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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Ward


what do you pack if you only have a space 1.5 x 2.5 metres to go at? and within that you have to think about food, cooking, clothing, sleeping, things to do, entertainment, music. and don't forget that you've got to be able to do your daily things without everything getting in the way and the space becoming messy. yes. it's difficult.

for the first 9 months of owning herby, i only ever slept in it on my own once. i'm not sure how i managed this because it's a tiny space as it is and accommodating two or even more people can be challenging. the bed is single but pulls out from the top to become a double which then transforms pretty much the whole of the back of the van into a big bed. the main things to be considered when this happens is that you then can't access the cupboard, but you do then have 'double' the storage space below the bed. sometimes when packing it can be beneficial to have the whole bed pulled out so more breakable things can be properly packed in below the bedframe. leaving the toilet roll in the cupboard when you've already pulled out the bed and you're both ready to go to sleep is pretty annoying.

working with small spaces like this require storage thought out to such precision that means you always have access to what you need at any given time. everything must have a specially measured home to go in, because otherwise as soon as you've turned the first corner half the things in the back have broken. things have to be safe and secure, and the walls are the best places to do this as floorspace is limited and necessary to keep clear.

ABOVE : the pinky orange spray painted box was put on the wall within a week of owning the van, because it's imperative to have a tiny drawer space for all the tiny things that you'll loose otherwise and are important : spare keys, screws, change, recipts. the shallow wooden rack was a later addition as i found the large drawer i have beneath too spacious to keep jars of food in as they roll around. it seems silly but just adding this little spice rack made organisation instantly so much easier and i always keep enough things in there to cook a meal so i always visually know i've got something to eat.

especially when there's two of you staying in there, you really can't take that many clothes along, there just isn't the room. and besides, you can't differentiate between clean and dirty so everything by default just gets dirty, you have to live with it. choosing the right clothing to take is hard, especially when nights in england are always pretty chilly, but imperatively you need clothes that you can layer up or down easily and won't look too ragged too quickly.

one thing no one ever tells you is actually how bad you smell. you really do. and you don't notice until you go into someones house and that reek you thought was the fields is actually coming from beneath your jumper. it's disgusting, honestly. you think people don't notice but they really do. because of this i'd like to focus on using fabrics that have antibacterial and smell-proof properties. also underwear is a nightmare - that stinks too. bamboo is the most obvious example of a good material to use, and samurai sportswear have extensive ranges of antibacterial fabrics.

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