I fancy that I have honed to a science the art of packing for a weekend. I'm a minimalist - although I haven't always been that way. At the beginning of this relationship, I would bring along tons of food (because I like home-cooked meals, but didn't want to burden my love with the chore of shopping or cooking for me).
I also packed way too many clothes, and brought way too many books or magazines to read in my spare time.
Then I realized that I NEVER HAVE spare time when I visit my boyfriend. (Besides, he has lots of books, should I feel like reading.)
After several trips where I got tired of lugging too many coolers and bags back and forth (and if you don't think this is a chore, remember I live in an apartment building), I wised up. These days I carry my purse (which is actually a nice, roomy bag), my suitcase, and my laptop case. And I really shouldn't carry the latter, because I HAVE NO SPARE TIME at my boyfriend's. It's next on my list of things to stop bringing (see below).
How does one pack lightly?
It helps to make a list each time you unpack from a trip. Be vigilant about noticing what you don't use. And make another list, of things you wish you HAD taken along.
Here's today's list of things not to bring again:
- my laptop
- so many magazines (yes, I'm a slow learner)
Here's the list of things I want to remember to take next time:
- a nicer toothbrush (the one I've been using is too hard)
- one bag for all my toiletries (I've been trying to make do with two: my usual cosmetics bag, supplemented by a toiletries kit I only use on trips - but it's becoming a hassle to remember which things I keep in each bag)
- my cell phone recharger (I remembered it this weekend, but I forgot it the last couple of times)
Here's what the minimalist usually packs in her suitcase:
- one pair of pants for each day I will be there (not including the day I arrive, when I will be wearing that day's pants)
- one t-shirt for each day I will be there, plus one extra in case of spills or stains
- one pair of wool socks for each day I will be there, plus one extra pair
- one pair of underwear for each day I will be there, plus one extra pair
- one wool sweater (which I usually wear to travel)
- a pair of slippers
- my toiletries kit, which contains: hand lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, and a small bottle of baking soda (which I use as a deodorant)
- my cell phone recharger
- condoms and personal lubricant
- pads or tampons if I need them
- lots (LOTS) of plastic bags in all sizes and shapes, stashed in an outside pocket of the suitcase: grocery bags for dirty laundry, Ziploc bags for holding underwear or condoms, and large, clear lawn-waste bags for anything extra (like the laundry I take to my parents')
In my purse/bag I carry:
- my keys
- my wallet
- my cell phone
- my day planner and a small notebook
- my cosmetics bag (which contains: a small date book, emergency tampons, lip balm, cover stick, hand sanitizer, dental floss, toothpaste, travel toothbrush, nail clippers, a small mirror, Zeel homeopathic salve (for bruises), Bach Rescue Remedy Spray (for when I'm stressed), earplugs, a pen, a small tape measure, an eyeglass cleaning cloth, lozenges, and Advil Extra Strength Liqui-Gels (in case I get a migraine))
- my digital recorder (for taking notes while I'm driving)
- a bottle of water
- a couple of clean facial tissues
- a small shoe horn
- a tuning fork (don't ask)
I try not to carry an extra pair of shoes or boots (besides the ones I'm wearing on my feet when I travel). I normally wear yoga pants and t-shirts, but if I need something special for a night out, or extra work clothes if I know I'm going to get dirty, I try to keep it simple - as few extra pieces as possible.
I don't pack pajamas, since I either wear nothing to bed, or (if I'm someplace where I want to be more modest) I wear the clothes I've worn that day (yoga pants and t-shirt, remember?).
I stopped travelling with shampoo/conditioner and soap years ago, since everybody I visit always has plenty to share. I don't have a skin-care regimen, so I don't need facial cleansers or moisturizers.
I always wear a sports watch with a built-in alarm, so I don't need a travel alarm clock.
When I take my laptop, it goes in the laptop case along with the adapter and mouse, and a couple of books or magazines. The entire case often fits inside my not-full suitcase, which cuts down on the number of bags I have to carry.
That's it. If I could get it down to even less without compromising my comfort, believe me I would.
copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow