Making Sense Out of Packing

When it comes to packing for a trip or vacation, most of us dread it. So many times, I'd say to myself, "where do I even start?". Usually this mental state of chaos would result in haphazardly throwing things into my bag at the 11th hour; usually forgetting something. One time it was shoes, another time it was pajamas, and most recently it was the fabulous vintage handbag to an equally fabulous dress I wore to my sister-in-laws wedding. Had I followed my "rules" for well planned packing - then I wouldn't have had to resort to a $7.99 TJMaxx fill-in handbag.

With summer underway and vacation season is at it's peak, I'm sharing some packing tips that have worked for me. Typically, I try to use them. When I do, I'm well packed and know exactly where to find what I'm looking for.

  • Determine the weather for the location you're visiting. This will help you decide on whether to pack a suitcase full of tank tops and shorts or pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • The week before your trip, start putting a list together of items you don't want to forget. Just get it down on paper. Don't be afraid to add to your packing list, all other obvious items including pajamas, workout gear, jackets, camera/charger, etc. not part of the outfit planning mentioned below.
  • Take pieces of scrap paper and on each one, write each day of the week you'll be gone. Lay them across your bed so you can see how many outfits you need to pack for. If you have the forecast, you'll have a guide for how to dress for each day (assuming there's always a margin of error). Under each paper, lay out what you'll plan to wear for that day (don't get too caught up on a Wednesday vs. Thursday unless the weather is drastically different or you've got a special occasion to dress for.) The idea is that you plan enough outfits in total. Be sure to lay out undergarments, belts, shoes, handbags and jewelry too. It really helps to see a total outfit.
  • Be sure to set aside your "travel outfit" that wouldn't be packed as well as an outfit for a special dinner out or any other evening affair that you might change clothes for. In this case, for example, you might make a paper for "Saturday night" too.
  • Lay all outfits in your suitcase with the first day of your trip on top. You can use the scrap paper to separate each outfit. If you're packing for kids, you can even put each outfit in a gallon zip lock bag and label each one with the day of the week. Okay, I admit I've done this for my stuff too. But packing is easier and more organized this way than stuffing everything into your main bag.
  • Since most of us like to shower and use our toiletry items before they're packed, they're usually the last to go in the bag. Try packing these items in the toiletry bag first, then pull them out as needed when you're getting ready to travel. After I'm done using the items, I place them back in my toiletry bag, minimizing the chance of leaving anything behind. I also put everything liquid in a ziplock bag. It has saved me many-a-messes in my bag.
  • Containerize similar, but random things in one place. For example, all travel documents, maps, passports, etc. should be grouped together. All electronic items grouped together (camera, charger, cell phone charger, headset, memory cards, etc.) I love, love, love the zip pouches by Jane Marvel for packing items like these.
As you pack for your next business trip, girls weekend or family vacation, try some (or all) of these tips and see if you feel that much closer to being a well planned woman.


Stop Running on Empty

I can't tell you how many times in my previous life (okay, it wasn't that long ago) that I would wait until I absolutely needed to fill up the gas tank. I couldn't be bothered. I'd find my gas light on thinking, "oh, I can make it to school and back on the 'reserve tank'". Fortunately, most times I was right, but what this created was a rush the following day to fill up as I was on my way to another commitment. I recently had to call a good friend to tell me where the nearest gas station was since I was not in my 'hood' and I was running on fumes (literally). I ended up going 15 minutes out of my way with two hungry kids screaming in the backseat.

I soon realized that I'm going to need gas indefinitely and I'm much better off filling up when my tank is 1/2 to 1/4 full. I eliminate the stress, the rush and I'm able to select a gas station with a good price (rather than the one that's closest). Another idea is to fill up on the same day every week. Either way, I get rid of the garbage and tidy up with a baby wipe while I'm waiting for the tank to fill up.

Wouldn't it be nice to transfer that same analogy to our lives? If we keep going and going, without much planning, eventually, we run out of fuel. We're exhausted, we're not taking care of ourselves, and we feel depressed or resentful for taking care of everyone else but ourselves (moms - can you relate?) I can't tell you how many days I'd find myself still in my pajamas at lunchtime because I'm tending to other things (typically related to my kids). I'd feel like crap (and look like it too). It brought me down, day after day. If you work outside the home, I imagine getting dressed in the morning is a priority but you're likely waiting until the very last moment to walk out the door. We literally run out of gas.

Start by making yourself a priority. If that means waking up 15-30 minutes earlier than your children or when you otherwise would, that small extra bit of time will allow you to honor yourself. You'll hear more about this in future posts, but much of my inspiration comes from the FlyLady, who insists on getting "dressed to the shoes" first thing in the morning before we even go downstairs. Wear clothes you feel great in. Carve time out of your schedule for things you enjoy, even if its just reading a chapter or two of a book you've been dying to dive into. These baby steps toward honoring ourselves help us keep our tanks full; allowing us to be better mothers, better women and happier people.


Paralyzed by Perfection

I'm one of those people that is paralyzed by perfection - if I don't have time to do it perfectly, then I wait until I do. Unfortunately, I rarely have the time to do everything I want to do and thus my "projects" or even simple things like folding the laundry, get put on hold indefinitely. My guest bed (just outside my laundry room) has been turned into a permanent landing station for clean, unfolded and now wrinkly laundry.

I've been wanting to start a blog for sometime, but find one excuse after another to prolong its genesis. I figured my topic of choice for this blog was fitting to just suck it up and start it already. I mean, who cares it's not designed by a cool designer or it doesn't have it's own cool masthead and logo (yet)? No one. So here it is.

There are a lot of different personalities out there, but if you're anything like me, you get great pleasure out of knowing there's 'order' and you're prepared for anything life throws at you. Now, in reality, that doesn't always happen and thus we're on this ever evolving continuum of learning from our mistakes and becoming more prepared the next time around and more sane as a result.

The purpose of this blog is to work toward that goal of being a Well Planned Woman. A woman who is prepared for what life throws at her. A woman who's summer camp forms were filled out and sent in on time so her son didn't miss out. A woman who doesn't have to stress about "what's for dinner" because it's been planned in advance. A woman who's not scurrying around 10 minutes after she should have left the house for an appointment trying to find her daughters other shoe. Won't you join me? We can learn from each other, vent with one another and hopefully move forward on that continuum of being Well Planned Women together.



Becoming a Well Planned Woman | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates