My Packing Routine

From “Nest” to “Haven” and Back Again

My Packing Routine

My Packing Routine 280 424 Beth Behrendt

My Packing Routine

Yes, nesting means you don’t have to keep track of all your kids’ stuff as they move back and forth between their parents’ two houses. (Yay!)

But you do still have to keep track of all of your own crap. (Not so “yay!”)

Here’s my system for keeping my sanity as I move in and out from my apartment to our house and back again – which is generally on a weekly basis. I developed this routine pretty early on when we began nesting and – five years later – still stick with this four-bag routine every single time:

Bag #1: toiletries

Bag #2: clothes and shoes

Bag #3: dirty laundry

Bag #4: work stuff

First, so you understand my packing needs, a little background on how I’ve arranged my two living spaces. I’m “based” out of my apartment; i.e. all my stuff is there. At the house – a.k.a. Nest – the guest bath and bedroom in the basement are mine. I’ve (minimally) decorated those rooms so they feel like my personal space. But the only possessions that “live” there all the time are some old work clothes in the back of my closet in case I want to do yardwork (never have to do that at my apartment!) and some stuff in the bathroom that I don’t feel like lugging back and forth all the time.

Here’s how my packing system works.

Bag #1: toiletries

I leave some frequently used supplies at the house all the time, like lotion, cotton balls, toothpaste, hairdryer. What I transport to-and-fro are:

  • contact stuff
  • little bag of manicure stuff
  • small bag with all my makeup and makeup brushes
  • a medium sized toiletry bag that holds: deodorant and the 72 (okay, a slight exaggeration, but not much) vials and tubes of anti-aging products for my face
  • shampoo, conditioner and a few cans and bottles of hairstyling products

“Why don’t you just buy two sets of all that hair and face stuff?” you might ask.

Cute. You must be a man. Or — good for you! — a confident, devil-may-care, au natural woman! In either case, enjoy all your extra cash! Because the rest of us, who have willingly bought into our commercialized society’s idea of what “beautiful” means, know how much that shit costs! When I win the lottery, top of my list is to buy two sets of all that hair, face, and makeup stuff so I can stop shuttling it back and forth.

Til then, here’s how Bag #1 looks:

Bag #2: clothes and shoes

These are culled from my selection at the apartment. Which is pretty minimal already because my closet there isn’t very big. (I actually love that about my apartment life – when I had multiple huge closets at the house, I just accumulated a lot of stuff. At my apartment I just don’t have room to keep things that don’t “spark joy” … or whatever.)

Before I pack, I look at the weather for the days I’ll be at the house and see how many meetings I have scheduled and base my choices on that. I can do laundry at the house – obviously! with three boys, I do laundry all the damn time — so I take only a couple sets of pjs and workout gear.

I travel pretty lean. My winter uniform is jeans, sweater, boots. Or, if I don’t have a meeting that day: leggings, a long-sleeved tee, and Uggs. A week of clothes is usually: three jeans in different washes, three sweaters in different colors, one pair of boots that works with all. And the same necklace, ring, watch combo for all.

Here’s a peek in Bag #2 as I packed it up to leave the house this morning:

 

Bag #3: dirty laundry 

This also holds an extra coat, mittens, etc. in winter. My reasoning being: at the house the coat closet is right next to the laundry room; as soon as I walk in, I hang up my coat(s) then toss the bag into the laundry room to deal with later.

I don’t think you need to see my dirty laundry (I share too much with you people already!). But here’s Bag #3 sitting with Bag #2 at the bottom of the basement steps this morning waiting to be hauled up to my car.

Bag #4: work bag

You know. Work stuff: laptop, chargers, bullet journal, notepad, and any folders needed for meetings. Plus, books, magazines, and/or Kindle as needed.

Here is Bag #4 being loaded into the trunk of my (very dirty – ick! – still winter here) car.

I know. I look like a walking Vera Bradley ad. (Shout-out to this hometown business!). After five years of this, a couple of my bags were looking pretty ragged. My mom recently took pity on me and replaced them with new ones from VB – so cute!

And, yeah, I have a real affinity for black and grey. It just makes me feel my life is simpler if everything coordinates. But you do you– nest in whatever colors you like!

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