In today's episode, we will see how Slush packs for vacation. It is sure to be fun and exciting, and may even prove enlightening to those of you who are less deranged than our dear hostess. Now, on with the show!
The first thing I like to do is start getting things ready by placing them on a nice, big workspace, like my bed. You could use the floor or a table or whatever you like, but the bed works for me. Plus it is tall, and the little one can't pull everything off of it. The big one can, but he knows better than to mess with Mommy when she's packing.
Next, I like to get out all my packing delights. They are packed in a box appropriately labeled "Packing Delights." I kid you not. Then I sort them into three piles, like thus:
Right, so that looks like 4 piles. The thingamigigger on the far left is actually one of those shirt folder things that is supposed to keep your clothes looking all fresh and neat. I can't work it to save my life. So it doesn't really count. It's dead to me.
If you look closely at my packing delights, you will see that they are really not the kind of packing things you would buy at a packing store, should such a delightful thing exist. No, no, my friends. None of that stuff for me. But only because I haven't met that store yet. Oh my, would I ever love to. Unless it had stuff like that shirt thing I mentioned earlier. But I must stop mentioning it, because it is dead to me.
If you look very closely, you will see that my packing cubes are actually little zippered holders from things I have purchased over the years, like sheets and pillowcases and such. This one is from Hatchling's curtains, which were purchased on clearance at TJ Max. I love TJ Max, but it stresses me out. Too much stuff. I can only peruse the luggage and purses section, which makes me swoon, and then breeze through the home things, which I like but which stresses me out. Too much stimulation. I need a quiet, simple kind of place to keep me from freaking out. TJ Max is not conducive to that. Neither is Shoe Carnival, which is next to it. I would have trouble going in there even if they were giving shoes to my whole family for free. I'm just not sure it would be worth it. We've strayed from packing, haven't we?
So once I have my little baggies all ready to go, I start collecting items to place in them. I think I'm starting to sound like a simpleton. Starting? Bah ha ha. Personally, I like to start with my panties, bras, pajamas, swimming things and L's boxer shorts (you didn't know he was a boxer man, did you?) and his swimming things. And then I place them in the baggies. My panties and bras go in a pillowcase holder. It's the perfect size. The first time TSA went through my luggage and strew my neatly folded underwear all over a table, I vowed it would be the last time they would do that to me. And hence a system was born...
Here you see the following: In the upper left, my jammies, a pair of jeans, and my swimming suit, board shorts and a couple of tank tops. In the upper right, I have L's boxers and his board shorts and rash gaurd. In the lower right, mine and L's beach shoes. They actually live here full time, cause they are sandy and I don't like sand in my Arkansas home. I also don't like hurricanes in my Arkansas home, but I haven't found a bag that can stop that. In the lower left you see my panties. As if the humilitation TSA made me suffer through wasn't enough, here I am putting a picture of them on the internet. Baffling, I know.
Next, I like to get all my shirts and pants out. Generally, I like to do this at the same time so I don't end up with orange pants and nothing to wear them with but a fuschia shirt. Just kidding- I don't have orange pants or a fushia shirt, but you get the point. So, I spread all my shirts out one by one, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles in each one before placing the next on top and repeating the process. After I have all my shirts collected, I begin the magic folding. Unless it is a summer trip, which this is, in which case I place my shorts on top of the pile, like so:
Now I fold the shirts in half, up over the shorts, like so:
And then I fold the shirts (with shorts inside) in quarter (?), like so:
And then I slip them into a medium sized bag. I have to use a large bag if it is a winter trip. I love summer trips.
After I have the essentials bagged (under things, swimming things, shirts and shorts), I'm ready to start putting things in the suitcase.
I always like to put a laundry bag in both mine and L's bag, and I also need lots of reading material on vacation. Someday I'm going to get a Kindle, and boy will packing be easier from a reading material stance. I once took 7 hardback books along for a week in Ireland. And I read them all, thank you very much. Much as I love Ireland, there's not much to do in the evenings if you don't drink a lot. And nothing is open but the pub, because you can't run your business if you are busy drinking down at the pub. That's one of the things I love about Ireland. But dang, was my bag heavy...
I still need to throw in a few essentials, like my make up bag, our travel first aid kit (between Hatchling and myself, we will no doubt need it), loads of sunscreen, and toiletries. I place all liquids in Hefty freezer bags, and if it is something I feel is especially dangerous, I double bag it. In the outside pockets I will place my extra shoes. Since I'm just taking sandals for this trip, they'll fit anywhere. So maybe I'll put them in the bag after all. I suppose it just depends on how crazy I'm feeling Monday night.
And that's my system. Now in case you are worried that I have been left without make up and underthings until we leave, fear not! This is just a test run. I took my shirts out and they await re-bagging on my dresser. I will just have to throw all this stuff in my bag Monday night and Tuesday morning, and I'll be ready to go. But the hard work (deciding what to take) is already done. I like to do this little test a few days before crunch time. One, it makes life less stressful. It also tells me if I am taking too much, too little (ba ha ha- as if that has ever happened!) and gives me a few days to mull over the details and make sure I'm not missing anything. I need this since I pack for myself, two small children, and L. And just so you know, I do make L pick out his clothes that he is taking, but then I take care of just about everything else for him. He takes care of me on vacation. It's a pretty nice system we have going.
The great thing about the little cube system is that it is easy to pull things out and rearrange them or switch out bags between multiple suitcases if you are having problems getting the weight under the limit. Which would never happen to someone traveling with 7 hardback books. No way. Also, it's easier to unpack when you get where you're going. And really, my clothes are always relatively unwrinkled upon arrival. And relatively unwrinkeld is about the most I strive for in life. Seriously.
Something else I do is this: I leave one complete change of clothes, skivvies and all, out of my suitcase. This goes in a bag and is either crosspacked into L's bag (figuring if they lose a bag, hopefully they will only lose one of our bags), or it goes into my carry on. I do the same for L. And the kids, though theirs go in their carry ons and double as a spare change of clothes in case of whatever bodily fluid or food stuff neccesitates the changing of the clothes.
And that's all I've got folks. Hopefully, you don't feel like this:
This is what H2 did while I was packing. Apparently he doesn't share Mommy's love of organized suitcases. Or maybe he just had a rough morning. I'm not sure. He's cute though, isn't he?
Oh, and say a prayer we make it. We're still flying through Houston. They won't reroute us since we are using air miles. Nice way to pay back your customers, guys! So I'm kind of freaking out. A little....