Thursday, December 20, 2012

I packed my trunk for a trip

When I was an intern at a publishing house in New York, I was asked to read a manuscript for a new “how-to” book they were considering mass-producing.

“We’re really trying to get into the ‘how-to’ market,” the boss said.

I looked at the title. The book was about how to properly pack a suitcase.

How to pack a suitcase?  I laughed. 

“An entire book on how to pack a suitcase?? Hey, I know, don’t pack sneakers that have dog poop on them, hahahaha!”

The boss blinked twice.

“Ok, I’ll read it,” I said, and walked back to the broom closet that was my workspace.

I smugly turned the first page, already coming up with synonyms for the word “DUH” to put into my review.

But, ya’ll…I was totally wrong.

I became absorbed in page after page as I read about how packing a suitcase is an ART, not just about throwing your clothes sloppily into a bag. 
(...especially not when hungover… an hour before you need to be at the airport…)

Um. Anyway.

For those of you packing to go somewhere for Christmas, or packing for the end of the world, here are a few tips I remember (and some I have actually used), courtesy of a bonafide “packing expert.” 

1.) Plan your outfit for each day. 

I know, I know, this means a lot of "thinking ahead," 
(especially when hungover…an hour before you need to be at the airport…) but something as simple as envisioning what you’re going to wear each day makes packing both easy and efficient. 

Rule: Only pack the outfits you’re going to wear. And quit looking in your closet for more shit!!! 

Much like when I used to pack Barbie to go to Hawaii with Ken, I planned her outfit for each of the five days she was gone, because that’s how many outfits she had. 

(Cheater version: After you have all your outfits picked out, add one pair extra of pants and no more than two extra tops, in case you spill all over yourself, or you find out your mom is wearing the same thing.)

2.) Divide and conquer. 

Once you've picked out your outfits, your clothes should be divided into groups and placed into different quadrants of your bag. 


Step one: Stare at your bag from an aerial view. 

This way, when you’re looking for a particular item, you don’t end up looking like a Cathy comic throwing all your clothes up in the air.

No! Instead, you can just think about the item and the associated quadrant. 
Need to change your shirt?? EASY!! Head…east.

3.) The liquids stand alone.

Even if you’re not traveling on an airplane, putting your liquids and  other toiletries into a plastic bag (and, if, possible, a separate bag from your clothes altogether) is a good idea. 

This is not just for the general well-being of your limited number of packed clothes, but for when you need to find your deodorant in a hurry because someone turned the heat up waaaaaay too high and you’ve been drinking red wine.

4.) Pack a garbage bag.

A garbage bag!!! I know! When I read it, I thought, for what?? I’m not doing community service on my holiday.
But then I read on. 

The garbage bag, I was told, is for “soiled clothing.”
"Soiled" as in clothes that are dirty, wet, smoky, stinky, etc.

After all, you don’t want to run out of pants because they all smell like red wine/heater sweat.

5.) Put your shoes inside a plastic grocery bag before packing them into your suitcase.

For the dog poop.



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