We are 90% done with the pack-em-up-and-move-em-out week here are our hacienda. One daughter is moving to her first apartment, the other daughter to her dorm for her freshman year of college. Not gonna lie, it was an adventure these last few days!
As a part of the process, we let our daughters manage their own packing (with our input and support.) Part of that educational experience (for all of us) was letting them figure out how to create their own organization, make choices, and consolidate what they were packing. And also pack carefully enough so that they could still get everything in the car -- and in the dorm/apartment!
It made me realize that there are some elements to packing and moving that are learned, and some that are innate. So let's talk "packing or pack rat?" for this week's Friday Five.
1. Are you a sorter or a pack rat? What I mean by that is, do you select what you are taking with you (on a trip, a new assignment, a vacation), or do you pack with abandon (overweight suitcases be damned!)
I try to think about it ahead of time. But I usually wind up a) bringing more items than I need, and b) missing something I really need. Scatterbrains like me just don't get all the details right.
2. Who first helped you learn how to pack? Or did you just come into it by osmosis or natural gifting (and need)?
My mother taught me everything I know about fitting things into spaces, but it didn't come easily. First it was learning how to properly load a dishwasher:
After that it was just one big Tetris game for just about everything. Which is funny, because to my knowledge my Mom has never played Tetris. But that's how it works. You find the space where the things fit.
3. What's your favorite kind of suitcase? Duffle? Soft-side? Wheels? (I am personally a fan of my "expanding zipper" wheelie suitcases. Saved my bacon on many a return trip home!)
I love short trips where I can take my REI backpack, but the wheelie suitcase does just fine for most stuff. Anal-retentive confession, though: it drives me nuts when I see my Beloved has used her expanding zipper when she doesn't need to. I've been known to compress and zip it up after the fact to save space in the car.
No, I'm not seeking help - why do you ask?
4. Do you have that "packing gene" -- or do you pack and cram what you need into every available space?
Not sure what is meant by this: I thought the packing gene was what allows us to pack and cram what we need into every available space! I enjoy sorting and organizing things (glasses sorted by size and function, what what?) - but this is a development that has come in the last fifteen years or so. If any of my high school classmates are reading this they're probably wondering who I am and why I'm ghostwriting this blog post for Scott, once the proud possessor of the messiest locker at Wakefield High School.
5. What's one thing you've learned in traveling, packing or storing your belongings that you think everyone should know?
Don't be afraid to pull it all out and start again. You can fit it all in there, comfortably - it just takes work!
Bonus: What's one thing you always get wrong about packing?
I am well-known among family and friends for leaving at least one item behind on every trip. Cell chargers, books, shoes, clothing, car keys - you name it, people have had to mail it to me. We're considering just bringing extra cash along to leave behind on our next trip.