I’m heading to Ireland in 9 days. That’s 9 seconds, in OCD/Packing Anxiety/Month=Forever time. The purpose of the trip isn’t funny (I’m researching Ireland’s Magdalen laundries), but my prep for the trip is HILARIOUS.
I’m “packing light,” since we'll be on the go most of the time, schlepping whatever we take, everywhere we go in a rental car the size of a Spam can. So I’ve got it down to one 21” rolling backpack, and one carry-on tote. Easy, right?
Phase I—Essentials: Pack 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, an extra pair of trekking sandals, and a couple changes of underwear. Make sure clothes are multi-purpose (casual clothes double as PJ’s, casual clothes dressed up with lightweight black sweater, etc.). Add a small toiletry bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, travel washcloth, extra floss picks, extra AA batteries, makeup. Lay out layers and a jacket & pashmina for the plane to maximize space in the backpack. Pack a clear quart-size bag with shampoo, conditioner, Ayurvedic Pitta skin oil, lotion, cologne, mouthwash, lavender essential oil, face cleanser, hair serum.
Phase II—Stuff: Pack poetry books (gifts for our Air B&B hosts), Kindle, chargers, inflatable neck pillow, a daypack, a small purse, 4 more pairs of pants, collapsible walking stick, 2 more shirts, extra packing cubes, 6 pairs of socks, a fleece pullover.
Phase III—Regret: Unpack. Start over. Repack until the backpack will zip shut. Leave books, walking stick, fleece. Pare down to 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, some underwear. (You can do laundry in Ireland, honest.)
Phase IV—Panic: But what if it rains, and I need an umbrella? What if we go on a picnic and need a tablecloth? What about this first-aid kit? What if I finally have time to read the 20-lb Umberto Eco novel I’ve been trying to get through for 15 years? What about my cool “mountaineering” clothesline, survival tool, egg carton, compass (for when I’m lost in the mountains), and funky wool boot socks? Won’t I need a snorkel?
|Can I fit a ukelele in there??|
Phase V—Deep, Cleansing Breath: If you were staying home, where the weather is almost identical to the weather in Dublin right now, and maybe went to Sioux Falls for a day to visit friends, what would you wear? need? use? Yep. Take THAT. (Research shows they have STORES in Ireland.) Dump both bags out on the bed. Go downstairs to the sofa and take a nap.
Phase VI—Do-over: Pack 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 3 pairs socks, an extra pair of trekking sandals, and a couple changes of underwear. Add a small toiletry bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant. Pack a clear quart-size bag with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, lavender essential oil. Pack Kindle, chargers, inflatable neck pillow.
Phase VII—Done: Zip up bags and leave in hall closet, out of sight. Do NOT touch them again until you load them in the car for the airport.
Phase VIII—Panic: The night before you leave, wake about 2 a.m., retrieve bags, dump everything out on the bed, and start over. At the very last minute, remember WHY you’re going. Shove a bunch of stuff in the bags and go.