Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Process of Elimination

Everyone needs a packing advisor, in addition to a fairy godmother. Decision making is so much easier when someone else is helping.

I had put aside 12" of closet space that was intended to go on my 4-week trip in my 24" suitcase. I knew I didn’t really need all those clothes and they would definitely not all fit, but I just couldn’t figure out what to eliminate.

My friend and fellow traveler came over yesterday to offer an opinion, bearing in mind what she was taking and what we might share.

After laying out all the possibilities on my bed, we logically walked through my clothes.

What do you need for dressy occasions? Two things at most. The black cardigan will work for both if it’s cool. Put back the black shawl and black jacket.

What about long pants? Mostly jeans, so two pair. One pair of dressier pants. The navy capris can go back in the closet.

And on and on through shorts, tops, jackets, shoes.

She was great. “I know you want to bring that yellow shirt, but you don’t need it. If you’re really attached to it, take it. But remember you don’t need it.” I’m not sure why I couldn’t have figured that out, but it was just one too many decisions.

By the time we were done I had put back about half of what I had originally considered taking. I will easily be able to fit it all in without even expanding my suitcase.

I find that I am being tempted today to sneak back a thing or two. My husband read the long-range forecast for Rome and Venice, which predicted rain every day next week. Maybe an extra pair of walking shoes in case my one and only pair gets wet?

I’m sure I will never even miss one of those things that went back into my closet. Besides figuring out what to wear is much easier when the choices are limited.

Our Eurail tickets have arrived. Four days until we are out of here!


Blogger Richard said...

I think this is the difference between the way men and women pack.

If it was me, I would pack:
4 underwear,
4 pairs of socks,
1 pair of pants
4 shirts
1 jacket / sweater

If I expected I needed fancy dress (which I never do), that would be an extra pair of pants, shirt, jacket, tie and (ugh) dress shoes.

I would expect to buy shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste, razors, etc when I got to my destination.

In fact, I would probably not pack the jacket, as I would carry / wear it with me.

Unless I was in the middle of nowhere, I would expect to be able to buy other article of clothing if need be.

Sofia packs way more than I do and than I consider necessary. There is quite a bit of disagreement over what is necessary and what is not. I make her carry her own bags. This does not endear me to her.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Aileen said...

Four Weeks?!?!?

I'm so jealous!

Let's get together for lunch when you get back...would love to hear all about it.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I don't often take much but still always have more than I need, a point driven home when everything was stolen on the 2nd day of a week-long trip to the Caribbean and South America.

My biggest problem is figuring out color scheme (brown or black) so that I can cut down on shoes and purses. I know. I'm a total girl. Nobody but me cares if I mix them up.

Have a great trip!

3:10 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I don't leave for Australia and New Zealand until the end of June, but I am already panicking about clothes. I will actually have two suitcases when I leave in my car on June 28, since I will spend two weeks before and three weeks after my "downunder" trip at the beach in So. Calif. But four weeks downunder where it will be winter is making me slightly insane with the packing issue. The trip is costly enough so I don't want to spend money on clothes and sundries while I am there. I will use an online guide to help a bit. Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to your blogging about it.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- This is an admirable approach. I am traveling light, but not this light. Probably somewhere between Sofia and you!

Aileen -- Yes, lunch for sure when we get back!

Kristin -- This is going to be a shades of BLACK trip. I still care that my shoes somewhat match what I'm wearing.

Kate -- You certainly have the added complication of packing for two different climates.

I may not be posting as often on this trip since I will be bumming time on my husband's laptop and the Internet may not be so accessible.

We are weighing the choice of paying $100 for a week of unlimited Internet access on the cruise portion of the trip, versus a ridiculous charge like $25 an hour. There may be few or no posts during that week!

3:31 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

You're going to Italy and worried about how much clothes you should take? Nonononono! Leave lots of space in your suitcase for all the fabulous Italian fashion you're going to come across and decide you can't live without!!

3:44 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LaCochran -- Given the weak dollar, I may not be able to afford too many Italian fashions. I'd much rather invest in Italian FOOD, which may affect my waist size but not my suitcase!

6:29 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Good point--Mangia! Have a fabulous adventure!

8:46 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

layers are good, i go for layers. but like to have a choice of what to where while away as well....

but my packing has got more like M's of late (tho i pack waaaay more clothes than him) - as I'm packing re-chargers, cables, more re-chargers etc. etc.!

3:43 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

have a great time - but that goes without saying.

re packing on npr last week they had an interview with some packing 'specialist' who actually wrote a book! about how to pack to save space - apparently you are supposed to bundle and not fold. he also said rolling takes less space than folding, but more than this bundling.

I can't remember his name, but maybe I can find out his name - if I do with the link to how to bundle I'll send it along.

italy - food yes!! look forward to your travelogue

10:17 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

I found it here is npr story on how to pack everything you own in a suitcase!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

For the past almost nine months, I have been living the week out of my suitcase and I have gotten very good at packing exactly what I need. Five pairs of pants (gotta have a new one each day, sorry, Richard), six tops, one nightgown, two pairs of socks, swimsuit, two bras, six pairs of underpants, three hair scruncies, one wear-anywhere sweater, one hoodie. I always pack my nightgown on top, so that I can fish that out of the suitcase when I get into the weekday studio and fall into bed. I have tops that I think of as more dressy and I wear those when I have an important meeting or out to dinner. I have a dopp kit that contains shampoo, liquid soap (also good for washing out spots on tops), toothpaste, toothbrush, perfume (wrapped in plastic bag), small vial which contains aspirin, tums, nyquil in caplets). My big vice when it comes to packing for a big trip? You probably guessed it, Barbara, BOOKS! I brought ten paperbacks for my month-long class in Paris and had read them by the second week. I found a used English bookstore in Paris to tide me over until I got to London. Before I go, I put Bookcrossing stickers on my paperbacks and release them into the wild as I finish them, making more room in my suitcase. I also bring a cloth bag to carry around incidentals on day trips... like my sketch book and my travel watercolor set. OH! I also make labels with my computer before I go, so I can send LOTS of postcards! I love getting postcards from my friends when they are traveling, so I send lots when I go anywhere. If I am staying for a long time, I enjoy finding out what the local laundromat looks like. I found the one in Paris so fascinating, I took tons of pictures. I'm sure the other people thought I was slightly insane, but when I got back to my real world, I made a set for the middle school French teacher who used them in her classroom. I know you are going to have a GREAT time!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lettuce -- I think your idea about layers is a good one. I put back a bulky sweatshirt and added a light sweater and a vest!

Mouse -- Very interesting advice on packing. According to this I have entirely the wrong suitcase, but at least I can now pack it well by BUNDLING!

Kelly -- Sounds like you have the art of packing down to a fine science. I will not be taking 10 books, but everything else sounds very reasonable.

9:54 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

OMG- I am the WORST packer.
My 3 1/2 day jaunt to Vegas included 3 dressy dresses, 2 capri pants, 2 casual skirts, one pair of jeans, 1 pair of dress pants, 3 dressy blouses,3 t-shirts, 2 pair of high heels, 1 pair of wedgie sandals, 2 flipflops, 1 pair of flat walking shoes.
I even bought a skirt and another pair of shoes while I was away.

God help me if I eveer go to Europe for a month.
Yea, I need an intervention.

3:47 PM  

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