Without fail, I become overly frazzled about packing for a trip. Sometimes the anxiety is so high that I start losing my excitement about the vacation altogether. The root of my insanity? Packing. The nagging feeling that I will forget something seems to be all consuming, especially when it comes to my kids. The last thing I want to do is forget something they need.
Of course my husband’s canned response is, “If you forget something, we can always buy it when we get there.”
If only I could take his advice.
Recently, I had some out-of-state-family visit the week before we were going on a vacation. Having my cousins stay with us was a real treat because we only get to see them once a year, if we are lucky. Unfortunately, I almost let my neurosis ruin their visit by obsessing over my usual week long packing preparation. I called my mother in a panic before they got here, bombarding her with a barrage of whining: When would I get the laundry done? When would I organized the suitcases? How would I keep up with all the little things that needed to be done?
My mother is used to my mild panic attacks, after all, she has had 39 years of experience, and in perfect motherly fashion, she calmed my woes. She told me to designate one area of the house to our suitcases and carry-on bags. Through out the weeks leading up to our vacation, she told me to start adding things to our bags a little bit every day. It was such a simple idea, and yet it saved me hours of anxiety. Each time I did laundry, I removed articles of clothing we wanted packed and placed them in the “packing zone”. At the end of each day, I walked through the house picking up clutter and discovered other things we needed, like cameras, magazines, books and games. In the bathroom I started our toiletry bag, and started to just work out of it for a few days leading up to vacation. The girls were also instructed to add things they they thought they would need and could live without for a few days. Before I knew it, we were packed. Only this time, instead of running around the house like a crazed lunatic looking for all the things we needed, I actually had to weed things out that we had set aside. It was one of the most stress-free packing experiences I had ever encountered.
What are some of your packing tips for a more organized and stress-free vacation?