Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Packing Perfectionism

I should be packing. We are leaving in a couple of days and my suitcase is empty. This is uncharacteristic for me as I am a strong believer in advanced packing. My strategic strengths run full throttle when it comes to packing suitcases. I leave the driving/flying details to my husband, suitcases and snack bags are my domain. Or were. For some time now, my husband and children have been responsible for their own personal effects. While they may scoff at my over-preparedness, it is rarely I who arrives at our destination without underwear, shampoo, or matching socks.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the concept of wardrobe capsules. It has transformed the way I shop, pack, and organize my closet. I start with a capsule- basic pieces that will work together in the same or similar color palette. In choosing the capsule, I have to factor in the "where" and "what" of our trip. The "where" is usually firmly established in regards to specific location but it also includes factors such as weather and casualness scale of said destination. The "what" is sometimes less established and creates some packing dilemmas as I consider all the potential scenarios that play out in my mind. For example, what if we get a last minute invitation to the White House for a last- blast- before- the- new- occupants- move- in- party? I should pack for that...cause you just never know. Actually, and more morbidly, my "what-if" scenario most often involves a funeral and whether or not I have a proper and solemn enough outfit if the occasion should occur.

There is also a process to packing--a method to my madness. It involves lots of floor space. I have to lay it all out by day & activity complete with the proper "foundational garments", accessories and shoes. Once I have it all organized, I can start the packing. Plastic baggies are also my friend. I haven't invested in the vacuum sealed ones yet but even the standard Ziploc ones do a great job at keeping things organized and clothing items arrive less crumpled. I found some new packing hints here that I intend to incorporate this time. The final step for me, is to pack it to the hilt. If the pre-selected and coordinated clothing items do not fill the entire suitcase (and I do not anticipate shopping on my "what" list), then any and all remaining space is filled with all my "what if" items. This has perhaps created, on occasion, a few strained muscles and additional airline charges but overall has served me well.

I have now motivated myself to clear the closet and go get packing. Tell George and Laura to forward my invitation.

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