Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Alles Gepackt

Packing is an art form. Yeah, actually that's rubbish. Packing can be done by anyone with less than half a brain cell. But good packing, clever packing, the kind of packing that leaves you with everything you need and does not leave you with €60 worth of excess baggage (worse still... it was dictionaries... BILINGUAL FRICKIN DICTIONARIES). . That requires some brain cells. And I think I'm fortunate enough to have those particular cells, lacking some others perhaps, but I like think these were ones I happened to be blessed with.

So for those of you who are more of the 'chuckitallintothebagandhopeforthebest' persuasion, some Chloe Tips on Packing....

1. Start EARLY!
And that doesn't mean early of the morning that you have to be out of the house an hour earlier than you usually are anyway....

One of the many keys to better packing is being able to take what you want, not what you've got. Oooooh that shirt would be great with those trousers OR that skirt... oh wait.... I wore it 2 days ago and haven't got time to turn it around? Yeah... that's rubbish. But if you know you have a trip coming, pull out some things you love, pieces that are your failsafes, your favourites. Set the aside. Don't wear them in a time frame that you know you you can no longer turn it back around. For me that's usually 3 days, but for a big trip when I'm busy, a week.

2. Stop. Think.
So you've pulled every favourite item you own- including your slightly risque length silk tea dress and your leather trousers, out of your wardrobe and it's now hanging there, begging to be packed. But what's that? You're going to a desert country in the rainy season to speak for a professional conference. Oh and the area of that country is generally conservative.... yeah. risque length silk dress I can't raise my arms in without exposing my behind... not so great. Once you've got the pieces you love, you know you can wear comfortably, and you know they fit, time to start assessing which of those pieces fit your needs.

Things I don't think I'll need in Africa in July....

3. Make Lists.
I am a list whore. I make lists for everything you can think off- shopping, to do, to wear, DON'T BUY AGAIN EVER lists, lists of things to sell, lists of things to pack, lists of outfits....
When it comes to packing, you should now have a collection of clothes that:
You love
Are clean/ironed/travel ready

But chances are you'll have either more than you need or less hanging there, or you'll have enough for 15 separate outifts, but not one thing that will work in 2 outifits...

List the days you will be away. List any requirements for that day (smart for meeting/hiking up a mountain/visiting annoying aunt with 5 hairy dogs....)

Next to those days, list your preferred outfit.

If your schedule is a bit more fluid, just keep a running list of how many outfits you know you have for the number of days you know you'll be away, plus a spare or an extra one for an extra occasion.

Once you have those preferred outfits, you should be able to see if you need an extra t-shirt that will work for the skirt for you meeting just as well as with shorts for a day of local sightseeing or if you really really really need those suede heels which someone to walk ahead with a spirit level in case you are at further risk of tripping over...

Things to consider...
How many days can you or will you conceivable wear something- I know I will likely wear a pair of city shorts and a skirt two days each but a shirt or top only once before it hits the laundry pile. Would it therefore be wise to take an extra t-shirt that might work with either my shorts or my skirt?

Will any of your outfits need substantial accessories- do you really want to need 5 belts for 5 outfits?

Have you got enough appropriate underwear to go with all your outfits? If you do not have 4 days worth of pale bras but you have packed 4 days worth of pale clothes you either need to go shopping or you need to rethink.

4. Mirror Mirror....
At this stage, I personally like to try anything on I'm not certain about. There are, I'm sure worse things than being stuck with an outfit on a trip that you're not comfortable in because it doesn't quite hang right or those jeans are now falling down a bit more than the slightly annoying stage, but frankly it can feel like it's the end of the world when it happens. If you're not sure if the outfit is going to work or the dress is going to make it over your boobs or the edge of your shoe is going to rub, try it.

In the theme of reflection, now is a good time to shop for anything you need. You can see what you have, what works. You know if a pair of denim shorts are going to be the difference between having enough beach wear or not. If you may need a few extra pairs of your favourite colour pants so you have a spare pair....

How I spent my Saturday.... Dress, Primark. Assorted Tropical Defences, Boots.

A Zara return.....

5. Get on with it.
Now you've got the clothes you need, get them packed. Don't leave it so late that all those well planned outfits end up being screwed up and shoved into a bag that only just fits it all.

Fold the heavy stuff, put it at the bottom of the bag. Fold the lighter weight things. Put them on top of the heavier things so the light things get less crushed. Make sure it fits into the bag or the case you want to use. Bear in mind if you want to bring anything back from your trip, you will need to leave room for it.

Rocket science? I think not.

5. A quick note on washbags....
Short trips are great opportunities to use up ends of toothpaste, packs of face wipes, shower gels... you get the picture.

Miniatures are great, but so are refillable travel bottles. Miniatures are often over priced and the easiest way to check is to check how much the product you're actually getting for your money compared to a standard size. I buy my squeezy refillable bottles from Superdrug- they come in variety of sizes with various coloured lids. They are often on 3 for 2 at this time of year. eBay is also a great place to look for these kinds of things. 
If you're a regular Beauty Box subscriber, maybe think about stashing away some of the goodies for travel?

Don't scrimp on the things you'll always need. Getting 7 days through a 10 day holiday in Spain and looking a bit thin on that moisturiser you buy from a UK brand and that is the only thing your skin refuses to hate is not big or clever. You'll will be pissy, you will kick yourself, and your skin will hate you you. Less is NOT more in this case.

So there you have the Chloe Likes To Pack Crash Course.  Did I miss anything?

4 Days To Go...

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