Thursday, 1 September 2011


Over the past 12 months, packing has become the bane of my very existence. This time last year came the great university adventure, which involved packing suitcases and boxes with my mountains of stuff and transporting it 99 miles south. As any student will know, unpacking your life into a box room and a tiny kitchen cupboard is no easy task. Pots, pans, baking equipment, clothes, shoes, a keyboard, a violin, a bassoon, a printer and all sorts besides were somehow found a home, much to the distress of my dear mother, who was handing me plastic storage boxes left, right and centre.
Then, over the course of the year, came the trips home, where one weekend in Wales would require hauling a massive pink suitcase onto the train in order to accommodate the number of clothes that needed washing. And let's not even mention moving home, when I made perhaps my biggest packing faux pas. The plan was simple: Dad would take most of my stuff home in the car, leaving behind only what I needed for the next two weeks, which I would then bring home on the train. Simple enough, except when you forget to send your large hardback dictionary home in the car, and you end up dragging a suitcase, two holdalls, a rucksask and a handbag around a crowded train, while strangers comment on the poor girl who was "carrying her whole life around".
And then came the summer, during which I have essentially lived out of a suitcase, not really bothering to unpack and repack during the sporadic days at home between adventures and holidays. Now, once again, I have to pack. This time for Canada.
Now, I know that I should be grateful that I get to travel and go to university in another country and all sorts of excitement and that I shouldn't complain, but I really don't like packing. Some people are good at packing, and organised with packing. When my dad's colleague went on holiday, he was packed a good week in advance; a man from church is known to do a practice pack a week or so before he actually has to pack; one friend of my sister, when packing for two consecutive trips, even drew up spreadsheets. That's far too organised for my liking. I much prefer to just wander around and pick things up and decide whether or not it's going. There's one slight problem with this method: it has turned me into a notorious overpacker, for, I reckon, these reasons.
  1. I'm indecisive. Really indecisive.
  2. I like my clothes. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm no fashion icon, but I do like the clothes I have, and I have a lot of them. I'm not the kind of person who just buys clothes because they're cheap or in fashion or whatever. Everything I buy, I really like, which makes choosing all the more difficult.
  3. I'm the queen of "it might come in handy one day". I look at everything and imagine its potential purpose, however unlikely. Not long ago, I justified keeping a top that I haven't worn in years because it might come in handy if I ever have to dress up as a zebra. Yeah.
And as a serial overpacker, the likelihood of me fitting a year's worth of stuff into one 23kg suitcase is very slim, so it looks like I'll be paying the extra $50 for another case. Bye bye money.
So, in less than 24 hours I am leaving for Gatwick, and this is my progress so far:
Now, while my boots and free Exeter University hoody will come in handy, I might need a bit more, so I should probably stop rambling in this blog about packing and actually pack (I'm also very good at procrastinating, which will become apparent over the course of the year). So I suppose I should probably get to the big questions such as "where's my toothbrush, is there room for the Welsh flag, where's the donkey going to go and is my giraffe costume really necessary?"


  1. If nothing else your boots and an Exeter hoody are a very fine start. There is always room for a flag and donkey (donkeydonkeydonkeydonkeydonkeydonkey) should take pride of place in your hand luggage to keep you company on the journey.

    And on the fancy dress front it's always important to keep things that could be used. Last summer I dressed up as the Statue of Liberty thanks in part to our old dishwasher.

    Happy packing xxxx

  2. There is no room for donkey in hand luggage :(