It’s agent l’s birthday today, and we’ve spent the day doing laundry and packing, cause it’s getting to be that time.

Anyone who has ever gone on holiday with me knows I am a terrible packer. I tend to blindly throw everything in a bag at the last minute and wind up with too much and too little of everything. I’m unbelievably unmethodical so things get lost in the bottom of the suitcase, I assume I’ve left them at home, only to find them when I unpack. It’s a nightmare.

I’m trying to be better this time, because I’m not just packing for my summer adventure, I’m packing up everything. Absolutely everything must go into three suitcases, two to be stored at a friend’s house, one to take with me. Between clothes I left behind in Baltimore when I went to Turkey, the two suitcases I managed to leave Turkey with, and the winter clothes that were left behind in Turkey that finally came back to me- on April 2- this is four or five suitcases to be whittled down to three. A fair amount of stuff I need to take with me is also taking up room- I’ll need trousers, (everyone who knows me knows this rather horrifies me) for everyday wear where I’m headed. I need to pack linens and towels. Certain essentials like pyjamas and housewear and socks. Shoes and sandals. Toiletries. Notebooks and journals.

Most of the essentials. This is disaster.

Most of the essentials. This is disaster.

But here’s the rub. Here’s what separates the true traveler from people like me. People always assume I’m a good traveler cause I lived in Turkey for four years. I am not. I am a homebody. And homebodies have stuff. I got rid of all my books and the last of my furnishings last year, between Turkey and Panama, and that wasn’t too bad.

But now I’m facing a terrible dilemma.

This morning I counted 49 dresses, not counting ones that have worn themselves out and are only good for the house or the garden. The oldest dates back to when I was 18 and the newest I bought as a payday treat last August. (Always wash your stuff in cold, ladies!) I whittled them down to 45. I determined that I can leave (for a rural destination where I’ll be wearing trousers and slickers almost every day) with no fewer than 10.

How can I leave my beautiful soldiers behind?!?!?!

How can I leave my beautiful soldiers behind?!?!?!

I am running out of space, and it’s making me very sad.

Any people who are competent packers have any advice? Or alternately anyone who has overcome a hoarding disorder who can explain to me in terms I’ll understand why maybe I don’t need to put 7 knee length black dresses into storage?

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7 Responses to Packing

    • agentlabroad says:

      I agree that works great for travel, but I’m literally packing for the rest of my life. And I do not want to wear one color for five months. And I have no idea- I should have said this in the post- what I’ll be doing in November, and therefore what clothes will be useful, which makes tossing 2/3rds of them out permanently hard.

  1. Where are you going? Is it the end of the earth? If not, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much I can procure even in the most remote of locations (isolated Bangladeshi village, anyone?). It may not be what you’d ordinarily choose to wear/sleep on/dry your face with but after a while, these things don’t seem to matter much anymore…

    • agentlabroad says:

      Excellent tip for travel! Another I picked up from a friend, sh goes to thrift stores and buys a small wardrobe of disposable items and leaves them behind as she moves from location to location, so her bags get lighter and she has more room for souvenirs etc.
      Since I’m moving to go live somewhere, though, I guess my issue is more, “how do I whittle down what I already have into something functional that will get me through the next year?”

      • Ah, the ol’ whittle down. A much trickier kettle of fish. I come from a family of chronic hoarders so I’m probably no use to you on this one…

        Intrigued to find out where you’re heading next…

  2. mytravelingjoys says:

    Packing for travel has become much easier for me since we moved to Istanbul in 2010! Simply rely on layers, leggings, cardigans, etc. Also, rolling clothes or placing them in large Ziplcoc bags or space bags where you suck the air out really help too. That way you can bring more with you! 🙂

    We used several of the space bags at Christmas time to bring back all our US goodies including a 2-person sleeping bag from REI! They’re amazing! Good luck on wherever you are headed and keep us posted on your adventures!

    • agentlabroad says:

      Yeah- if I have time I’ll definitely pick some of those up! There are all kinds of great tips for how to pack to travel- and few tips on how to consolidate your existing wardrobe to go live somewhere else! Hopefully I’ll do this smart so I can be the first!

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