pack rat, packing, travel, closets, clutter, S. A. Young, autumn, fall

photo credit: Jennifer Buxton

It’s been unseasonably warm here in the Northeast, at least until last week. It is finally sweater weather, which makes me very happy. I had already reached the point where I was bored with my summer clothes and finding something to wear to work every day that was (fashion) seasonally appropriate, while still being light enough for the actual weather, was growing tiresome. I know, first world problems.

So, over the course of my already manic weekend, I pulled out the boxes and bins, unsealed the vacuum bags and began the transition.

Here’s a tip from me to you: Do not try to pack for a trip and switch your closet from spring/summer to fall/winter at same time.  You’re welcome.

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young

No, this isn’t my mess. My closet’s not that big.

That is, unless you’ve got all the time in the world plus closets and/or a bedroom big enough to park a 747. I have none of those things. My bedroom at this very moment looks as if my closet erupted like Krakatoa, and, instead of lava, spewed forth clothing on the hapless villagers below.  I dream of a big, well organized closet the way other people dream of owning a luxury car or taking a round-the-world-cruise or (you fill in the blank).

I don’t have my own Pinterest board, but I peruse the boards of other “closet” fantasists, and I actually know people who own these elegant and pristine vestiary vaults ;). A friend of friends, style maven Tiffany Hendra*, even hosts a YouTube show in hers.

I watch those shows on HGTV and DIY and I read the blogs that tell me I’m not alone, and that I, too, can master my clutter. I’ve already told you of my attempts to downsize my wardrobe and ease the strain on my overburdened closets and chests. I’m obviously not doing it fast enough. But I can’t think about that now. I have a trip to pack for.  Now, if I were smart, I’d fill the suitcase with yoga pants and t-shirts and slam the lid on that sucker.

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young

But, I think we know that isn’t going to happen. I’m sure it will surprise no one to read that I am a chronic over-packer.  I have to have choices! I can’t be tied down with knowing I’m going to wear “this on Monday, that on Tuesday”, etc etc. So from the chaos must emerge not only enough clothing for a week, but it must also appear that I’ve at least attempted to coordinate outfits. “Whose rule is this”, you ask? Mine, of course. How much do you think we’ll get done if my two compatriots are laughing at the fact that I’m wearing madras plaid shorts with a giant purple eyelash sweater? (I love that sweater, even if it does make me look like Fozzie Bear.

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young, Fozzie Bear, Muppets

“Waka waka” (ABC/John E. Barrett/The Muppets Studio)

As I stood at the ironing board this morning, pressing the vacuum-bag wrinkles out of a fall skirt that I’d better wear before autumn turns into winter, the job ahead did seem a tad daunting.  At the risk of being late for work, I hauled out the suitcase and opened ‘er up. After clearing out the tissue paper and cardboard from the last trip (listen, I never said I didn’t know how to pack. It’s the what that’s at issue),

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young

I got lost in the toiletry bag.  Why do I have five little bottles of shampoo crammed in there? And four moisturizers, four perfume roller-ball vials, two tiny hairspray bottles…I may have a “travel size” problem as well.

This over-packing business is a chronic condition. Just like with the closet thing, I’ve sought help. I’ve read the Cosmo and Glamour articles with their step-by-step guides to how to pack lightly and for a week using only 9 articles of clothing. Pffft. The articles seem to make sense, they are written in a language I understand, until I try to apply the advice. In addition to the experts, everyone who knows me admonishes me to not pack “too much”. Happens every time. Spoiler alert: I won’t listen. I will work myself into a swivet (comprised of travel anxiety and excitement) and then…(deep breath, in pink/out blue) it’ll be fine. It always is. I will manage to plan and pack my outfits, most of which I will not wear and I will pack too many pairs of shoes, that I also will not wear.  But I could if I wanted to.  It’ll be fine.

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young, organized

How I imagine I look when I travel

Do you pack for any contingency or are you a “just the essentials” kind of traveler? (Maybe that’s the phrase I’m having trouble with.)

clutter, closet, packing, travel, fall, seasonal, S. A. Young


*RHoD (Real Housewives of Dallas) castmember and doting wife to the very talented Aaron Hendra.