I have seen a lot of blogs that write about travel that have posts about what/how to pack including lists and pictures. Only tonight, though, did I realize I actually have something unique to add to the conversation. Basically, I determined only this evening that the process I go through to pack is probably not the way other people do it and it's entirely a ritual/fun past time for me.
It starts with a good, old fashioned list. The number of casual, dressy, workout outfits is determined. I make sure to actually write out basics like socks and underwear just to make sure I cross them off when they are legitimately in the suitcase, lest I forget something essential like bras. I also list out all the toiletries one by one so nothing is forgotten. Of course, the list also includes the entertainment section with notes about ipods and cameras and corresponding chargers. This list is typically drawn up days in advance during some downtime.
Packing doesn't really begin until the night before, to be honest. The week leading up to a trip includes more laundry than usual and some strategic work outfit choices so I don't sully anything I want to bring but might not have time to wash again. I find it hard to pack well in advance because I need all my toiletries each day. Even when I pack them the night before, I keep them all contained in beach bag/tote bag so I can access them in the morning before departing.
So here comes the fun part: the fashion show. I like to know I am going to be comfortable on my trip and that the outfits I put together will be appropriate for the climate and activities I am heading off to enjoy. Unlike a friend who brought a skirt to Spain only to try it on there and find it no longer fit, I don't want to bring items I am not going to use. Also, I don't want to pack an outfit that ends up making me self concious. Sooooo, I pull all potential items out of the clean laundry bin or closet. i lay them out in piles: tops, bottoms, pjs, dresses, etc. Hanging items get to stay on the hanger but rest on a dresser knob or closet door so they are more visible. Then I start trying combos on. If something is too __________________ (fill in the blank with the word of your choice), it get's vetoed. It's like elimination rounds. The final contenders have to be paired up into actual outfits and I bring enough for the number of days I will be gone plus one or two, just in case. I make sure I have a couple outfits that are specifically for night events and there's a separate set of outfits for multiple days of workouts. Undergarments are chosen based on what wins a spot in the suitcase. When it comes to footwear, I try to get the most bang for my buck and choose multiple outfits that can be worn with the same few pairs of shoes. Tonights winners in the shoe category: one pair of heels for night time, one pair of sneakers for workouts, and two pairs of flip flops: black and brown. I'm debating bringing my mesh Merrell things, too but I'm not comitted to it yet.
This process has served me well. My selections end up having more variety, greater comfort and are overall more user friendly than if I had just tossed items together. Are pre-vacation fashion shows abnormal? I'm guessing not everyone handles packing this way.