Next week, Andres, Isabella, and I are going to Europe for 12 days – super excited! We are headed to visit his sister in Amsterdam, then from there we will make our way to London and Paris!! I cannot wait because I have been dreaming of going to Paris for so long. Plus, we have never been to Holland to see where Dani, Andres’s sister, lives so that is going to be such a fun adventure. But there is one problem… I am a terrible packer. When I say that, I am not joking around. It is a widely-known fact that I am an overpacker. There, I said it. Happy now, family?? Andres has been trying to get me to admit to this fact for YEARS, but I always make up excuses. Every time we go away on a trip, I can see his eyes rolling and feel both his and my family’s glances as they see me and my bags of luggage headed towards them. Even the scale at the airport prepares itself for my over-the-weight-limit suitcase. Not that being an over-packer is some giant issue that needs rehab or anything, but now that we are traveling with a baby and a soon-to-be second baby, it is something that I clearly need to address. So, I figured why not take you all on this journey with me because, let’s face it, I cannot be the only overpacker in the world (though I am quite good at it and deserve a few honorable mentions).
Rule #1: Do as I Say, Not as I Do
Let’s start out by establishing some guidelines: I am new to this whole “minimal packing” or “pack what you need” thing, so you’re going to have to bare with me on these rules. But, first off, do not do what I usually do. That is, take out all of the clothes that you love from your closet and dresser and lay them out in preparation for what to bring along. It’s just a bad idea. That is how I constantly get myself into suitcase trouble. Therefore, and I cannot stress this enough, do NOT… I repeat… DO NOT do what I am notorious for doing: bringing along things that you know you’re most likely never going to use. And don’t make excuses for it because then you’re no better than me and that is the whole point of this post.
Rule #2: Decide on outfits
Instead of doing what I usually do, think about the trip (where you’re going, who you’re going with, and the weather) and plan out some outfits. For me, it is a 12 day trip, in early April, in which two of those days consist of longer flights. What I am doing is planning out two comfortable flight outfits (those will probably consist of jeans, a tee and some sort of sweater/light jacket), and then 10 outfits for daytime exploring in Europe. In addition to those, I will bring some nicer going out or dinner outfits because we will be doing some of that. Holland and London are both known for their rain and it is only early April, so I shouldn’t be bringing along any sexy little shorts, sandals, or summer dresses because I am just not going to get the chance to wear them. Besides, I’m pregnant so nothing can be all that sexy on me (just kidding… pregnancy is beautiful).
Rule #3: Prepare for the unexpected… to an extent
Usually this is my excuse: “But what if I end up needing this? What if it rains, or snows, or is randomly hot one day?! I will regret not bringing [ insert item here ] along!!” No. No, you won’t, Sarah. Because the chances of that said item being used are very slim. I used to bring shirts or pants just because I really liked them, not because I planned on actually wearing them. What can I say? I told you I was a really bad packer. However, preparing for the unexpected is a good thing. So say you’re going to Mexico – bring a light sweater along, or a cute pair of pants, or a summery long sleeve shirt because there could be a chillier evening where you will want to have something to be a bit warmer. But rather than just bringing something to have it, plan it into your outfit; that is being practical.
Rule #4: Always bring the necessities
For us girls, “the necessities” can include a lot of things (i.e. makeup, razors, Aunt Flow products…). I would always start preparing my clothes first, overpack my bag, and then realize there were tons of things that wouldn’t easily fit because my overpacking didn’t leave enough room. Then I would take forever going through all of my already-packed clothes to decide what to take out and it was like starting all over again. Don’t do that. Make sure you have the necessities in mind.
Rule #5: The one item you cannot have too much of…
Some people do not agree with me on this (*AHEM* Andres), but there is one thing that I personally feel you really can’t “overpack”. That would be underwear. Seriously, you can never have enough underwear. Think about it… it is the one thing you never want to run out of.
Rule #6: Roll up your clothes
In order to preserve space in your suitcase, roll up the clothes that you’re bringing. Shoes obviously take up a lot of space, but clothes can fit into small spaces if they’re packed properly. I don’t know why this technique took me so long to go along with willingly, but it did. In any case, rolling up clothes is a space-saver and if you’re worried about your clothes being wrinkled, well… most hotels have irons.
Hoping that this little “how not to…” post was helpful for any overpackers like myself! I’m sure it gave you all some insight into my irrational mind when it comes to packing. I’ll let you know how my own packing goes and for anyone with additions to this guideline, feel free to shout them out 😉