Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 Months In a Suitcase

   What began as an experiment to practice packing, became a whole day of picking and choosing and zipping up my closet, all into two relatively small suitcases. That’s right, I am all packed up and ready to go! …with two weeks to wait.

   Now if you’re a girl who takes as much pride in her clothes and materialistic belongings as I do, the 66-pound weight limit may seem like a HUGE burden and slightly impossible to work with. And that my friend is the purpose of this blog post: Sixty six pounds is actually plenty!!! If you do as I explain here that is.

   A few days back I went to SYMS (an over stock store a.k.a good place to find inexpensive luggage!) and found my new:
  • 29”x 15” x 17” checked duffel bag suit case
  • 22” x 13” x 9” hard shell carry on

   I set them in the corner of my room for later in the month and slowly accumulated a small pile of things that came to mind (i.e, a graphing calculator, 3 plug converters, a pencil case for school, and of course my passport!)
   In the meantime I was also on the search for presents for my host-family. The suitcase I got has a bunch of secret compartments and I found that if you lift up the main section, the bottom is the perfect place to pack their gifts!

Bags were in my house, I did not get them things from Lord & Tayler or Coach or Vera Bradley! haha
Also, the picture frame is of me and my friend, it's for me! haha

   Finally it was time to pick out clothes. As I made these heart-wrenching decisions I documented what I was packing in a notebook. 
Because Tournon-Sur-Rhone has all four climates, I made a page for both warm and cold weather clothes.
Because I am an organization freak I made a list for my carry-on and my purse.
And because I am a girl who likes stuff I also made a page for shoes, accessories and make-up.

   Now since it’s downright impressive how I managed to pack almost everything I wanted to, I think pictures will help you grasp the unthinkable.

I began the process by setting out all the clothes on my bed. In no time at all my closet was reduced to half of its quantity and to my distress, my bed looked like this.

   I called to my mom in a panic, there was simply no way this would all fit in my suit case, and no, the option of taking some things out, did not occur to me!  So we came up with two space saving tricks. 
  1. I took out my two pairs of boots, the high heels, winter jacket and some scarves and put them in a box to be shipped! These are all things I won't need immediately and they took up A LOT of space. The price of shipping them outweighs the chance that my bag would be over 44 pounds (not to mention woud explode).
  2. Air tight bags!! My clothes shrunk to less than half their size when I put them in these bags, saving so much space that I actually added more clothes to my bag!

   With those two works of magic, everything (and more!) was able to fit into my suit case and weighed in at only 30 (out of 44) pounds!!!


   My next task was my carry on, but it was pretty basic: three outfits for orientation, pyjamas, and whatever clothes didn't fit in my checked bag! 
This weighs only 10 pounds!!! (It can be 22!)

   Up until now I haven't covered toiletries and cosmetics, but don't get me wrong, that is a huge part of packing! 
Personally, I am a huge fan of make-up but I know that part of being an exchange student is compromising,  so I will definitely be cutting back on the amount of make-up that I use, money that I spend on it and time that I spend fixing myself up.  I think that time would be better spent with my host family anyway! (:

I do have make-up packed, but the way I use it will definitely change! For the most part, it will be reserved for special occasions but I also think it could be fun for me and my host sister to give each other make-overs and have fun with it!! Can you say bonding time?!
This is the make-up I'm bringing. I will put some of it in the cosmetic bag (pictured) for my carry-on, to have access to it while in Paris!
I have three other bags for this trip:
  1. A large foldable tote. I will pack it away in my suitcase and use it for short trips or sleepovers while I'm there. I also see myself using it on the trip home (and paying for an extra bag) to fit the clothes I get there. The one pictures below is a Le Sport Sac and is seriously SO big. I'm secretly thinking about putting my dog in it and bringing him with me!
  2. The purse I will use for the plane trip. This is large enough for my laptop and just about everything else!
  3. The purse I will use in France! This one is smaller and better for day outings, and will also be packed in my suitcase.
1. bottom left 2. bottom right 3. top

   That's about it for packing! Can you believe it? I cannot grasp the fact that I am already all packed up, it is so surreal. I had a lot of fun getting everything together, it makes me feel equipped and prepared! haha 
It was great to learn that the weight limit (which was previously fretted) is nothing to stress about. Honestly, I think space in my suitcase was a bigger issue! 
I hope this blog post (which I think we can agree, could pass for a documentary) helped you in some way, whether you are in the midst of packing yourself or are just wondering how much my wardrobe weighs! 


  1. The space bags work so welll. You're a genius for thinking of that!

  2. it's so true! 44 pounds actually allows for a LOT more clothes than it seems. I've had no trouble packing within the weight limits. suuuuch a de-stresser(:

  3. You are like the anwsers to my prayers. I am going to use so many of these tips for when I hopefully go on exchange!