As a 32-year-old grown a** woman, I can accept that there are some things I’m good at (like gimp) and some things I’m pretty terrible at. Some days it feels the list of stuff I’m bad at is miles longer than the list of I’m good at, but hey that’s life, right? Right now I’m struggling with one of the things I am absolutely terrible at, packing. I’ve been packing badly for as long as I can remember. As a kid we took trips to the cape, New Hampshire, and Disney World pretty regularly, and I packed poorly for every single trip. My mom would always let me pack my own bag, and I would fill it with necessities such as my blanky (only til I was 17), toothbrush, and my Barbie and The Rockers Van. Sad to say, not much has improved.
I go away a decent amount, but it’s usually just two or three nights, and I pack like I’m going around the world in eighty days. In about a week I’m heading to Aruba for (gasp) seven days and I am right now knee-deep in packing anxiety. How the heck am I going to pack for seven days when I fill up a suitcase for a long weekend? Maybe I need to re-examine my current packing system, and chuck it out the window.
- Start obsessively checking the weather. Just put safari on the weather channel’s website and hit refresh continuously until I leave. I’ll also check historical records, farmer’s almanac’s, any weather website that pops up in a bing search, if there’s a chance it has something about my destination’s rainfall, I’m reading it. And for the record, you would be amazed at how many times a weather forecast can change in a week, and every change means a re-pack.
- Iron everything I own. Ok maybe I don’t literally iron everything (why would I waste my time ironing linen), but it certainly feels that way. I basically pull out everything that’s seasonally appropriate and start ironing, so fun!
- Plan, plan, plan. Ok this is where the crazy comes out to play; trying to figure out what outfits I’m going to need on the trip. And how do I figure this out? By simply using my big old brain to imagine every possible situation that could arise while on a trip. Starts off simple enough with me thinking ‘I’ll probably want to do at least one nice dinner’ and ends with something bonkers like ‘what if Prince Harry invites me to a charity polo match and oh my God I need to buy a formal hat’. So basically I pack an outfit for any and all possible situations.
- Suitcase audit. At some point (or even at multiple points) after I first pack my suitcase the wheels in my head start turning. ‘Do I really need an outfit for a regatta gala? What are the odds I get invited to one?’ Then slowly but surely other doubts start creeping in, ‘how many pairs of jeans do I really need’, or ‘am I really going to use seven different clutches’ and of course ‘I probably don’t need three pairs of brown knee high boots’. And here is where I start to audit my pack job. I will seriously take everything out, re-plan all my outfits, and hopefully cross a few off the to bring list. Oh and I have to re-iron everything because it got a little wrinkly in the suitcase.
- Repeat step four, multiple times if needed.
Ideally this process is finished the night before I leave, but more than likely I’m running around like a madman the morning of the trip. At this point its wheels up time, so there’s the potential I last minute throw all sorts of crap in my suitcase, I might need seven different nail polishes, you don’t know. And I probably have no idea what clothes are actually in my suitcase at this point; I just hope I didn’t mess up the keep and toss piles. Odds are, even though I packed my three prong curling iron that I haven’t used since 2003 and my baseball glove, I probably forgot my toothbrush and my left shoe, but who cares, I’m on vacation mofo’s.