I am a chronic over packer. I was bad before the kids but with them I'm worse. So, so much worse.
Every trip I SWEAR this is the trip I get my stuff together and really pack only what we need. Pack light, pack smart. (the travel equivalent of work smarter not harder) Never happens.
As I'm packing I split into two people. Part of me channels my wonderful paternal grandmother. A beautiful 94 year old feisty Jewish Brooklyn grandmother who doesn't take guff and can pack your entire apartment in one tiny box. Seriously. The woman could put an elephant in a carry on bag and still have room. It is one of her more enviable talents. To her a suitcase is a game of Tetris (not that she would know what Tetris is) and everything you need to pack has a particular way it needs to be put in the suitcase in the proper order (and folded and wrapped right).
Then there is the Cher Horowitz in me.(You know, from the movie Clueless) and she needs to pack EVERYTHING in case. In case it rains, in case it's sunny, in case it's cold, in case it gets dark, in case I run into someone cute and famous, in case, in case, in case...
She's responsible for the 30 extra batteries weighing the suitcase down that were packed in case the mister fans need them.
She's also responsible for the 10 extra pairs of shoes we pack and the 900 extra tee shirts and the 500 pairs of underwear and the 5 bathing suits per child and please, don't get her started on the non clothing items.
She's the part that's obsessive about having cute bags and cute hair accessories and packing makeup and hair products.
She and my internal grandmother have epic battles when it comes time to pack.
My solution to make everyone happy was that I discovered Space Bags. Space Bags are my lifesaver and a Godsend. They allow me to pack everything I need, want and desire and still fit everything into a duffel bag.
This trip however, I'm trying something new, at least for the kids. Outfits. I'm packing coordinated outfits for them. We went to Old Navy yesterday to get shorts for this trip and I made sure to only get shorts that would work with shirts they had in their closet and to make sure they would work with more than one shirt per child.
That is the grandmother in me. Organized, concise, efficient.
The Cher in me is screaming "WAY HARSH!" and telling me that history shows that I NEED to overpack for the kids. That they NEED all the clothing I always pack for them and she's sort of right.
I can't recall who said that even children fresh out of a bath are still sticky but it's true. Kids are messy critters and while I plan on doing laundry on this trip, we don't have a washer and dryer in the room this time around and so I'll have to take the laundry to the laundry area which may or may not be close to our room.
The more clothing I pack, the less laundry I'll have to do while on the actual vacation.
This trip I have a box. A Rubbermaid container and I'm slowly putting all the clothing and non essentials we need to take with us in it.
It's REALLY full now and I'm not done packing. I was ahead of the game when Lion wasn't wearing shorts. He flat out refused to wear shorts. That had eliminated more than half of the boys clothing. Yesterday when we were in Old Navy he all of a sudden decided he was going to wear shorts.
Today I'll be making a pilgrimage to Bed Bath and Beyond to get Space Bags...Cher meet my grandmother.