Some days I really long to have something more permanent, somewhere I know I’ll be longer than 5 or 6 months. But at the same time, I think living out of a case and in a little temporary place keeps me on my toes and is really exciting.
One thing is for sure, packing up so often really has put a lot of things into perspective and really helped me to realise what of my possessions I value most.
We all have so much STUFF! It can only really be described as ‘stuff’ and we’re all guilty of it. I consider myself really tidy and a bit of a neat freak but still I was completely surprised when I came back from 6 months in Berlin to see my old room at my parent’s house still completely kitted out as if there was still someone living there permanently!
This triggered a huge room clear out and several bin bags worth of clothes, bags and other old belongings being sent to a charity down the road. Now, post clean out I’m getting ready to fly off again! In terms of packing for such a big trip, I definitely learned my mistakes from doing it the first time when I moved to Berlin and so, for round 2, I was determined to make better decisions!
I’m no packing professional but have definitely learned some little gems of information which I’m using this time and thought I’d share them with all of you!
- Don’t panic! Realistically what do you need? One key thing to remember is: so what if you forget something? In most cases, if it’s really something that important you won’t forget it and even if you do, there’s always post or friends and family can bring it when they inevitably come and visit you.
- Think about WHERE you are going!!! This sounds so obvious but make sure you think seriously about where you’re going and the weather there! For example, this time packing I kept really grounded and constantly reminded myself that I was going to the Netherlands, I’d be spending a hell of a lot of time on a bike and it will probably piss it down more often than not in the first few months! Sounds, really pessimistic but knowing what you’re getting yourself in for is so important! When I went to Berlin, I was expecting a mediocre (semi-England-like) summer, it turned out to be THE HOTTEST SUMMER of my life! Although I couldn’t have expected just how hot, I definitely could’ve prepared better and wouldn’t have had to run around Zara for shorts!
- Don’t go for things you ‘might’ need or ‘could’ wear! Pack for the things you reach for over again on a weekly basis. One way I make sure I’m packing things I really will wear, is about 2 weeks before I’m going put things you’re naturally wearing and feeling comfy onto one side of your wardrobe. Without knowing it you’re subliminally packing in advance and making sure you’ve got all your favorites which will mean you’re not taking unnecessary things and only taking things that make you smile!
- Don’t do it all in one day! This is a marathon not a sprint haha! Packing really doesn’t need to been drawn out and take days of your life up but there really is a lot to be said for doing your packing in blocs. I am flying to the Netherlands on Friday so on Monday I gave myself a strict 30 minutes to get my things out in piles of ‘sport’, ‘day’, ‘shoes’, and ‘other’. Then on Tuesday, I gave myself an hour, (still being really strict with the time so I didn’t faff!) to add anything I’d since remembered I hadn’t initially got out, and to pack about 60% of the bag. The rest was done on Wednesday in about 2 hours with the exception of a few bits that would go in the top of the case the morning I left. (This kind of structure might not work for everyone but it was really useful for me in terms of not wasting time and also making sure I was packing all the right things.)
- Hand Luggage! Use it and use it carefully! I always make sure to take a small roll along case for my hand luggage for any trips over 4 weeks. There are a few reasons for this, firstly, it means you have a little case with you for visiting friends or going on some mini adventures. (SUPER USEFUL!) Secondly, I always carry a lot of kit, we all have lots of technology and when I’m traveling I like to have this near me at all times to keep it safe and secure. Thirdly, I’ve found that a slightly larger bag can actually be a lot easier to handle, you’re not searching endlessly in a big backpack for something which has fallen to the bottom and panicking when you need to go through security. In my roll-along I know that everything has it’s place and I can find everything I need in a matter of seconds.
- Take something to make your new place home! This final little point is one I really stick by, taking pictures or postcards from home to scatter around my flat really helped me settle into my home in Berlin and I’ll definitely be making sure that this is something I do again for moving to Utrecht.
All in all, packing is a TASK! I never really enjoy it at all but it really doesn’t have to be stressy and it IS possible to pack for 6 months or more in one case!