Confessions Of A Chronic Over-Packer

I am the girl scout of packing.

For example: you forgot sweatpants? Don’t worry I packed three pairs. You need tights? Oh girl, what color do you need, cause I got ‘em. Your rental car reservation didn’t work out? No sweat. I have a small Prius in my suitcase.

Ok, ok, one of those examples isn’t true. But the rest and much, much more are. By simply picking up a suitcase, I can tell you exactly how much it weighs and if you’re in danger of paying the over-sized bag fee…why? Cause I’ve been that girl unpacking her suitcase and moving hairdryers and underwear into her carry-on to avoid the exorbitant charges.

What to do? Well, any new behavior comes from a change of habits. I wish I could write a victory article right now. I wish I could write an I-have-seen-the-light-and-now-I’m-a-perfect-packer-article. But, to be honest, I can’t. I can see the goal, and I’m on my way there. But the key point is—I’m on my way.

So, instead of pretending I’ve got this all figured out and offering you six tips for the perfect packing experience, I’m going to offer you my new packing game plan.

After each trip, take a post trip check-up: 

What didn’t I wear/use?

What can I do better next time?

In December and January, I made trips to California, New York, and Chicago, and here's what has come of my post trip check-ups:

3 Revelations From The Post Trip Check-Ups:

1.     Why did I pack for Kim Kardashian?? (i.e. pack for the trip you’re REALLY going on).

For my trip home to California over Christmas, I packed copious amounts of formal wear. Lots of dresses. Lots of skirts. I wore one skirt to a Christmas Eve service and lounged in the same boyfriend jeans, black long-sleeve shirt, and puffy vest for the rest of the two weeks. Because guess what?? You just don’t need to play cards and sip coffee in dresses. Pack for the trip you’re going on.

2.      Diamonds are NOT a girl's best friend, shoes are. (i.e. be strategic about your shoe packing)

During my recent trip to NYC, I visited the city with some first-timers. Which means, we walked. A lot. I wore my high leather boots during the day. When we went out in the evenings, to save my feet from the blisters that were forming, I put on my second pair of shoes: ankle boots with heels (Oh Christina, you fool!). Shoes are a bad packer's nightmare. No more than two pairs for a weekend is preferable. However, you NEED versatility in your shoes when packing. Give your feet a break. If I could go back, I would have toured in tennis shoes or brought flats and tights for the evenings.

3.     No, you do not NEED to wear this *insert favorite item of clothing* this weekend. (i.e. let it go)

As I slipped my clothing into an overnight bag for a weekend in Chicago, I was suddenly attached beyond belief to my striped pencil skirt that can only be worn with the non-interchangeable shirt that needs one more pair of shoes for the outfit to work. Here’s the deal: it would have been okay to leave the skirt at home. It would have been there when I got back, clean and unwrinkled in my closet. The quality of my trip would not have lessened if I had left the skirt (which I didn’t wear!) sitting in my closet.

So, one day I'll be this man in the picture above: walking off into the sunset with my tiny carry-on. Because the day I start packing less will be the day my life begins to look like an epic multi-million dollar Hollywood film all the freaking time. But for now, I'm going to keep on doing these post trip check-ups and evaluating how I'm doing. I'm taking this whole packing thing one step at a time.

Next up, DC, Texas, and Pennsylvania. And I'm not packing for a Kardashian this time. We’ll see how this all goes.