When I first got back into Filofaxing, I looked for any and all reasons to use my Filofax. Some of these things have stuck with me, and others have faded away. One that’s stuck, however, is using my Filofax to create packing lists.
A bit of background: I am a serial overpacker. I’ve taken heavy sweatshirts and sweatpants on Caribbean beach vacations in case it gets “a bit chilly”. So any way to cut down on this ridiculousness is useful, especially now that my main trips involve going to the US once or twice a year to visit family. Being in the US inevitably leads to me buying lots of things because I can go to stores that I don’t have here in Spain. So overpacking, then shopping lots, does nothing for the poor zippers on my trusty Eagle Creek suitcase (not to mention the risk of overage fees, and the ensuing overloading of my carry ons…my poor back).
Long story short, a packing list is a great way to limit yourself a bit. I usually try to make my packing list about a week or two before I actually pack. That gives me lots of time to remember those last minute things and add them to the list, to really think about what I need and what I don’t, and of course to make sure I get everything washed in time to pack (particularly important in my case because I don’t have a dryer!). I also make sure that important things like “passport” end up on this list, because it’s my last minute check out the door.
Here’s the first packing list I made in my Filofax, for a two-week trip to the US in the summer:
You’ll notice that I’ve just divided things up into big categories, and that I haven’t specified which items I want to take in particular, just the type (“2 tank tops” for example). This worked relatively well and it was quite satisfying to tick things off my list (side note: I absolutely detest packing, so anything that makes it less painful is a plus in my book).
Here’s another example, from another two-week trip, this time in winter. On this list, I included a separate category for what needed to go in my carry on, so I didn’t forget anything important there.
Now, this year, I’ve tried a different tactic. I’ve followed the packing list advice from Putting Me Together and made a list following her formula (on the right in picture below). This time I’ve broken it down into different categories that are more specific than just “clothes”.
I haven’t actually packed from this list yet, but I’m feeling good about it. I think it’s going to give me a really good variety of outfits while not being overkill (though the more I think about it, there are some things that I could cut out because I know I will buy more clothes once I’m in the US). I’ve also noted down here which items I’m going to wear on the plane. In previous lists, I didn’t include these items on the list; this year, my theory is that it’s also quite important as those items also factor into the clothes I can wear when in the US!
I would highly recommend trying to make a list the next time you have to pack, and again, do it beforehand. For me, it’s really cut down on two things: stress (I hate packing because I hate that feeling that I’m going to leave something behind that I really wanted to bring), and last minute “I’ll just throw this in too” moments. So, give it a try! The list doesn’t have to be perfect – just to give you an idea of what things to include and help you organize your thoughts. I keep my past lists under the “p” filing tab in my Malden, so I can reference them as I’m creating my new list. And of course, you can always re-use lists – just use pencil to check everything off, then erase when you’re done!
Happy holiday travels!
P.S. – One more function of the list: when it’s time to come home and you’re re-packing, you can use it as a reference to make sure you haven’t left anything behind in a closet or drawer in the hotel or anything silly like that.