Over the past couple of weeks you may have spotted a few blog posts relating to my vintage caravan makeover project and, in particular, my attempt to finally turn my space into a proper craft workshop. I desperately needed somewhere to stash all my creative bits, bobs and books so in the new year I started searching for the ultimate storage solution. Until now all of my essential sewing gear, knitting kit and craft books have been stored in plastic tubs stacked up on top of each other, and boy was that annoying when you wanted to find something in a hurry. It was worse still when I knew exactly where the fabric I needed was stored, and it was at the bottom of a tub at the base of the stack, so everything had to be pulled out and strewn all over the caravan before I could get to it. Pretty much every project that I wanted to tackle began in this way, so I knew that I’d have half-hour’s worth of getting stuff out and putting it back away before I could even get started on sewing something. And that kind of puts you off doing it at all.
That’s exactly how I’d been feeling for the past couple of months and in truth I’ve hardly made anything in my caravan workshop since last summer. I’ve even started sewing in the living room – where there is precious little space anyway – because I couldn’t face all the getting-out-and-putting-away needed to use the caravan space. And if I’m not going to use it as a workshop, what was the point of getting the caravan at all? Okay, okay, I love my little vintage caravan and would never get rid of it but I want to use it as a creative workshop as well as my office and that just couldn’t be achieved when I had boxes and boxes full of stuff taking up all the space so this January I decided to get the storage problem sorted once and for all.
After a lot of research, Pinterest planning and trawling storage retailers online, I came up with a rather alternative solution to my problem. Rather than heading to any famous flat-pack retailers for shelving or cupboards, I decided to look into storage solutions for children and here’s my thinking behind this decision: My caravan is a small space, not unlike many children’s bedrooms, and it required a flexible arrangement of storage that could grow into the space and be added to as needed. Most children’s furniture are manufactured with space optimising and future growth in mind so surely it was the obvious option for my caravan too?
Having shopped with them in the past when my baby nephew came along, I hopped onto the Vertbaudet website to take a look at the options available for children’s bedrooms. I found a whole host of bookshelves, storage boxes, trunks and baskets and, most importantly, I found this flexible storage system. I already knew that the customer service at Vertbaudet was fantastic so I had no worries about choosing the furniture I wanted and I telephoned to put my order in straight away. The units come in a 4 x 4 configuration, in a selection of 4 colours (I chose taupe, but they also offer fresh white, olive green and a radiant orchid-esque purple) and individual cubes can be purchased too. These units stack up in any way you wish, and after a bit of measuring I knew that they would fit in perfectly. I ordered three of the 4 x 4 units, 1 cube and four cupboard doors in white with taupe star pattern. The doors are also available in 5 different colours and patterns so you can customise these units to fit in perfectly with your existing décor.
When the storage units arrived I was super-relieved to find out that my (usually dodgy) measurements were correct and they fitted perfectly between the front of the caravan and the wheel arch, and the stepped configuration I chose fits around the small window on the back wall of the caravan so light can still come into the space. I put them together myself and was so excited about getting my caravan organised that I took some photos and shared them on the blog last week so if you’d like to see images of the unit without all my bits and bobs stack up you can check them out here. The best part of the whole process was filling the Vertbaudet units with all my craft and sewing goodies. Finally, I had a space for everything and I really enjoyed filling up the shelves and cupboards with my books, magazines, fabric and wool. The storage looked prettier and prettier as I filled each shelf and I love how colourful the whole wall has become just by having my favourite fabrics and notebooks stacked up. The square units even reflect the patchwork wall on the opposite side of the caravan so the whole room looks better designed with a more coherent, deliberate interior design scheme. Yes, that’s totally what I meant to do.
I had fun displaying a few of my favourite items on the tops of the units and now I can actually enjoy my collections daily rather than keeping them hidden away. I am impressed that there was even space above the units, which has become the ideal home for my sewing machine when it’s not in use – it fits there perfectly and I wish I could say that was totally deliberate but it was just a stroke of luck! The thing that pleases me most about this storage solution is that I can find what I need at a glance, everything ‘messy’ is hidden away in the cupboards and, most importantly, I can get inspiration for new projects just by glancing at the shelves and picking out a book or a favourite piece of vintage fabric to work with. Honestly, I can’t believe how relieved I am just by having everything in order. What’s that saying? Something like A tidy space equals a tidy mind – and I now finally understand just how much I have been mentally weighed down my all my piles of stuff. All I can say is, phew! I am so glad that I invested in a multi-purpose storage solution and got all of my belongings organised – it has already been worth all the effort this week, when I could pop out the caravan halfway through baking and put my hands on my cupcake cases straight away – it has just made my life so much easier already! Let me know what you think of my caravan workshop storage and I’d love to hear how you keep your own office in order so please leave me a comment below.