Sunday, December 5, 2010

How NOT to pack up your life in 3 easy steps

3 steps to effectively keeping everything you ever owned when you're trying to pack up your life into a 20 kilogram suitcase. 

1. Keep everything with any shred of sentimental value
Whether it's a note you wrote from high school, a calendar from five years ago, a Christmas card from last year you thought was funny or a well-worn pair of joggers that have long past their used-by date, keep everything. Do not throw anything out. Form attachments to notebooks, trinkets, empty bottles and all the paraphernalia you have ever collected. Ignore the thick layer of dust it may collect, in fact, the more dust the better! The dust makes things older, which makes you nostalgic, which adds sentiment.

2. Constantly accumulate new things
Yes, you do need those new pillow cases from Ikea, that photo frame shaped like a camera, that large leopard-print bathrobe. They are all great investments. Give in to your inner impulse buyer, you deserve it - anything that tickles your fancy! Then, proceed to add said new items onto the large pile of unopened plastic bags and shoe boxes at the back of your closet.

3. Equate clutter with personal achievement
The more you have surely, the more you have achieved. The bigger, the better. The more, the merrier. Your brick of a mobile phone you had ten years ago is a relic, the dilapidated essays from university that one time you got a distinction - they are all markers (trophies, really) of your ascent into life's VIP club.

These three steps are how NOT to pack up your life. I've learned this from extensive spring cleaning and my attempt at clearing out my room to move to another country for a year. The number of trips I've had to make from my room to the garbage bin outside are too many to count - and that's just from things underneath my bed! I'm in the 'clearing out' stages of packing and haven't even begun ACTUAL packing (will be sure to update you guys as I go!) It always comes back to sayings, truisms and cliches - LESS IS MORE, PEOPLE.


  1. Haha! I'm guilty of number one. Got so many letters, trinkets, old clothes that don't fit anymore... just because I can't let go of them! Thank goodness my grandparents' house is spacious :)

  2. ahah it's too hard.... I'm such a massive hoarder, couldn't believe the things I still had from years and years ago!

  3. Oh Im known as the 'disposer' at home, I cannot keep anything laying around, I have to dispose of things, be it clothes or inanimant objects. Im forever at the charity shops piling my gear to them. Its awful but sometimes I wish I could keep my hands still and keep the odd thing or two laying around. My apartment is so bear, it looks like no one lives in it.

  4. Wow, good suggestions. I have a hard time parting with material things and have to remind myself that they are just that, things.

  5. Grace, this post is funny and I can definitely relate. Even though I'm a minimalist, I was still surprised by the things I was able to throw away before moving.

    With regard to Spain, pack light. When I studied in Malaga it was summer, so I was lucky and didn't need to pack much. But when I studied in Germany it was for a lot longer, and the winters are cold, so I packed two check-in pieces of luggage, one carry-on and a laptop. Big mistake. The day I left, I was traveling from an island in the U.S. to a small town in Germany, and I literally had to take a boat, bus, 2 airplane flights, a train, another bus, taxi, and then walk the last 25 minutes up a very steep hill... lugging all that stuff. Needless to stay, it was the last time I've ever traveled with that much heavy luggage.

    Good luck and I hope you have a fantastic time living in Costa del Sol.

    ~cheers, hiptraveler

  6. Hahaha, love this. I'm the type of person who has a hard getting rid of things as well. Less is more is a daily mantra I must repeat to myself.

    I noticed that it was only after I studied abroad, that I was able to really downsize after coming home. I wasn't able to bring much overseas or bring much back, so it was an experience in NOT packing my whole life into a suitcase ;) So I know how difficult it can be! Best of luck to you! ;)