I pack a lot. Since leaving Washington, DC at the end of January, I've packed my suitcase(s) more times than I can remember. The stopover in Minneapolis for two weeks, overnights at friends' houses to say goodbye, the big move to France, and countless weekend trips have all required that I pack a maximum of things into a minimum of space. Now that my last full day in Paris is here, I will finally have to undertake the ultimate big pack that I've been guiltily putting off. With two suitcases, one duffel, one laptop bag and a six-month collection of clothes, shoes, souvenirs, books, and other miscellany, this isn't going to be easy.
Luckily, I'll be aided in my task by the knowledge I've acquired after years of travel. In fact, I'd like to consider myself somewhat of an expert packer. If you need it to fit, I can make it fit. The key is to create compartments within your suitcases (mesh bags work wonders), limit heavy items to the smaller suitcases to there's no risk of going over weight, and keep little items together in ziploc bags. I roll all of my clothes, which also creates more space, and I try to limit my number of shoes...with minimal success. My enormous suitcase, which is roughly the size of a refrigerator, came in at 48.2 pounds when weighed at the Minneapolis airport on the trip out to France. The limit before they charge you extra is 50.
So the process begins again: throw out what I don't need, give away good things that deserve a new home, and organize the rest. I'll get there eventually, and I'll be so happy when it's done. After all, the real fun will begin when I arrive in Minneapolis. The only thing worse than packing is unpacking.