How not to pack when you’re on holidays

over packing

We’ve just come home from two and a half weeks away. We spent christmas on a beach about three hours drive south of Sydney which for us is great because packing for that long for a family of six when you have to fly anywhere gets tricky. Being able to just pack the car instead is much easier.

Because neither Rob or I have ever developed any skills in packing lightly, which given how much we’ve both traveled is hard to believe, we always take two cars with us because we can never fit it all in otherwise.

When we try to explain to other people why we take two cars, we always blame having four kids. But really that’s not true, it’s because we pack as though we’re preparing for nuclear holocaust.

Now I am a list person. So is Rob. Both of us have extensive packing lists on our phones to follow every time we go away. When we lived in the UK we did dozens of driving holidays so having a list was handy. The problem being, every time we went away we’d add things to the list and now it’s so long it’s on a spreadsheet. With tabs. So every holiday the luggage volume grows.

I should also mention neither of us have small cars. I have an enormous 7 seater 4WD and Rob has a sports wagon. Plus we have a Thule roof box for my car and Rob has a Nasa engineered bike rack for his roof that makes us look like we’re about to set off for the Tour de France.

Obviously there are the vital life depending necessities we have no choice but to pack. Like the Thermomix and coffee machine. Theo Thermomix has his own set of luggage and just to be sure I took two cookbooks with me. The soda stream also falls into this category as did my cake tins and measuring cups. Like I said, VITAL.

Clearly I was going to need shoes so I took 8 pairs. We were staying at the beach in a house that was literally on the beach so I only wore shoes 2% of the time I was there but should I have needed them they were there.

Obviously with the beach and a lake and countless beachside activities so close by the kids would be bored all day so not only did we bring the Wii .. we brought two Wii’s. You can never be too careful I say.

Ditto picnic rugs and eskies. In all the times we’ve had beach holidays we’ve never ever actually gone on a picnic and in fact even when we’re in Sydney we never go on picnics so just in case we decided to, we packed two sets of picnic crap.

We didn’t go on a picnic.

I packed a whole ream of paper because you never know when that will come in handy. Rob also brought his brief case in case he decided he missed work too much. That didn’t happen but better to be safe than sorry.

I took all my tea towels. I don’t remember why I thought I would need them but while I was getting them out of my kitchen drawer to pack, I threw the baking paper in too just in case they didn’t sell baking paper on the south coast.

I packed 6 bikini’s. They were actually useful except now my tan lines look like one of those big spaghetti freeway junctions you see in America. What weren’t so useful were the 5 pairs of jeans and two hair straighteners I took.

To save myself having to do any washing I just took all the kids summer clothes. I mean, WHO AM I KIDDING, right? As if I could be away from the laundry from that long. I probably put a load on every second day. I wish I could tell you I was exaggerating. In fact I washed all the towels before we left so when I got home I just put them back in the cupboard.

One of my new years resolutions is to look closely at my laundry issues. Actually that’s a lie. I’m happy to have laundry OCD and the only thing I’ll be looking at is how to streamline my washing process any finer than it already is. If there were a Nobel prize for laundry I’d make that baby mine.

Rob packed his own gigantic bag because a few years ago I packed his bag and didn’t put any shorts in so he likes to pack himself. However he didn’t pack anything but tshirts so when the weather cooled as it inevitably does where we were staying, he froze. At least he had shorts and ten hundred white tshirts.

I packed enough exercise related equipment and supplies to open a gym to rival the local fitness centre and could have opened a Lululemon store with the stock I bought with me. However while I was there I was given a gift voucher as a present and was horrified to find the nearest store was in Canberra.  I would suffer and die an agonising death living so far from one if I were a local. The upside is I didn’t make any Lululemon purchases for 3 weeks which I do believe is some kind of miracle. If you’re a Lululemon shareholder and your stock dropped, I do apologise.

It takes about a day to pack the cars when we go away. Rob spends hours downstairs playing car tetris and shouting obscenities about how he’s never going to fit it all in. But he always does after we do a quick stocktake and decide there’s nothing really we can do without and it all must come with us.

It was also around this time that I remembered why last year I only bought the kids christmas presents that were small in size. I forgot about that this year so my car was pretty much dedicated to only christmas presents, already wrapped with a blanket over them. So on the way down to the beachouse Jude spent the entire three hours saying “Mummy what’s under the blanket”. If my kids still believe in Santa after this year it will be a miracle.

Anyway the trip down was uneventful and I did my usual mental tally on the way down of anything we might have forgotten. I felt confident all was sorted and for the first time ever I might even have this christmas road trip thing sorted.

Until later that night in our lovely beach side rental, I went to make the beds.

And realised I forgot to pack the sheets ….

Anyone else as good at packing as me?






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