Van re-doing

I was very inspired by those conversion pictures I found the other day. I decided to take everything apart, get new drawers and put them up even with the edge of the bed. I could put curtains in front of them all pretty and it would look very neat and organised. Also I was going to get rid of or diminish the book shelf. It’s simply not practical to be hauling around six crates of books. Plus the van was getting really, really, really messy. This is what it looked like when I started:


Yeah, really messy. Even for me. I took all the messy stuff out and made a pile in my sister’s driveway:


Leaving just the stuff in drawers in the van. That’s when I realised that moving the drawers forward was a bad, bad idea. If I did that my floor space would be, like, a foot wide.

I went through all my books and parted with many of them. It was very sad and very hard. The best books always take up the most space (Culture of Make Believe, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, etc.). Now the top shelf is empty on both sides:


I condensed stuff and put stuff back in drawers and made it all very efficient. I even went through all my jewelry and hair clips (that I can never get to because they’re lost in a drawer that’s got a bucket of dog food in front of it) and got rid of a bunch of them so they take up way less space. Here’s a super neat drawer:


I realised a few things. I’m tired of the pressure cooker taking up so much space and always just kicking around being no place in particular and always in the way. There is a basket of old nasty broken stripper shoes that I’ve been meaning to sell on the internet forever and haven’t. They’re taking up a bunch of space, and I need to sell them or just get rid of them. I’m keeping them for now and will sell them ASAP. Baskets are not a good use of space, possibly. The big round basket of shoes was sitting in a square space between drawers, and I decided I should go find a drawer unit with two big plastic tub type drawers (it needed to be 14×23) and I would pour dog food into the first one so that the dog food bucket wouldn’t always be in my way, and put the damn shoes in the second one. Then things would be all neat and perfect, right? Also I’d get some cheap throw rugs from the thrift store and layer them on the van floor and it would be cool.

I went to the thrift store, and they had absolutely no throw rugs. I did find a really cool little bag to put all that jewelry in, though, so it’ll take up even less space. I looked to see if they had a nice warm down vest, and they had a bunch of things that looked like warm vests, but they were polyester imposters. It sucked.

At the first store, there were no drawers that fit my dimensions. I know they’re out there. Hell, I already have a couple. So I went to another store, and…. oh my Goddess, I found the perfect solution! It wasn’t at all what I had in mind, but it was perfect, and it solved the plastic dillemna. Cause I hate having plastic. It’s the blood that’s been pulled out of the earth and unwillingly mutilated into cheap shit to make things convenient for people and I hear it crying at night. So these things are boxes. They’re made out of canvas and metal. You could fold them up if you wanted, and they would be very small.

The first one is long and short, the perfect size for all those shoes. It’s also the perfect size for the dog food bucket to set on top of. This way the dog food bucket is closer to the bottom of the bed, without all the wasted space above it. The other box solves the seating problem. See, first I had a crate, which was perfect for sitting on except that it left waffle prints on my ass, and the space inside it was wasted because I could not put stuff in it while it was upside down being sat on. Then I had a cooler, which was very useful when I had all the caribou meat thawing, but I couldn’t keep anything in it but food, and I couldn’t sit up straight on it without bending in half for the ceiling. This box has a cushy padded lid, is exactly the right height, and I can put stuff in it! They only had it in this stripey pattern that isn’t particularly appealling, but I can always throw something over it, right?

So I put the pressure cooker in the seat box. Then I emptied out the whole kitchen drawer and put all the kitchen stuff in the seat box too. This is greater than you can imagine cause suddenly there’s a whole empty drawer! Wow!

Then I put down a wrap/blanket/thing that my sister was going to throw out, put the long skinny box full of shoes in place, the dog food bucket on top of that, the basket on top of it next to the dog food bucket (luckily the basket handle is just perfect height for wedging it against the bottom of the bed), and the new kitchen box-seat in front of that.

See how pretty?


Sometimes I’m just so insanely proud of my van home.


  1. Beautiful! You should be proud 🙂
    Probably too tall for the van, but we made storage/stools from 5 gallon buckets for my lil’girlies once to go with a child size table. We just made a pad for the lid (staple gunned on) and they had stools and tons of room for the little dishes and stuff that they had. As far as the crate stool goes though, you could do the same thing with a scrap of lumber fitted to the size of the crate covered with something pretty (staple guns are a girls best friend sometimes) Then you could sit on it and store things in it without wasting space. It could even be “hinged” on with cable ties (some people call them chicken bands)
    If you have the time/patience etc, you could crochet rugs from yours or someone elses old clothes. It’s easy, takes one super large hook and the denim ones last forever. The terry cloth towel ones work well for wet spots and other materials work just as well. Used plastic bags from the store that others have discarded also make great mats for doorways or to throw down outside when parked in mud and they wash easy too. They also roll up and store well and you could make them any shape you like. Just a thought to make the homey part more personalized.

  2. yay! it looks great! i love the new box seat! Where do your herbs live???
    Im wondering how I’ m ever going to get it down to few enough tthings to store in a van. I’m just not willing to part with all my herb books.

  3. Loose herbs are in an empty kitty litter bucket between the front seat. Tinctures in progress and such are in the left top two drawers, and finished tinctures in little bottles that I use a lot are in a little thing like your camping kitchen kit.

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