It’s no secret a woman’s mind can be a complicated place, but for many of us that is never more true than when engaging in one of the most difficult of all tasks: packing. The process of pulling clothes and then folding, rolling and contorting them in order to make as many as possible fit into a carryon—okay, okay, a large checked bag (maybe two)—is no run-of-the-mill activity. It requires serious time and strategizing, a decent amount of guilt and a hefty amount of general panic. Oh, and if there were a crystal ball, that would help too (you know, for foreseeing what you will actually need on your trip.) Here, the five things any girl who struggles with packing can understand.
If you're like us, you start with the best of intentions: You'll only bring what you need and will really wear. You might even lay out exact outfits in coordination with the days and nights you'll be gone. But soon, you're reaching for an "extra" piece or two. What if you don't feel like wearing the blue top? Then it only makes good sense to bring the red one too. And what if it's colder than weather.com says it will be? What if it's warmer? Might as well throw in a few other pieces—okay, maybe several more. It's a slippery slope.
What is it about packing that makes the piece you should never have bought in the first place and that just sits in your closet feel like the one item you absolutely must have on your trip? You've owned it for weeks, maybe months, possibly years, and never once has it made it onto your body—and yet something about leaving town makes it feel like a must-bring. And then you do, and surprise, surprise: It still never makes it onto your body.
This is where things go really awry. You mean to bring only what you need, and then you start to imagine all sorts of scenarios involving an amazing occasion/party/other opportunity that could pop up on your trip. What if this as-yet-unknown "thing" presents itself out of the blue and you don't have anything to wear?! What then? Trip ruined, that's what. So in an effort to prepare for said unknown occasion, you start throwing random pieces in your bag: going-out tops, comfy pants, an LBD, your statement pants, your tightest jeans, your coolest jeans, the most avant-garde piece you own, the list goes on. Essentially you throw in everything but your kitchen sink. All those good intentions of being organized and reasonable and curating complete ensembles have gone right out the window.
You started out with such clear plans, and you've ended up exactly where you always do: with an overstuffed bag and an overwhelming feeling of shame that you have once again failed to maintain self-control when it comes to the combo of clothes and travel. And now you're left to navigate this gigantic, overweight monstrosity throughout your trip, all while battling the sinking feeling that a good portion of its contents are, in fact, unneeded.
You've seemingly packed everything in your closet and are on your way, and all you can think about is what you didn't bring, what you forgot, all that you left behind. It's a vicious cycle this being a bad packer thing, a series of emotions ranging from positivity and excitement to doubt and frustration to resignation and, ultimately, defeat. The good news is this: Packing happens again and again throughout your lifetime, so there is always the chance that next time you could do better. Maybe one day you could even achieve the ultimate success: the mythical carryon. A girl can dream, can't she?