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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

The Perils of Packing

Packing has never been something I'm particularly good at.

It's odd, because if I sit down and think about it, my mother was always a phenomenal packer. She would coordinate every piece of clothing to compliment the other. Each item was versatile, multifunctional, wash & wear, neutral.. and all those other boring adjectives, that belong far from my own wardrobe and stylistic preferences.

I consider myself somewhat of a brilliant organizer as well... but in different fields.

Packing, not so much.

Here are my problems.

  1. I tend to pack unnecessarily. I envision myself in certain situations that, of course, call for each and every outfit in my closet. I refer to this misconceived mental preparedness as an almost baffling stylistic anticipation. What if I'm invited to a gala? What if there's a costume party? What if I suddenly have to go hunting? Rarely does anything manifest that couldn't be celebrated with a casual t-shirt and a comfy pair of jeans.

  2. A true delusional trait of mine, is how much I’m entirely convinced that I will, miraculously, be much smaller once I reach my destination. I pack too much, too small. l remember a piece of advice once given to me from an extensive traveler (my mother) "If you don't wear it here, you won't wear it there." Never have truer words been spoken. It pains me to say this, but in all my travels, I have never been able to heed this advice. On more than one occasion, I have left the country hauling an excessive amount of crop tops, bikinis, strapless summer dresses and bootie shorts... and haul, I do. In fact, haul is all I do with these tiny, too tight, useless items...

  3. I overpack... in the worst possible way. Of course I will need 32 t-shirts, 15 skirts, 50 pairs of underwear... etc etc. In saying this, I am absolutely aware that I predominantly wear the same outfit almost every day. It's like comfort food on a rainy day... you pick your favourite and you roll with it. I am no exception to the rule, regardless of how much I think I might wear.

  4. I pack for the holiday I want. Not necessarily the holiday I'm going to get. If there is a beach nearby my destination, I pack for lazy summer days and dips in the pool. It doesn't cross my mind that there might be rain, let alone week-long monsoons and arctic winds... I didn't bring a jacket to Ecuador! 12 strapless dresses, yet. Jacket? No. While I was in Quito, it rained every day for a week. Torrential downpour.

  5. I fill my suitcase with nonsensical items. Like what? Exercise equipment is a great example. I have packed dumbbells, leg weights, resistance bands... you name it! I RARELY work out when I'm at home, but as soon as I get that private, seaside cabana, no doubt, I'll be up every morning at dawn, running on the beach. I'm delusional... and my arms, my shoulders and my back usually have to suffer the consequences of my absurdity.

  6. Remember the words I used to describe the outfits my mother would pack? Versatile, multifunctional, wash & wear, neutral. Not me. I wish it was me, but it's never been my style to know my audience, for lack of a better term. I tend to load up on items that don't match - like tartan skirts and flowered blouses, Packing for a recent African safari, one might think I would have concentrated my wardrobe around muted neutrals and naturally-toned fabric such as shades of khaki, greens, and browns, No. In addition to some other unmentionable fashion faux pas, I decided on two black tank tops. One said, in bright white bold letters, across the chest, "I'm only guilty of a damn good time" and the other, in neon, "Making pour decisions."

On MORE than one occasion... I have found myself thinking, "what was I thinking?" Well, I wasn't thinking. At all.

All I can say, is Thank GOODNESS for malls and credit cards.

I will also admit to leaving things behind because my arms just can't carry the load one step further. I have a few tried and tested tricks...

  • Do a load of laundry with your unwanteds... and then never return to pick up your items.

  • Hide things under the hotel bed.

  • Forget a bag in a restaurant.

In saying this, I have been chased down the street by many a concerned citizen ~ "Miss! Miss! You forget this!!!" ... and then I just have to continue hauling it around until I can successfully activate Plan B or C or D.

I do have other packing problems. The amount of various vitamins I haul around is nothing short of ridiculous. I tend to convince myself I am finally embarking on a lifetime journey of self-care and health. This fallacy has led to carting around an abundance of essential oils, bath salts, face masks… and more! I'm also brilliant at lugging along numerous books and magazines I intend to read on the plane. Never. It's sleep, movies or watching the plane inch along, micrometer by micrometer, on its way to my destination.

In saying all of this, I know there are people out there who are MUCH worse at packing than I am. I once travelled to Hawaii with a girl who brought her scale. Her big, clunky, bathroom scale. In her carry on.

No word of a lie.

This time, I have resolved to finally get it together.

The packing started much like every other time I have packed... I took almost everything from my bedroom closet and tossed it onto the bed, in my spare room. I had FULL intention of packing it all.

Much to my dismay, I suddenly realized I would need 3 packs, should I wish to continue in this manner.

Now for the tricky, time to learn my lesson part…

  • I removed anything that no longer fits me - which takes me to about 80% of the original load.

  • I downsized from 25 shirts to 4. I think I’d originally had more… but I’m already embarrassed by 25.

  • I removed all exercise equipment. Yes, I had already packed two resistance bands.

  • I decided on one pair of pants, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts and 1 sweater.

Every single item I’m taking can be used multipurpose, doesn’t wrinkle and can easily camouflage a red wine stain… (very important)

This is an enormous step for me.

Will it work?

I don’t have the answer to that.

I am, however, fully aware that with some time left until departure, who knows what else I’ll manage to sneak in.

But as of right now…. I’m properly packed.


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