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Old 04-24-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default Maximizing Storage

My big project for today was to maximize the storage in our Great West Van Legend armoire unit. We had been hanging clothes in it but decided that was not an efficient use for the space since most of our clothes can be folded away more compactly. I considered custom building shelves but first looked around for modular shelving units. I came across this Elfa drawer unit and determined it would fit almost precisely inside the armoire. In fact in order to get it inside I had to final assemble the frame inside the unit as it would not slip through the door opening complete. The drawers are 17" square by three variable heights of 3-1/4", 7-1/4" and 11-1/4". The deep drawer will hold a kitchen paper towel roll upright.

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Old 04-25-2012, 12:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

That is a nice fit. Looks like it was made for your van.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

It was so tight a fit that I had to remove those two catch latches at the top of the door in order to get the frame in. Then with the curvature of the back wall the top of frame pushed it tight to the front door frame. That was an exact fit and quite frankly was something I was not anticipating when I bought the unit. I was assuming the back wall was a bit straighter up and down than it was. To angle it inside I had to leave off the front bottom bar that had to be pounded in with a mallet. Since I could not swing a mallet inside the armoire I had to file down the connection so it would slide together without pounding with a mallet.

There is 3-1/2" of dead space on both sides of the drawer unit inside the closet. I'll use that space to carry spare parts of stuff I hope I never have to use while on the road such as a spare flexible dump hose, electrical extension cord, motor oil, etc. Right now I carry a lot of that stuff but seem to have to unload and move it around to get to other stuff.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

Today's project was to relocate the table that was stored inside the armoire. I moved it outside the armoire just behind the driver's seat. I re-used the latch clips at the top and added a teak stay 13" above the floor. In the armoire it rested directly on the floor. This way it will be above any storage boxes and sometimes the cat litter tray.



I also added this pull out string clothes line inside the bathroom for drying wet towels, bathing suits, hand washed wet clothes and stuff. It was a $10 item we picked up at the container store.


I have a few more storage modifications in the works.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

D, nice work. I have been thinking of a better clothes line for hanging towels. I like your suggestion. I just ordered a Jerdon one from Amazon. Thanks for the hint.

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Old 04-26-2012, 10:15 PM   #6
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Today's project was to add two wire in-baskets for nighttime bed storage for things like wallet, watch, eye glasses, keys, iPhone, iPad, book, reading light, etc. I mounted them underneath the back overhead cabinet just above our pillows. One for each of us. It is within arms reach when lying in bed.

The baskets are stackable wire in-baskets normally for office desk use and can be bought at Target or the Container Store. I put these in my previous Pleasure-way B and decided to do it again. This time I modified the baskets by hacksawing off metal tabs that stuck up. I used co-axial cable holders with 1/2" long screws.

This is storage for overnight items you might use just before going to bed. You have to remember to empty before getting underway of which most you would do anyway. In the past I've left things like books and they stay in place while driving. The headband reading light can stay as well.

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Old 04-28-2012, 10:51 PM   #7
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My last project to maximize storage in my Great West Van Legend was to put shelves in the back closet located behind the bathroom and cantilevered over the sleeping area. It was just an open cabinet with a coat hanger receiver at the top (left in that you can see at the top). We never used it for hanging clothes and was just kind of a disorganized catchall for us. So I decided to add three shelves. The difficulty I quickly found was the back wall was curved inward from bottom to top, the side walls were not parallel to each other, the front wall was slanted and not parallel to the back wall and there were cutouts for a radio receiver and plumbing inside the cabinet covered with Ultraleather upholstering. Nothing was normal and of course you can't plumb when the B is not parked level. So I had to do a lot of measuring and building of cardboard templates to get the shelf dimensions. Then I had to figure out tolerances to be able to slip the shelves in as the curved inward back wall made it impossible to drop a shelf in from the top and any installed brackets would make it impossible to lift up from below. I finally came up with a wood spacer system to build from the bottom up and insert after getting the shelves at each level positioned inside the cabinet. So I built and installed from the bottom up. The first shelf was a given. It rested on the radio receiver cutout. The next two shelves were space 5" clear so canned goods or a soft drink or beer can could be stored with little spare wastage as I have illustrated with some props. I used 1/2" melamine covered shelf boards that I bought at Menards. I was able to cut the shelves from one 24" x 60" board. Because nothing was square, I used a saber saw with a board clamped down to act as a guide to get a straight cut. Looks simple enough but it took two days.



I noticed the last Great West Van Legend I saw at the RV shows had gone back to putting shelves in this cabinet but they only had two shelves, not three. So now our two hanging closets no longer can be used that way. I think we can live with that since we never carry clothes that really need hanging. I took the hanger receiver that was in the front armoire and installed it under the back overhead cabinet. It is just there for temporary hanging of clothes and things. It may never get used, but is better than throwing it away.

I think I am done with maximizing storage for now.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

It looks good David. Very strong too. You can put a lot more stuff in there now.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

Nice.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

Gordon, Our next project I won't have much to do with. Nancy is taking Joni's design and making some of those baskets you have.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

Another task we had was to maximize storage under the electric tri-sofa. It has a lot of storage capacity but has only about a 12" clearance.

We found an ice chest cooler that fits under the electric sofa that is only 11.75" high but still has the capacity to hold 24 long neck beer bottles upright or 48 beer or coke cans. I've always been amazed at how many coolers on the market would not hold bottles and cans efficiently with weird interior dimensions. It is the Coleman Party Stacker. Now we are better prepared for one of those BSG Social's beer tasting parties.

