As I mentioned last time, my closet purge began when I needed to pack for a trip down South. It was back in March, and the weather here was still very wintery.
Yes, this is what March looks like where I live. Bear in mind, also, that the airport is close to four hours away. A check on the long range forecast for North and South Carolina and Louisiana informed me that I would need to pack for cool weather as well as warm. Furthermore, our trip would cover almost three weeks. Three of us had only carry-on luggage while my Love took a larger checked suitcase so we could bring full-sized toiletry items than a carry-on would allow.
I dragged my summer clothes tote up from the basement, and felt a little overwhelmed. That was when I decided I needed to weed out my wardrobe. I also needed to try on anything I had not worn for awhile before I packed up, because–and this is the sad truth–I’d definitely put on some winter insulation and there’s no sense ruining a trip over uncomfortable clothing.
I usually begin with a list–remember, I love lists!–with two headings: suitcase and handbag. I then add items under the appropriate catergory.
- bottoms (jeans, pants and skirts)
- cardigans and jackets
- bare necessities
- accessories (jewelry, scarves, etc.)
- other items (i.e. bathing suit, pjs, dress, etc.)
I then determine the number of each type of item, with subcategories (like tank top, button-down shirt, and so-on), if needed. If our trip was shorter and I needed travel-sized toiletries, they would go in a clear ziplock bag and packed in an easy-to-reach place.
- passport (with case)
- phone (this also takes care of my airline particulars and serves as my camera)
- ear buds or headphones
- iPad (this has reading material, Bible and–yes, games)
- reading glasses and sunnies
- meds and eye drops
- hand cream and sanitizer
- knitting project
The liquids, of course must be in travel approved sizes and in clear ziplock bags. I also put my meds in a ziplock bag.
It has been my experience that I only use half to two-thirds of what I pack. With this in mind, I left all the possible items on my bed and began to put together outfits that could be made with what I had. Since I would need outfits for a wide range of temperatures, I decided lighter clothing that could be layered would be the most versatile option. We would have church, events and touristy things to attend. Knowing I would have access to laundry facilities helped to keep it to a minimum. The final decision was 10 days’ worth of garments with layering pieces.
Keeping a fairly neutral base with a couple of more colourful pieces made it easy to put together outfits. My travel clothes were in the mix, as well: black chinos, Burgundy tank, grey cardigan and black canvas jacket. I made piles of like items to help in the decision process.
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair light green khakis
- 2 skirts (khaki and black patterned)
- 1 navy patterned skort (I don’t really like to wear shorts out)
- 1 chambray sleeveless dress
- 3 tank tops (black, emerald, white with lace)
- 2 patterned tank tops (navy print, coral print)
- 1 long-sleeved print tunic (navy, emerald, coral)
- 1 short-sleeved navy and lace blousy top
- 3 t-shirts (black, khaki, dark blue-green)
- 2 camis (black, white)
- 2 cardigans (long black, khaki)
- 2 pairs of pjs
- bare necessities 🙂
- linen jacket
- light rain coat
Next decision: shoes. I needed super comfy shoes that I could walk in…again, that would fit all weather. I decided on my trusty Blundstones (I wore these on travel days–remember it’s winter weather here!), Sperry boat shoes (discontinued, similar ones here) and Crocs wedges (these are the most amazing, versatile sandal…I could walk for days in them and my feet would not be sore! I think these particular ones are discontinued, but I’m sure similar leather Crocs would be just as comfy). The sandals and boat shoes were put into a rubberized bag before going into the suitcase.
Rolling clothes helps to sneak more in, especially when your suitcase has support frames that make it awkward to lay things flat.
I love this case (we bought ours at Costco…it’s similar to this one). Both sides have zippered compartments to corral smaller items.
I put jewelry into a small tin, bobby pins in a tic tac container (thank you Pinterest!) and I have a travel manicure kit. These, along with grooming supplies (brush, straightener, etc.) went in the mesh pockets. If we were taking travel-sized toiletries, not full-sized, they would go in here, too. I usually throw in an extra zip-lock bag and a laundry bag, too.
You can download this packing list here.
As mentioned above, meds, eye drops and hand cream went into a ziplock bag in a large tote style handbag. My book, iPad and knitting went in there, also.
In the end, I still over-packed. However, there were only two or maybe three items that did not get worn. Having said that, I still could have made do with fewer tops. Though I did wear these, I probably could have left one t-shirt and a tank top and a skirt at home. Oh well…my packing skills are improving!
By the way, we had a fabulous time! Aside from having a grand time with wonderful people and visiting many churches and events, here are a few of the other highlights, if you’re interested:
We enjoyed a low-country boil in Pacolet, South Carolina. Ohmymymy…soooo yummy! We were introduced to authentic Southern barbecue, grits, biscuits and gravy, tomato pie, and chicken stew, too.
In North Carolina, we visited the Billy Graham Library and fabled Jump Off Rock with panoramic views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and three(?) states. The tragic legend says that a Cherokee maiden threw herself off the edge of the rock when she learned her young chief had been killed in battle.
We had awesome coffee and scrumptious treats at Amelie’s a bank-turned-French-bakery-and-cafe in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They had live music, to boot! Friends made us country-fried steak, banana pudding, fried chicken, and delicious Southern-style baked mac ‘n’ cheese. My cl boy couldn’t wait to try some Chick-fil-A.
Our stay in Louisiana was not terribly far from New Orleans. So naturally, we had to make a day trip. It was both unnerving and exciting. We strolled Jackson Park, enjoying the music, performers, and art. And what trip to New Orleans would be complete without beignets at Cafe du Monde?
Avery Island, Louisiana, home of Tabasco and stunning Jungle Gardens, was also on the agenda. I have a new appreciation of Tabasco sauce–and Tobasco jellies, ice cream and soda–who knew? As we made our way through the gardens, we were delighted by alligators, birds, a plethora of gorgeous blooms and sprawling live oaks festooned with Spanish moss.
Last but definitely not least, local Cajun cuisine: crawfish boil, étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, boudin, deep-fried alligator, shrimp and catfish, and Popeye’s chicken.
That Southern hospitality is strong…I thought I’d need an extra seat on the plane for the trip home! What an awesome experience.
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