Packing to go on a year long trip is different from anything I have ever packed for before. I am used to packing weekend trips, short/several week trips, and packing to moving. Packing to get on the road for year is a game quite different.
Normal Trip Packing
In either of the two normal packing situations for trips there are some clear and easy rules to follow.
Required clothes, toiletries, and anything I NEED for this specific trip.
Short trip (several weeks)
Take what I will need that I am not willing to purchase on the road.
This is usually pretty easy as even if I forget something that I don’t want to purchase it is usually a limited amount of discomfit for limited amount of time.
Packing to Move
This is pretty easy – Everything goes.
Exceptions: The items that have not been used in quite a while with no current use plans and no sentimental value.
But… Packing to leave ‘Life As We Know It’
Here is where it gets weird… This is not just a quick trip where it’s a temporary inconvenience if we forget something we don’t want to re-purchase AND we’re not keeping everything because we don’t want to pay storage for it all.
We’re getting very clear on what we want to take for the RV and motorcycle. Keep it minimal and small – Everything needs two puposes. Check – keeping it minimal and a camping store will help guide us with the things we are not familiar with or need specialty items for.
But what do we keep???
– Tax return info, financial records and real property information – Yes.
– Clothes? Not the two pairs of casual and dress clothes we’re taking, but THE REST of them. The t-shirts with memories, the dress clothes that I enjoy wearing and FIT?
– Books? The ones I’ve read and love… the ones that were on last year’s reading list and are also on this year’s (because I didn’t read them last year).
– Pictures? How sentimental do we get with these items? Some I know I’ll never part with: My mom’s last picture, the picture my grandfather took on the beach in Morocco during WWII. But… what about the others we’ve chose to frame and hang?
– Tools? I spent a lot of money on some of them. Do I store them or re-invest when we return?
– Art and hobby items? Does this count as sentimental? What category does this ‘excuse to keep it’ fall into? (I’m laughing at that question, but I think only from embarrassment of not knowing the answer.)
These are some of the questions that are running through our mind right now. It can seem maddening and overwhelming at times. The answers seemed so easy when we first posed the questions when we decided to leave.
I know we’re not alone… are we?
I imagine that everyone who decides to travel goes something similar. We try to live a decluttered life, constant runs to drop stuff off at Goodwill, eliminating unused items, etc. How did our life and home get so full of so much?
In all I feel very blessed to have so much that I can make as many runs to GoodWill a month as I do. At this point I really do feel the overwhelm as we go through every drawer and shelf making ready. Luckily I have Jean by my side. She moves in the areas I am stuck and is stuck in the areas I’m comfortable moving… If we’re both stuck, that item stays with us (usually packed).
What experiences have you had around packing? What were your challenges, or is there a particular area that is challenging for you?