I don’t travel often enough, which could explain why I’m just no darn good at packing. I need more practice! Do you hear that, universe? Hook me up with some more trips so I can learn to pack. Please!
I always think I’m putting plenty of thought into it, or so I assume. I make lists. I lay everything out and look at it. Still, I slip into panic mode and end up second-guessing myself needlessly, thereby making bad choices. I try to imagine myself actually wearing what I’m planning to pack, but that’s where I draw a blank.
I’m a “mood dresser,” which basically means that I can’t successfully decide what I’m going to wear until no longer than 10 minutes before I have to put it on. How the heck do I know if I’m going to feel like wearing a dress or pants? Print, color or black and white? It’s an almost guaranteed full-blown crisis considering I could be thousands of miles from home with only one or two choices of garb. Including more choices would mean traveling with way more than I need. So why can’t I just make up my mind and stick to it?
Until I did some reading about the art of packing I realized I wasn’t employing the art of mindfulness to the art of packing.
Most recently, I knew I needed an outer shell in case it got cold (even though I was heading south during fall break), PJs, make-up, undergarments and outfits for each day and each night. So then how on earth did I leave the house without a razor, my deodorant and shorts in case it got too warm for pants (which it often does in the south)?
I’m still disappointed in myself. Part of the problem was the uncertainty of the weather. That intimidation had me thinking I’d need the opposite of whatever I decided to pack.
Now, why would I tell myself such a thing?
It turned out that I didn’t need a third of what I’d packed, and it’s a good thing since the weight of my suitcase was a non-issue for riding in the trunk of the car. However, if I’d been leaving on a jet plane, I might have had to pay for that few extra pounds of clothes.
So how does one pack correctly? For me, it means anticipating my activity as best as I can and choosing clothes I would ordinarily feel comfortable wearing in those circumstances. I often go wrong by thinking I’ll want to wear different clothes just because I’m in a different place. It makes more sense to be mindful of the fact that I’m the same person no matter where I go. And if I don’t want to wear vintage bell-bottoms in New Jersey, I’m probably not going to wear them in Mexico either.
But really, comfort is the name of the game. And by comfort, I actually mean that I feel good and confident in whatever I’m wearing. If I take my favorite articles of clothing and make more than one outfit out of them, I can’t go wrong. It’s also a great way to conserve space in a small suitcase. In other words, one pair of pants and two different tops, one dress and one jacket that goes with everything. You get the idea.
From now on, I’ll be sure to not only make a list, but check it twice, if only to avoid leaving my crystal deodorant behind.