Thursday, November 4, 2010

how not to pack: my (long) story...

Hi all,

Before I left for my work trip the lovely Thriftymomma asked for some tips on packing. Unfortunately, I am a terrible packer. So perhaps this whole exercise should be an example of how not to pack :) Regardless, I thought I would share my "techniques" with all of you.

 The first thing I always think about is the purpose of the trip. In our case, we combined a small vacation with work travel. Unfortunately, the work part required more dressy business outfits, while keeping in mind that the weather would be cool for the fun parts (coats are shitty for packing, and I hate wearing/carrying them while traveling). Normally I would bring a pair of pants, change up the tops for each training night, and then use the one suit jacket. But I had bought a gorgeous Anne Klein suit dress that I wanted to wear, so I had to throw that in the pile. Anyway, I really struggled with how to pack a suit jacket, boots, layers, jeans, an extra pair of shoes, pj's, and comfort all into one suitcase. Turns out, I needed two suitcases (yay for Southwest's 2 free checked bags). 

So I started out with a half-assed outfit plan. This involved taking a piece of notebook paper and writing down the days I'd be gone (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc...) and then what pieces I planned to wear each day (and each day had to be divided into halves, the "fun" half, and the "working" half). Then my goal was to fit those pieces in a carry on, which would then be packed into the checked bag (we usually shop in Milwaukee and I wanted to be able to have two bags on the way back if needed). Easy, right?
(all the clothes before being packed)
(packed clothes)
Well, this is when things usually turn to shit for me. See, although the suitcase is full, I'm not done packing. I still needed to pack toiletries, sodas (I always bring soda if I'm going somewhere I've never been. It's my coffee/crack in the mornings; don't judge), and a couple other things. My hair crap alone could probably use it's own bag (and of course nothing is small enough to go in a carry-on). Also, since I had packed the carry on in the checked bag, I was pretty sure the bag was well over the 50lb limit. So I decided to unpack the carry on and just use them as two separate bags.
(Yes, that is my own pillow. Thank goodness it squishes. And I wasn't kidding about the soda...)
Ok, so I packed the two bags, but then remembered that I had one of those flexible duffle carry-ons, and decided to use that instead of the smaller suitcase. There was no way to attach the two suitcases for rolling purposes, and the duffle bag straps could be looped around the larger bag's handle for easier handling.
Then the shit really hits the fan. That paper list of good intentions? Gone. Instead, in a panic, I started throwing things in the suitcase that I didn't need. The shirt I haven't worn in 2 years? Check. Impractical extra shoes? Also in there. An extra pair of everything else just in case there is some sort of clothing apocalypse? Probably in there! I may have cried and made myself a drink at some point.

In the end, I unpacked everything and started over. Packing is probably one of the reasons I don't travel very often. I think the only thing I do right when it comes to packing is rolling clothing. Although I will say that I wore every article of clothing once with the exception of 1 dress and 1 turtleneck. And I managed to only pack two pairs of shoes. I also left the pillow behind, which I deeply regretted during our stay in Chicago (the bed had crappy horrid pillows). While packing for the return trip (I spared you all pictures of that mess) my bag weighed a full 48lbs.

Ah, I'm tired just revisiting all of those memories. Do you all have any packing quirks? Do your hair products ban you from being one of those classy business travelers that can just pack a carry-on and go with it? I can't be the only one...

Tomorrow I'll show you what I actually wore on the trip :)

4 Click here to comment :):

Linda said...

I truly have issues with packing. I always leave something cruical behind-a brush, my contacts, more than 2 pairs of sandals for a trip to a ski resort-sort of thing. I do love those roller duffle bags. I sympathize deeply!

ThriftyMomma said...

I hate packing because I'm a mood dresser...and I don't know what kind of mood I will be in and what will strike my fancy at that time...I hate packing! oh ps: You WON the giveaway!! Yippy!!!!!!!!!! :)

ThriftyMomma said...

Hiya again K!! I got your email but I didn't get your last name. Don't worry I'm a mom of 4 kids, 1 husband, 9ducks, a million chickens, two dogs, a gold fish named sally, a rabbit..hmmm that's about it....LOL not a freaky stalker or anything and I won't give your personal info out to anyone....just to let you know:)

K said...

Linda-I think the only time I'm a "normal" packer is when I head down to FL to see my parents. If I forget something, it can always be bought (I try not to forget clothes..hehe) But when I travel to unfamiliar places, it's like I lose my rational thinking capabilities and sort of panic. :)

Thrifty (I enjoy calling you that and I have no idea why)-I emailed you back :) I didn't know you have ducks! Are they indoors? I'm not worried about you being a stalker, and I'm stoked to get the necklace! I already have an outfit planned :)