17 Gallon Weave Tote, Espresso -- 4-Pack
Carlisle Bus Tubs, 5" Deep, Green -- 3 @ $22.50
StorageWorks, Trapezoid Polyester Canvas Bins, Beige, Jumbo, 3-Pack -- $25
If you’re gonna live in your vehicle – and I mean live, not just travel around and occasionally return to base camp – you have to have everything with you. Right? Like, where else could it be? If you own it, it’s with you. If it ain’t with you, you don’t own it.
So, clearly, there is need to maximize storage. That’s why I built all those fine upper level cabinets, and the 9-drawer dresser, and the 6-bay trunk under the bed.
But it’s no good to just have your stuff rattling around loose in those spaces. It all needs to be contained somehow, like, maybe, in some kind of, you know, container.
And different spaces call for different shapes and sizes. So, I did me some bin shopping and decided on these:
The Weave Tote. Named thus because of the fake basket pattern molded in the fairly sturdy brown plastic. This set of four 17-gallon beauties are carry-overs from Zdog. When I first moved my bed – and myself -- into the green Dodge van, I needed under-the-bed storage. These barely fit, which meant I was maximizing my space.
They held a lot, but the close quarters of the van made for awkward and grunting efforts every time I needed to get at something. It seemed that whatever I needed – no matter how much I tried to plan and organize – was always in the backmost bin, and ALL the others had to be removed in order to get at it.
I vowed that would not be the case in Blue Maxx, where the three back-facing bays of the trunk were created with easy Weave Tote access in mind. The fourth is currently unused, but I may double up on the heaviest one to give it extra oomph. Whatever “oomph” is.
Also unused are the lids. Bah. No need for those; they just get in the way when you're lying on the bed, don't feel like getting up, and try to slither your arm down and under and back to that exact place where you know you put that exact thing – and extract it successfully..
I’m guessing that “17 gallons” means that, if I wanted to take the trouble to actually pour it in, the tote would hold 17 gallons of beer -- 1.5 gallons more than a keg. Might get sloppy, and would definitely get warm. Better drink fast.
The Bus Tubs. Anyone who has worked in the food-and-beverage industry has seen way more of these than they’d care to admit, and they were often smeared or caked with crusty, unrecognizable matter that people declined to eat.
MY tubs – clean and green – would get no such mistreatment. I had a special assignment in store for these treasured trays.
Being slightly shorter in length and slightly narrower in width than the Weave Totes, these bad boys – filled with whatever I deemed proper – sit on top of the contents of the Tote, yet snuggle within the upper reaches of said Tote. Kind of like a top shelf for the brown faux-woven bastids.
The Weave Totes hold the heavy stuff: automotive gadgets, hand tools, and other manly things needed in time of repair or maintenance. That can stay on the bottom layer because I don’t want to ever need to get at any of them.
The Bus Tubs hold lighter weight gear, like extension cords, rope, jumper cables, screws and bolts, and, in one, my golf stuff. They can be very easily lifted out and set aside, or even carried to where they are needed
unusual arrangement, I admit.
I had wrestled with the puzzle of getting the most in
those bays that I could.
I had made scale blueprints with an upper level of
shelves, but the Totes were too tall.
Another version had three shelves of shallow bins in
each bay, but some of my belongings were too big for the
spaces. Could I
customize each – one with two shelves, one with one, and one
just a big open bay? Of
course I could, but without knowing exactly what would be in
each bay, that would rolling more dice than I cared to roll.
Then, by happenstance, as I was moving things around one day, I lifted a Weave Tote out and set it on the ground. I took a bus tub, and seeing no better place to rest it, laid it down just inside the Tote. Hmmmmm. I lifted the pair up and slid them together into the bay. Heyyyy … that fits great!! And -- ding-ding-ding! -- problem solved.
The Fabric "Trapezoid" Bins.
I had only rough ideas of how wide and deep and tall my cabinets and my dresser compartments would be. My preliminary designs looked good, but they were contingent on finding the right-sized containers to go inside them. Milk cartons might have worked below, but they were too tall, especially up top. I didn’t want to have to pile stuff into them and then dig through them when I needed to find something.
I could cut cardboard cartons down to whatever I might want, but they look shitty, and they wouldn’t last long anyway. And, yeah, they’d be hidden behind the cabinet doors and all, but still, I wanted them to look like “not junk” when I did see them. Look classy, be classy – that kind of thing.
We have some 12x12x12 fabric cubes that we use at work for our t-shirt supply. They seemed too large, but I liked the lightweight concept, and they were sturdy enough as long as you didn’t overload them with heavy, sharp stuff.
As soon as I laid eyes on the trapezoids, with their light beige coloring and brown accents and handle, I knew they’d be a really good fit. The lower front side was perfect for easy access, while the higher other sides would allow for more stuff. They’re lightweight and slide easily on the smooth tempered hardboard panels.
They’re not so much for saws and drills and other heavy tool – though I currently do have those in one (at floor level) – but for pantry duty and for holding clothes, or as desk drawers full of writing utensils, index card, etc, etc. Top notch, top notch.
Plus, I love the word trapezoid. I use whenever I can. Which is not very often. I mean, it has to be somewhat legit, right? You sound like an idiot if you say things like, “He was doing shoulder shrugs at the gym to work on his trapezoids.” But you sound clever with a quip like, “His upper body had that inverted Isosceles trapezoid shape known more commonly as a ‘swimmer’s build.’” See? Clever. Or nerdy. Ok, nerdy.
Don’t even get me started on the Rhombus.
Anyway, the trapezoids fit the long way in the upper cabinets, which are only a bit more than a foot wide. In fact, the size of those cabinets was chosen specifically for the 19.7-inch-long ‘zoids.
They stay put up there, there is plenty of open space above them, and they’re just under eye level, so I can easily see and get at whatever I seek. They are working out great. Greatly? Great.
Down below in the dresser, they act as drawers, sliding in the narrow way. That gives me room for 9 of them – 3 shelves of 3 – instead of 6 with a lot of wasted space behind.
Originally, the beige-and-white color scheme was selected because I was not planning on having doors. The bins would just sit there and maybe I’d have bungees across the front of the compartment to hold them in. The color would be complimentary to the cedar paneling and the fir sticks.
And that was because I was chickenshit about doing hinged doors with latches. I didn’t think I could make them level enough to (a) look good, and (b) work. So, when I saw the tan plastic tracks, I figgered sliding cedar doors would look a LOT better. They do.
But, yes, you are right, Dwight. Trapezoids these are not. The front, back and bottom are rectangles, so clearly the marketers wanted to fool you into thinking the sides were trapezoids. They are not quadrilateral, so they do not qualify. If the top side was a straight-line slant from back to front (or vice versa) then yes, but it’s not, so it’s not.
I also scored a few small square fabric bins, dark brown. I use a couple within the faux trapezoids to separate the crap from the junk. Not good to intermingle. You end with crunk, and nobody wants crunk.
They also fit in the strange voids under the front edge of the bed. I have bottles of water in one, golf balls in another.
I am quite happy with my storage choices, Moises.