We had been putting our shoes in one of those hanging cloth shoe bins in that closet we put shelves in. An alternate storage bin we found to put all our shoes in was a Rubbermaid 50 quart clear tote. I wanted a storage bin at least 13" in order to line my gunboat size 11-1/2 shoes evenly. In order to get up to that size many of the plastic storage boxes are over 12" high. This one is only 10.8" high and slips under the sofa from inside the B. It should hold all our extra shoes and then some and if we don't get the soles 100% wiped off at least the dirt will be contained.

RoughneckŪ Clear 50 Qt: (#3R41)
Size: 26.7" L x 15.8" W x 10.8" H

My favorite store, Target, could not satisfy me for either. I got both at Menard's.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

You will love those fabric bins. They are verticle and flex so they utilize every square inch. In the very back top cabinet we still have hard plastic bins. The are angled and waste a bunch of space. I have been begging Joni for slightly more than a year to make fabric bins to replace those. I am still waiting. I guess that Joni thinks that patience is a virtue
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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This could be considered maximizing storage. I replaced my factory Sound 5 radio with this Kenwood HD AM/FM/CD receiver that has both an auxiliary jack and a USB port for MP3 players, iPods and iPhones. So we can eliminate carrying all our CDs in a bulky case since they have all been put into iTunes and can be carried on our iPhones. We can now also borrow and download audio books from our local library from anywhere in the United States.

After considerable research I found you could add a USB connection to the back of the factory Sound 5 radio but then discovered there were two versions - a European version and a Chinese version (which I had) and the Chinese version USB port would not charge the iPhone. There was also a question of whether it would work at all which I was not going to gamble to find out.

This Kenwood radio is also an HD radio that picks up digital broadcasts. I haven't explored that yet but I read in the manual it can capture music played on the radio that you can then buy and download from iTunes. The radio was last year's model discounted at Best Buy. It is not the greatest looking radio and the buttons are too small and a bit non-intuitive. By the time you buy all the accessory connections required including an installation kit to fill in the dash face you spend more money than for the radio itself. Also, it does not work with my steering wheel buttons. To accomplish that, I would have to spend another $160 for connections and installation. Since I can't recall ever using the steering wheel buttons for the radio I decided to forgo that cost. There are two of us all the time in the B and the passenger operates the radio. The sound with the original speakers seems more robust with this radio.

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Old 05-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #14
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Another small project today. I feel as if I am making some progress before heading out again Monday. At the back end of the kitchen counter I have a TV set that plugs into a 750w inverter located directly above in the overhead cabinet. This works fine both plugged into shore power and on the auxiliary batteries. However, the inverter has a fan that I think is rather loud and I realize that anytime I can get over the air reception I usually have shore power and most likely would prefer to plug directly into 110v without the fan noise. Ideally another 110v outlet next to the inverter outlet would have been best. Unfortunately the nearest accessible 110v is in the ceiling at the opposite end of the kitchen counter. Solution was to buy some of those Command cord holder clips. They came in a 4-pack and that is exactly how many I needed. I put one on the side of the cabinet and three more under the cabinet. A 6 ft. extension cord turned out to be the exact length needed.

My wife wants to run a slow cooker crockpot sitting somewhat safely in the kitchen sink running off the inverter while we drive down the road. Simple solution. Reverse the direction of the cord to plug in to the inverter outlet and drop the cord down at the clip over the window jamb which happens to be right above the kitchen sink and plug the crockpot in. Gordon and Lori H at the Missouri BSG social had this crockpot idea going in their Roadtrek which inspired my wife. To run the crockpot I was going to need this extension cord setup anyway and I like keeping from draping it across the kitchen counter.



There seems like there could be some opportunities here. My general observation from both my old Pleasure-way Plateau and my Great West Van Legend is that B conversion companies don't give a lot of thought how people use their Bs. They just put stuff like outlets in where they fit easily.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Maximizing Storage

We're in love with what you did with your armoire; we'll pursue a similar conversion. Our Pleasureway's armoire may not be the same size as yours, but it looks pretty close. Where did you buy it?
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:29 AM   #16
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The Container Store. It is called the elfa system. Google either to find them.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:14 PM   #17
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Nice ideas. I did the over-the-bed shelf with a piece of vinyl clad wire shelving (16" deep with a lip, hung so the lip is up). The shelf hangs from threaded rod that screws up into tee nuts mounted inside the overhead compartment. At the lower end, a nut/washer/washer/wing nut combination between wires secures the shelf. That way it can be removed easily for driving (but it's high enough and see-through when empty, so its not really in the way). No rattles when driving!

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Old 07-24-2012, 09:15 PM   #18
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Davydd: I just found your maximizing storage blog and wonder if you could measure the closet where you put the 5 storage bins. We have a 2004 Roadtrek and might want to look for this kind of storage solution for it. Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:46 AM   #19
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I doubt measuring will help you. You'll have to work it out carefully. First you have to measure the shelving system you want and not rely on published dimensions. Then you have to measure your cabinet interior and note that the back wall is most likely a variable dimension as it curves inward toward the top. Then you have to work it all out like a puzzle. I had to do some assembly inside the cabinet and temporarily remove some hardware to make it all fit. I had one critical 1/8th inch tolerance or it would not have fit. It was that close.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
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The baskets are stackable wire in-baskets normally for office desk use and can be bought at Target or the Container Store. ....
I'm reviewing older posts in this forum to make sure I don't duplicate any topic that's already been threaded. While doing that, I accidentally came across that picture of the under-cabinet shelf created a few years ago by Davydd, and I guess maybe I have to conclude that great minds think alike, because I came within inches of independently using that exact product for the same adaptation.

I discarded the idea for our rig, though, because I wanted a lower-profile recessed shelf that maximized the available length, and because I'd already used perforated aluminum to create this custom computer table (which includes computer hold-down straps), so I wanted the suspended shelves and the table to match stylistically.

So here below is my interpretation of the same under-cabinet shelf idea, view from underneath, and here is a blog post with material sourcing and instructions.

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