Tomorrow, I leave for France.
Today, I pack.
I may have packed and moved out of my apartment by the end of August, but after living out of suitcases for the last 6 weeks, my belongings are – at best – scattered. I did my best to pack my things in such a way that I could access what I needed throughout these weeks without too much trouble, but inevitably there were things I needed that had to be dug out. Not to mention that when I was packing, it was 90° and humid. Not exactly in the proper mindset for thinking through what I would need when it dropped from 80° to 50° in just 24 hours. (#NewEnglandProblems)
The last few weeks have been an exercise in ingenuity, trying to figure out how to wear the same 2 reachable long-sleeve things on repeat without people at work noticing. Also, as a girl with an admitted shoe habit, wearing the same pairs over and over has been borderline cruel and unusual punishment.
Anyway, after 6 weeks of rummaging through my things (as carefully as possible) you can imagine that even the most meticulously packed suitcases became a bit disheveled. So today I re-pack.
Since I personally do not own multiple sets of luggage, thus far I’ve been occupying my parents’ large suitcase in addition to my own suitcases and other miscellaneous carrying vessels. Frenchman and his dad arrive tonight, bringing with them 2 empty suitcases for me to fill with all my crap. This also means that since there will be 3 of us, I can take 3* checked bags! Music to my fashionista-meets-hoarder ears.
When I tell people I’m taking 3 big suitcases, I get one of two very opposite reactions. One faction laughs and shakes their heads at me, clearly thinking I’m insane for having/bringing that much stuff. These people think I should have 1 bag and a carry-on and call it a day. After all, how much stuff could you really need? The other faction stares at me, jaw on floor, marveling at HOW in the WORLD could you move across an ocean with just suitcases of clothes?? I like these people better. They allow me a smug sense of betterness for “roughing it” with just 3 bags full of every possible type of article of clothing for any potential occasion, weather, or mood.
Personally, I’m torn in the middle somewhere. As someone who never checks a bag for any trip, the thought of bringing this much stuff overwhelms me and makes me feel guilty. Why guilty? Great question, I’m basically the only person judging me for it. On the other hand, as I packed the stuff that made the short list after the Great Purge of 2015, I realized I actively wear every single one of those pieces so I struggle to find what I would even do without. Ultimately, I’m moving, not going on vacation so I need to strike a balance between backpacking and Kardashian.
So now we come to Packing: The Sequel (Return of the Suitcases).
After packing it all the first time around, I learned some things.
- Don’t pack seasonally. I made this mistake. I started packing early and in the heat of summer, so the first case I packed started with jackets and heavy sweaters at the bottom. While logical at the time for trying to keep at least 1 suitcase sealed up and ready to go, it made the bag way too heavy. Winter stuff is heavier, kids. Must distribute weight.
- Add bags, not stuff. Beware the overweight fees. It’s actually cheaper to pay for an extra checked bag than to be fined for your one bag being over the weight limit. You’re better off packing slightly less in more suitcases than fitting all your stuff in as few bags as possible.
- Think about the weather. Be aware of the weather both at your destination and for whatever interim days you have between packing and leaving. You may be in flip flops now but when you arrive in Alaska you’ll want something a tad warmer somewhere on the top layer of your bag.
- Think about the weather – Part 2. Bringing 20 sweaters in various weights, colors, and shapes is probably not necessary for a country where winter is mild. As a New England girl, sweaters are my favorite things. I was packing all my most favorite ones when Frenchman reminded me that it just doesn’t get that cold in Paris. Out went a whole pile of my most beloved things because I just plain didn’t need them. Heartbreaking? Yes. But necessary.
- Don’t have a meltdown. I super hate packing, and this kind of packing adds a whole other dimension of pressure. Remain calm. Nothing’s going to get folded, rolled, and stuffed if you’re on the floor staring blankly at your mountains of belongings. Have a plan, and just keep going.
Hopefully I can take some of my own advice. Maybe I’ll even manage to make a few more practical decisions and leave unneeded things behind.
Stay tuned, and wish me luck!
Paris: Here I come!
Dramatization: Do not attempt
*Full disclosure: I technically am taking 3 suitcases plus carry-ons. I had a total of 3 people so it only made sense…
** Fun Fact: I didn’t spell “suitcases” correctly the first try the entire time I wrote this. Not once. What gives, fingers?