Confession: I overpack every time, do you?

How do you pack for a trip?

Everyone I know thinks that women pack too much for a trip – whether it’s overnight or for an extended vacation. Or is it just me?

I’m not talking about ‘mom’ packing or trips with the kids. Those trips you need to make sure you have all your stuff and the kids’ stuff and you need to pack for contingencies (Johnny spills juice on his clothes, Mary gets ill on hers, it gets cold, it gets hot, etc.). No, I’m talking about packing just for me.

Now, I thought I had learned over the years to pack well when on a business trip with mix and match outfits and I even have a couple tank tops that are reversible to get more mileage out of my wardrobe.

I was wrong; I really didn’t learn anything.

Enter the packing expert, my husband. Seriously. I saw what my husband packed for an overnight business trip and I laughed, then he opened his bag and I stopped laughing.

Below is the bag he carried on – the only thing he carried besides a binder with his work in it! Yep, it’s pretty small, but he managed to get a change of clothes, his toiletries and even some items for work in it (camera, pens, papers)! (It’s only 12” wide x 17” long x 2.5” deep)

closed case

open suitcase

No way could I ever pull that off. I mean, there were no choices, no extra shoes, no casual clothes but what he wore, no bathrobe, no mix and match anything!

Yes, it was for an overnight trip, but still…

Maybe I’m a luggage clutterer, an overpacker. I went on a recent business trip with the Buttoned Up team. The trip was for three business days and two casual days. I realized I had packed enough clothes for eight business days and three or four casual days.

What was I thinking?

“I like to have choices” is what I tell myself. It’s my excuse for ‘luggage clutter’ as I will now deem it. Yes, I needed the make up and the scandals and I had the casual outfit I wore on the plane, and enough clothes for the three days of meetings, but the rest? It just took up space and made my bag weigh a ton. I worked up a sweat hauling the bag through the airport and I actually needed someone to help me get it into the overhead on the plane (she said turning red faced).

After looking at my husband’s tiny bag, it has convinced me that I am indeed a luggage clutterer – there – I admit it. Is there a support group out there for women like me? Am I alone in this malady?

Here are steps I will take to get over my malady and questions I can ask myself when packing:

1. How many days will I be gone – only pack outfits for those days
2. Forget choices on the road – choices will be made before I pack
3. Pack one pair of shoes; wear one on the plane
4. Ten pairs of underwear for four days is too extreme – pack the undies with the outfit
5. Ask myself where I will be going – do I really need socks in Arizona?
6. A bathrobe? Really? Who’s going to see you?

I feel lighter already.

Do you over pack? Could you ever pack an overnight bag like my husband did?