Wardrobe

Confessions of an Overpacker

Summer 2k16: the summer of NONSTOP TRAVELING.

Ugh.

Well, I should be counting my lucky stars that I am even able to travel as much as I have been [thank you dad + grandpa + job].

But, quite literally, I have been home maybe ten days in the last month.

TEN DAYS.
Yikes.

Which normally wouldn’t seem all that bad, but seeing as I have run through my PTO, I have a dog, AND I am trying to move into my boyfriend’s house, the stress of being gone is starting to wear on me a bit. Oh, and yes, I did just move into my apartment in early April. So there’s that..

And not only that, but let’s talk about the annoyance of living out of a suitcase.
[Ladies, I know you know the struggle.]

Now, I’m not talking about the type of living out of a suitcase when you stay the night at your boyfriend’s.

No, I am referring to the constant juggling act that is packing for a trip, returning from said trip, and turning right around and doing it all again – all whilst trying to squeeze in a bit of laundry in between AND accomplish a few basic household chores [I don’t care what anyone says, regardless of whether or not you are home, your house collects dust and grime].

And, let’s be honest. I am a woman. The ability to choose what outfits I will be wearing on a trip, before a trip, is completely lost on me.

Those of you ladies that know how to do this – I seriously applaud you.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

I make roughly two to three trips to Southern California a year. I always drive, mostly because I bring Bella [and I would never pay nor subject her to the horrors of flying a pet in the cargo hold of an airplane], but also because I have the luxury of bringing anything with me and as much as I want.

A basic carload to SoCal goes a little something like this:

  • Bella
  • Bella’s overnight bag [yes, she has one; yes, it has her name on it; yes, it also has a Doberman emblem on it]
  • Bella’s bed [because even though Bentley has at least four, she, of course, must have her own]
  • A present for Bentley
  • My purse
  • My backpack with iPad + MacBook + all my chargers
  • An XL suitcase packed to the brim with clothes
  • A duffel bag for just my shoes
  • Another duffel bag for clothing overflow from the suitcase
  • An oversized beach bag for my toiletries
  • My hats, which never make it into a bag because I don’t want them to get crushed

You can imagine how much I enjoy coming home from these trips and having to unpack and put away all of that.

And yet, I still pack like that – every. single. time.

The thought of NOT having options while on a trip stresses me out. What if I’m on a trip where I’ve actually planned out what I’m wearing every day but having a panic attack because I just KNOW that something I left at home would have been a better option?

Yes, this is how ridiculous my train of thought is when it comes to vacations.

So how do I nip this problem in the bud?

In all honesty, I will probably continue to pack this way for trips in which I am able to drive.

But for airplane travel, and due the fact that checking extra bags and heavy bags costs an arm and a leg, I have been forced to cut back and actually prepare outfits for my trips [quelle horreur!].

What’s a girl to do?!

Ah, well, in the simplest terms – PLAN AHEAD.

Yes, this means actually thinking about the trip you’re going on, looking at the weather, and visualizing what you think or know you will be doing while on the trip. Are you going out to dinner or staying in a place where you’ll prepare your own meals? Are you going somewhere tropical or cold? Will you be doing outdoorsy activities or just hanging out inside every day? Etc, etc.

For example, I just got back from a trip to Arizona. I was only gone for three days, and I knew the days would be hot, the evenings warm, and I knew we’d be lounging around and cooking our own food. I packed a few sundresses, two pairs of shorts, a couple of shirts and bathing suits, and some clothes to sleep in. Threw in my toiletries and a hat and I was set. Easy peasy.

Alas, I guess this means I actually must plan for trips now.. *Le Sigh*

Would love to hear some packing tips from any of you travel pros out there!

