packing light

“Is 11 dresses too many?”  Eighteen year old daughter packing for a fortnight in Thailand.  I’m going for three weeks and only have two dresses!  Extreme measures needed to be taken.  “But they’re so pretty …”  Reader, I took her in hand and culled about 70% of her proposed packing.  Heaven knows how she is going to cope traveling through California in the summer with only a backpack!

When I accompanied the Boss on his lecture tour of Australia three years ago I managed to curtail my packing to this.   This time we are going to Thailand for three weeks, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.  I reckon I have managed a reasonably decent pack.  Here is the suitcase with just the clothes in it.

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  • 1  pair of cargo trousers that convert to bermuda shorts
  • 1 pair of loose palazzoish trousers
  • 1 pair 3/4 length leggings
  • 1 jersey maxi skirt
  • 1 jersey maxi sundress
  • 1 short sleeved dress
  • 4 tee shirts
  • 1 light long sleeved top
  • 1 long light scarf
  • 1 pair birkenstocks
  • 1 pair vivo barefoot shoes
  • 1 pair flat comfy but smart sandals
  • Swimsuit and Turkish lightweight towel

Once again I have stuck to my blue and white theme (the same one I used in Australia but different clothes!)

I was feeling remarkably proud of myself until I then had to put in all the other bits and bobs, portable bbq and bamboo cutlery, knitting (well of course!) and then all the requests from the daughter in Thailand.  Custard powder was non-negotiable.  At least most of this I can leave behind with her.  Which is essential as I am planning on a little silk shopping!

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It is always easier to pack light for a trip to a hot climate, but I reckon, that had I wanted to go hand luggage only and didn’t have to take half of Sainbury’s with me I could have managed it with ease.

Love Gillie x

 

the door that wouldn’t close

There has been so much to gather and harvest and bring in to the house that I have neglected taking stuff out of it.

Every single guide to decluttering will tell you that it is vital that you get the stuff out of the house AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Otherwise there is a risk that people will start to wander up to the pile and retrieve first one item, and then another.  Then, what was once a towering tribute to thrift and minimalism becomes a molehill.  While that is a very real concern, it is not one I have to worry about.  On the other hand I have a big problem with out of sight out of mind.

The flood that prompted this journey began in the Gin Gan (go on google it – you need to learn at least one useless fact a day).  This is right at the end of the house just off The Barn.  Consequently this is where all the stuff that needs to go has been put.  So far so good.  I have  done four trips to various charities with items to go.  This has made only a small dent in the pile.  Then we went away on holiday, and on our return I have been harvesting and gathering.

The result?  I have shut the Gin Gan door.  The Gin Gan is a big room (if you have googled it you will know why).  It is full.  I can look at my increasingly minimalist and ordered house and forget the chaos behind the Gin Gan door.

Until yesterday.  Singer Two brought down five bin bags of clothes and toys to go to charity.  I couldn’t be bothered to clamber round the boxes by the door so I lobbed them over the top.  One got stuck and now the door won’t shut.  Well it would if I went inside the Gin Gan and got on with packing up and dispatching all our unwanted stuff.

Making jellies, and lotions is great fun and I love that we are filling our larder and medicine cabinet with wild food.  But there comes a time when the fun has to stop and some work needs to be done.

UGH!  I am not looking forward to it.  But I have a great playlist on my phone, endless cups of tea and industrial quantities of boxes and bags.  Packing up time.

rule bending

If it doesn’t work, try again, bend the rules, make it work for you.  I’m still working on Project333.  Still determined to cut the wardrobe to 33 items (or thereabouts) but have found that some of the things I thought would work, didn’t.

I am a long floaty skirt girl.  I had one long floaty skirt in my selection.  It would have been easy for me to say “AAGH  It doesn’t work I’m giving up and introducing more skirts”.  Alternatively I could say “This selection didn’t work so I need to start again.”  Or “I need to tweak this, maybe 35 would work better for me” or “I need to tweak this I’m not going to wear all those trousers but I could substitute them for some skirts.”  I opted for the latter.

There is no failure unless you give up.  If 35 items works perfectly for you, then have 35 items.  If 33 items works fine but you need one ultra smart outfit that you know will only be worn once, then hold onto that outfit but wear it only on that specific occasion.  Then think about next time an occasion like that comes up.  Could you tweak your 33 to include something suitable?

Today I am going to a smart event at the Cathedral followed by lunch and a private viewing of the Lindisfarne gospels.  I have to look very smart.  I have managed to stick to my 33 items with one exception.  A fuschia silk jacket.  It turns my dress from pretty to smart.  So today I will wear the jacket.  Tonight it goes back into storage. I am not going to beat myself up about it.  I am going to concentrate on what I have achieved already.

This isn’t about making life hard, it’s about making life easier.  You make the rules.  Just remember though, if you keep breaking them then like a smoker who says “oh just one more, I’ll give up tomorrow” you will never get there.

It may be uncomfortable but it isn’t meant to be back breaking.  This week I am going to pack for our holiday to Turkey.  I am looking forward to selecting a handful of items from the 33 in my wardrobe.  No packing angst this year.  What would change in your life if you only had 33 items in your wardrobe?

wardrobe challenge

Yesterday was the first challenge for the capsule wardrobe.  We were invited to a reception by the County Durham Foundation.  Dress (for women at least) “cocktail dress”.  As the reception was to be held in the garden and the weather is famously inclement up here I would also need some form of cover up and shoes without heels.

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No problem.  Blue spotty dress, white cardigan and blue wedge sandals.  It was SO EASY.  None of that staring at the wardrobe and trying on different things (and discovering they no longer fit) and then agonising over whether a cardigan or jacket would be better.  Thanks to the vagaries of Air France I arrived home from the airport with only 15 minutes to get ready.  It was a breeze.

Getting dressed generally is so much easier and more fun.  I have to think laterally, to be imaginative with less is fun.  I don’t have to wander around the bedroom from wardrobe to chest of drawers. It’s all hanging up in one place.

I still only have 30 items so there are 3 more to be added.  As we are going on holiday during this period I am going to hold off until I have decided what I want to take on holiday.  Packing is going to be a lot easier too!