabinet. The sink is now used for dirty dishes and water bottles. Everything needs a home when you start driving.
The one kitchen drawer is for things we use daily: silverware, hand sanitizer, leathermans, band-aids, SD cards, playing cards, twine and safety-pins, etc.
The last storage area is above the cockpit. This is our closet..just what we wear and use often. Bigger coats and things of that nature live in the back. There was a time when I had closets on cabinets on drawers of clothes and now I can fit everything I need in about a 2′ x 2′ area with a slanted top. Excellent.
We have improvised a bit and came up with ideas to hold things in place or just hold things in general. Here is our shoe rack, as well as one of my coffee sacks that works wonders as a doormat. I found a bunch of small baskets for half off at the thrift store before we left that work great at keeping things in place, especially some of my toiletries in the bathroom corner.
We are also lucky to have a small, built-in shelf that lines the inside of the van on both sides. These are very helpful in many ways. They serve as a spice rack, book shelf, bathroom, plant holder, drink holder..just a holder in general for so many things. We are very grateful for these shelves. In the back of the bedroom are some small cabinets that mostly hold books, clothes, and all of my camera stuff. The side shelves continue behind the tapestry to the back of the van on both sides.
And that’s about it for a tour of Tatanka. Stay tuned for plenty more updates and adventures.