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It’s that time again. I’m flapping like an old fishwife,
trying to work out what to pack for our three week adventure in Northern Spain.
We’re off in less than a fortnight so we’re getting close to the off. And that
means we are getting close to packing time. This year I have given each of my
family a box to fill with whatever they like. They can take millions of pairs
of pants and no hats if they like or they can take 10 pairs of trousers and no
socks. It’s up to them really.

The reason for this is that I know my family like to
overpack. They produce new outfits each day while I bum around in the same old
pair of shorts for weeks on end. It’s happened before. They are crazed packers, fitting in as much as they could get away with. Until now there was no way of knowing if it would all
fit in.
The only way I’d know was when we’d get to the packing the
van stage and we’d suddenly find that we’d run out of room very quickly and everyone
would have to reconsider what they take. The last time we headed off I
sacrificed my space for dresses and tinkles and sprinkles that ensured every
night was dress up for dinner night. Meanwhile, I stewed, literally.
The thing about the boxes is that I know they fit in the
van. They sit on the back shelf above the Slidepod side by side in a heavenly
line of neatness. If you want something you go into your box and you get it,
then you close up your box again, stick it back in place and the status quo is
maintained. Boom!
Am I anal? Maybe. But when it comes to packing camper vans,
space is everything. In packing you must never forget that there will come a
time when everything needs to be moved and stashed away so you can go to sleep.
It’s kind of important. And for someone who has previously done that 65 nights
on the trot, it’s safe to say it can get tedious if you take too much crap with
you.
It seems that no matter how much storage you have, you’ll
never have enough. For that reason I have compiled my art of packing light top
ten list of campervan packing dodges.
1                    
Give everyone a set amount of space to fill and
don’t let them go over. Make sure they don’t over pack useless items, like
millions of pairs of shoes they’ll never wear. Be draconian. Be strict.
2                    
Roll up clothes as they are easier to pack and
get less crumpled. But don’t be tempted to over pack and stuff your allocated
space to the brim. Allow a little room for laziness.
3                    
Take CDs out of their cases and put them in a wallet
to save carrying loads of extra stuff. Or, better still, take an iPod (don’t
forget the charger!).
4                    
Decant spices and herbs and oil into smaller
tins or bags to save space in your kitchen cupboard. Put butter in a kilner jar
so it doesn’t go everywhere. Don’t get hung up on kitchen gadgets. A sharp
knife will suffice.
5                    
Invest in square plates and bowls. It’s amazing
how much space they can save. Consider taking a plancha for frying as it’s cupboard
shaped and doesn’t have awkward handles.
6                    
Don’t waste cupboard space with duvets and
pillows. You’ll need them every night anyway. Cupboards should be for clothes
and kitchen stuff.
7                    
Don’t overpack or it’ll be a nightmare to get
it all back in. Kitchen cupboards that are over packed are a pain as you
need to take everything out to get the useful stuff at the back.
8                    
Take a pup tent to stash all the unnecessary
stuff you don’t need day to day.
9                    
Find a place for everything – agree it with the
rest of them – and everything will be found in its place.
10                
Have a practice with everything in its place.
Then see how it is when you put the bed out and stash it all away. Then halve
it and start all over again.

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