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Conquer Your Closet

Fall.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Pumpkin scones. Leaves changing color. Key indicators that a new season is upon us. And what else does it mean? It’s time to rotate your closet. Out with the skimpy and in with the cozy. Ah, yes, the oh-so-daunting task of moving your clothes around. Most of us just avoid this step into fall altogether. Instead, we choose to spend six months of the year reaching blindly into the back of our closet, discarding our “no’s” onto the floor, and then screaming in frustration when we can’t find something to wear because it’s in that mountain of clean clothes.

Sound familiar?

It’s time to take control of your wardrobe. You should be enjoying every aspect of fall!

First things first: LAUNDRY. Every single item of clothing you own should be cleaned and put where you normally keep it. We do not want anything to go unaccounted for during this process. Next, pull all of your folded summer clothes out of the closet (aka the things that aren’t hanging – shorts, summer pants, bathing suits, etc.). Lay everything on your bed (which should be made up all nicely so that you have room to do this!), and grab a few empty bags – I use old shopping bags from places like Nordstrom or Victoria’s Secret, but you can use garbage bags or any others that suit you. Start going through your clothes based on type: again – shorts, bathing suits, skirts, pants, blah blah blah, and so on. Toss anything that you truly, from the depths of your soul, know you won’t wear again. Even if you’ve gained a few pounds since fall started, and your spring incentive to get thin will be to fit into that cute pair of high-waisted shorts again – get rid of it! You can buy a new pair when you’re back in shape next summer. The key here is to make more room and to stop holding on to things you don’t need.

Once you’ve weeded out your non-hanging summer style, NEATLY fold the things you have remaining and set them aside.

Now, do the same thing with the things you have hanging. Don’t allow yourself to become emotionally attached to things. Clothes are replaceable, and fashion trends are always changing. (And, worst case scenario, if you REALLY want something back that you gave up, chances are you could find it on eBay). Once you’re finished with that, take your [now] empty hangers and hang them in the front of your closet. You will probably be needing them for all of the cute new fall items you’ll be purchasing.

Now, take your discarded items and remove the bags from your room. Get them out of your way and out of your sight. You have now officially parted with these items and there is no bringing them back into your closet (WILLPOWER! You can do it!). *Note: these items MUST go to Goodwill or be sold to a consignment store ASAP. The longer they linger, the more time you have to go back through them and wistfully imagine how cute you looked in something, and do you really want to part with it? YES, YOU DO. Someone less fortunate will appreciate these items MUCH more than you will – I guarantee it.

It is now time to move on to your winter wardrobe. First, bring your colder weather clothes to the front of the closet. Take a good look at everything you have and decide what you will be getting into the most. For example, I wear a LOT of sweaters, so I have my sweaters in the very front of my closet (color-coordinated of course). Once you’ve decided what you want to access the most, decide where you’re putting it and how you will organize it. Like I said, my clothes are all color-coordinated and hung according to sleeve size (this goes for t-shirts, long-sleeves, and tank tops). My wardrobe is also organized according to “type” (sweater, sweatshirt, jacket, blazer, vest, shirts, dresses, etc.). OBVIOUSLY I am slightly OCD when it comes to my closet, BUT I always know EXACTLY where everything is.

Put your closet together how it will best suit YOUR needs. After all, you are the only one who will be accessing it.

The next step is to stick your summer clothes back into the closet – and when I saw “back” I literally mean back into, and also into the back. Those adorable strapless maxi dresses won’t be making another appearance until at least April. Neither will your rompers. Just make sure you are putting these things back TIDILY. There is nothing worse than having to do this again in the spring, and your summer clothing is all over the place. It will be much easier when everything is, for the most part, already organized and ready to go.

You’re almost done!

Once your closet is organized and arranged in a way that you’re happy with, it’s time to take all of your “Donate” bags out to your vehicle. Holding on to them is A) clutter, and B) as I said before, giving you more time to argue with yourself about throwing something out. I promise once you rid yourself of these extra items, you will feel so much better.

And maybe, as a reward for going through this process, you can stop by a store on your way home from donating and grab a couple new items to add to your now downsized closet. See? There are perks to this whole clean-out process.