I’m about to move for the sixth time in three years. I always wanted to do more traveling in my life, but this isn’t quite how I imagined it. Happily, this time I’m moving to my very own place, but anyone who has ever changed residencies knows how simultaneously annoying and exciting the experience can be. And the more you move, the more the annoyance overtakes the excitement. I’ve been lucky enough to have a minimum of my own furniture, so it’s not like I’ve had to schlep a sofa bed around six times, but it still bothers me that I have so much stuff, particularly clothes. I feel like one of those uppity women in old movies that give men stacks of comically large suitcases or packages to carry for them. “Here boys, carry my four Rubbermaid tubs up three stories!” It becomes a gender issue. I hate the possibility of my fulfilling the stereotype of the woman with too many clothes and too many shoes.
While living with my brother, though, I realized that women require more clothes than men (including shoes) simply because of the way women’s fashion works. I could go into a diatribe about how men’s fashion follows the age-old tradition of the uniform, while for an even longer period, women have been the objects that reflect men’s earnings and by the time women were widely accepted into the workforce they were used to having more sartorial options and being held to a higher standard of beauty, but I’d rather leave that as a run-on sentence.
The point is that I have far from a Sex and the City-type wardrobe (or a Gentlemen Prefer Blondes-type, as you can see below), but when I’m packing, it feels like I may as well. It helps a little bit that my clothes take up a lot less space if I roll each item into a tight coil like a sleeping bag. I also put fragile items either rolled up with the clothes or placed between them. This is the best packing advice I ever got, and it came from a Girl Scout outing to Talbot’s where we learned how to efficiently pack a suitcase. I may not have learned how to survive in the wilderness during my Scout years, but I do know how to stuff a cardboard box. And in the end, it’s not the clothes that makes moving a chore. It’s the things you can’t avoid carrying, like furniture. Having what you need does not make you materialistic. It makes you realistic. I often forget that.