I have never been accused of underpacking. After all, I have to make sure I have enough underwear and at least five pairs of shoes and more than plenty pairs of pants and all manner of shirts, sweaters and tank tops for almost every trip. But my impending trip to the midwest this time of year is hitting me - and my monstrous suitcase - extra hard. The 10-day forecast for Bloomington was OK. Mid 60s to mid to high 80s every day. Madison, Chicago and Minneapolis temperatures aren't as clear. Sometimes in the 50s. Sometimes up to 90. Mostly in the low 80s and those odd times of the day when the temperature is in the 70s. That means I have to pack for a 40-plus degree temperature change as well as for any kind of occasion I am apt to be faced with dressing for.
Step #1: Staring at the mess
For the past few days, I haven't bothered to wash dishes, pick up around the apartment, put away clean laundry or dispose of empty Diet Coke cans. Knowing that I'd be going on vacation, I let the apartment go to shit in anticipation of the "final night clean-up," a ritual for me before I leave for a trip.
Step #2: Sizing up the enemy
There's only so much space in my suitcase no matter how much I might wish there was a vast and endless void waiting to try and be filled. This limited space is all I've got to work with. This is the stage of the packing adventure where I go through denial and anger and then, finally, move on to acceptance. Now, it's time to pack.
First I go through my dresser and pull out shorts, jeans, T-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts/sweaters. Then, I dig through my closet and rip down dress pants, skirts, button-down shirts and jackets. All of said articles of clothing are amassed into a mountainous pile from which I pick as I begin "the process."
Step #3: Skirts, jackets and pants go first
Step #4: Next, shirts and underwear/socks/bras/pajamas
Step #5: Shoes go last. Tomorrow I'll add the bathroom stuff
Step #6: Zip it up. I'm always amazed when everything actually fits.
Because I am a media whore, I will be bringing my laptop computer with me. Included in my laptop bag is my wireless mouse, digital camera, rechargable batteries and charger for said batteries, extra memory card for digital camera, cell phone, charger for said cell phone, 2006 U.S. Atlas, books, three DVDs, a magazine (Adbusters), plug/charger for laptop, photocopied article I promised to bring to my friend and my 10 favorite new CDs and their cases or liner notes. My friend is a media whore, too, and I love to share.
I think I'm about ready for my trip. All I have left to do is wash a bunch of dishes and pick up this pigsty. There's nothing worse than coming home to a dirty house.