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Old 04-12-2015, 05:52 PM   #1
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Location: Holland, OH
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Year: 1991
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Lightbulb Efficient Storage Systems?

My boyfriend and I are working on renovating a bus to fit our family of four: 2 adults, 1 child, and 1 baby. What are some of the best ways we can store things to most efficiently use our limited space? Also, where do you find is most convenient to store those things (i.e. what would you put under your bed [because getting things back and forth from underneath a bed may be kind of annoying], on shelves, out in the open for easy access, etc.)?


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Old 04-12-2015, 06:49 PM   #2
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we are vacation folks, so we need 1 week of clothes (okay I need 1 week of clothes, wifey needs 3 atleast)
We have been using hard clear plastic "tots" for clothes

I am guessing here:

8 x 12 and 6 in tall (1 for underwear rolled up)(1 for socks rolled up)
2 20 x 36 x 6 in tall (1 for pants/shorts and 1 for left over tshirts etc rolled up)
we keep shirts/sweaters on hangers

we are very "crud and disorganized...luckily we dont full time
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:36 PM   #3
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We have 2 adults, 3 kids, and sometimes 5 kids when my two from my first marriage are visiting.

I second the use of "totes". We use these:
HDX 27-Gal. Storage Tote in Black-207585 - The Home Depot

Home Depot had them on sale today - $10 apiece. They're a great deal because they're more rugged than what you usually find at a Walmart - thicker plastic everywhere, especially the top. The top is deeply nested so they stack very stably, and their lids fit tightly with plenty of overhang. You can easily leave these things out in the rain and what's inside stays bone-dry. Mice can't get into them, either.

These things are the bees-knees for activity-oriented storage. For example, we use one for all our beach stuff - swimsuits, flip-flops, toys, everything goes into one bin, the bin goes to the beach, all the wet stuff goes into it at the end of the day, and we sort it out back at camp. No sand gets into the camper.

Being weatherproof is also nice because for things you bring but don't need right away, you don't necessarily need to lose closet space to storing them. For example, I have one dedicated to storage tank maintenance - I keep the dump hose, fittings, gloves, and other stuff in there. We have another for "outside stuff": picnic tablecloth and clips, lighter and newspaper, paper plates, a lantern, a few strings of lights, etc. When we're setting up camp, I drop the "outside" bin next to the picnic table, the "nasty" one under the rear near the dump valve, and the "toy" bin somewhere in the middle. Way easier/faster even than dedicated outside storage compartments. It's like having an extra 20 or so cubic feet of storage (depending on how many you use). Space is precious!

For daily clothes, we use these:
Kelty Camp Hauler 3 - Modular Storage |

They don't seem to make them anymore but looks like Mountainsmith has something similar? These things are great. Three small bags each fit several days' worth of clothes per kid or 2 days' for an adult, and they all nest into a bigger duffel. We pack 2-3 duffels depending on the length of our trip.

Once we get to our destination, we break the duffels apart. Each smaller container goes on the owner's bed (or a closet). The bigger duffel then becomes the laundry bag - as things get used up, they go into the big one. That goes to the laundromat or home.

I know there are plenty of people that are "unpack the suitcase into the closet" types, but this works really well for us. We travel a lot and we never know where we're headed next. We can be switching between cold-weather gear and shorts literally in the same week.

In our skoolie we plan to travel longer but not necessarily pack differently. We will add closet space, but mostly for a suit for me for occasional work-related visits, some nicer clothes for date nights, a rain slicker, etc. Storing daily clothes doesn't have to be a huge problem if you aren't the 35-pairs-of-shoes types.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:15 PM   #4
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I second the use of "totes". We use these:
HDX 27-Gal. Storage Tote in Black-207585 - The Home Depot
I have about 10 of these. They definitely take a beating but they will break. Don't ask how I know. They are about a buck and a half cheaper at Costco.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:23 PM   #5
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Welcome fellow Buckeye. I have to agree that those HD totes are real nice and have lasted 2+ years now.
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Old 04-18-2015, 12:56 PM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2015
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other ways to store

I've used totes for storage and moving from job to job over the past few years. The biggest problem is that they have sloped sides made to nest them together. If you are stacking empties this is great. But if you are using them for storage there will be a lot of wasted space between them. I've found this to be a great place for shoes and boots if you can see the ends but if they are under a bed that lifts up you won't see between them.
If you do have lift up bed boards you may want to build in dividers so the area is compartmentalized for various items. T-shirts, socks, underwear and so on each in it's own compartment
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:36 PM   #7
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steveoutdoorrec you're right about the sloping sides, but these black/yellow ones have a VERY shallow slope. They do stack, but I've fit a lot of nearly-square stuff in them without much wasted space. Every bin is different - these are a good compromise, IMO.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:09 AM   #8
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I have found the clear totes crack sooner than the opaque ones,
I installed regular home depot metal shelving to hold the totes, you can adjust the heights to prevent wasted space, just remember to put some small bolts on the shelves to prevent them from popping up when you hit bumps.
my bus thread,
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bus conversion, storage compartment, storage system

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