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Simplified Packing

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SUMMER 1967 – My suitcase was neatly packed a week ahead for the annual road trip to Colorado. My favorite orange shorts and saltwater sandals were ready to go. When you’re ten, life is simpler and there is less to worry about; packing is easy.

As we get older, out suitcases tend to get fuller. The single best thing one can do is resist overpacking. When we go on vacation, isn’t the idea to get away from life as we know it? When we pack too much we cause ourselves (and others) trouble and pain. Our bags are too heavy, making them a burden to handle. Our cars are loaded from the trunk to the backseat to the overhead rack. Instead of leaving the clutter behind, we drag it along, clogging up the road to a carefree vacation.

Family rule
If you pack it, you carry it. This means one suitcase and one carry-on. Everyone will feel self-sufficient and more comfortable.

Shoes – How many can you wear at one time? Take your most comfortable two pairs, and leave the rest behind.

Clothes – Check your destination weather on the Internet (or make a phone call) and pack accordingly, i.e don’t bring heavy jeans for 80 degree weather. Plan your clothes around a few basic colors to simplify choices. If laundry facilities are convenient, pack less by planning to wash clothes during the trip.

Toiletries – Go ahead and take your favorite shampoo, but get a travel size or fill a smaller plastic bottle. Better yet, keep your toiletries prepacked, and you’re one step closer to being ready for your next trip.

When you pack your reading material, leave the hardback copy of War & Peace at home. Think thin, packing a paperback and magazine. Be realistic about how much reading you will actually do.

Let them pack for themselves, but supervise with parental wisdom. After all, you’ll be the one shopping for the forgotten swimsuit or lugging the overpacked tote bag when she gets tired.
On the other hand, not having what you need causes discomfort and wastes time at your destination. Sure, buying a toothbrush is easy, but obtaining prescription medication is more complicated. Your best bet is to use a packing list which you customize to your needs; i.e. business vs. pleasure, Alaska vs. Hawaii, auto vs. plane trip, camping vs. hotels. Keep the list at the point of use–with your suitcase for easy reference when packing.

Packing List
July 2003 – I confess…this organizing consultant does not relish packing. I have a lot more clothes now, a home to manage, a husband and family. Can I apply the simplicity of youth to packing for a vacation? A list will help ease packing anxiety.

√ Underwear
√ Socks
√ Nylons
√ Sleepwear
√ Bathrobe (unless hotel provides)
√ Shirts
√ Sweatshirts
√ Sweaters
√ Pants
√ Skirts
√ Dresses
√ Suits
√ Hats
√ Ties
√ Jacket/Raincoat
√ Exercise wear
√ Swim suit, cover-up
√ Belts
√ Shoes

√  Shampoo, conditioner
√  Comb, brush
√  Deodorant
√  Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
√  Sunscreen
√  Makeup, skincare
√  Shaver, shaving cream
√  Nail care
√  Medications
√  Vitamins
√  Cotton balls, q-tips
√  Band aids
√  Tweezers
√  Contact lens solution, trays
√  Spare contacts
√  Prescription glasses
√  Hand lotion
√  Sunscreen, sunglasses
√  Bug repellant
√  Feminine hygiene products
√  Blow dryer (hotel may provide)
√  Curling iron/hot rollers

√  Reading material
√  CD player, CDs
√  Tote bag
√  Laundry bag
√  Camera, film
√  Snacks
√  Bottled water
√  Stamps
√  Writing material
√  Address book/PDA
√  Cell phone/charger
√  Travel alarm clock
√  Umbrella
√  Flashlight
√  Hostess gift

You’ll enjoy your vacation and coming home if you arrange to have things covered in your absence. Plan well in advance of your trip, so you don’t stay up all night before your trip taking care of business.

√  Arrange to have mail held or picked up
√  Stop newspaper
√  Arrange for pet care
√  Arrange for garbage cans to be set out
√  Arrange transportation to the airport
√  Set light timer
√  Adjust thermostat
√  Leave itinerary & phone numbers with a relative
√  Leave key with neighbor
√  Water potted plants
√  Arrange watering