Perhaps nothing is as important as what you pack and how you pack it. Good packing can save time, money and a lot of hassle. If you don’t have what you need you have to stop and buy it. Sometimes its really expensive. Other times you may not even be able to buy it. And knowing where it is can be just as important, since you don’t have it if you don’t know where it is. And if it gets damaged you still don’t have it.
My packing skills have not always been perfect. But within the past two years they have gotten much better. Last year I took a day trip to East Tennessee. After emptying my trunk(quite a task in itself) and basically I threw what was needed back in.
My trip to Charleston was another evolution in my packing. Or maybe a revolution. During the week before going I listed what would be needed. Then a day or two before the trip I once again emptied my trunk. This time it was neater.
I set a folding table in the garage beside the car. Everything came out of the trunk and onto the table. Here’s where your lesson begins.
First, make a list of what you need to take. Most word processing programs have a packing list which you can edit to include what you need. I used a spreadsheet and put little check boxes to the left of my items.
Second, empty your car. You probably need to do this anyway. Its amazing how much can accumulate. You may end up putting a lot of it back in, but remember, if you can’t find it you might as well not even have it.
Second, as you empty your car look for things on your list. When you find these set them to the side. I had one side of the table I put them on, but you can even throw them in one of the front seats.
Third, categorize your car. On a sheet of paper list the areas in your car. The trunk, the glove compartment, the center console, the little box attached to the door. This will let you know where everything is when you reload the car.
Fourth, with the car empty begin reloading. As you pack the car write where everything goes. You can put a code beside each item(PDFD = Passenger’s Door, Front Door) or you can do a little map. Or you could have a different sheet for each part of your car.
Fifth, keep the sheet safe. After all this work you don’t want to misplace the sheet telling you where everything is. I got a pack of plastic envelopes from a dollar store and used one. These are kind of like manila envelopes except I could see through it. And to close it you used the little string thingy you loop around the little round thingy. Of course, a regular manila envelope would work fine. Or a folder. Or stapling each one to cardboard. Or laminating them. Or even putting them in a text file and e-mailing it to your smart phone. (Just don’t lose the phone.) I would recommend a clipboard, but the ones with the metal tops can poke holes in seats.
However you do it, get a system. You must be able to find what you take. For your convenience I’ve uploaded a very crude illustration of what I’m talking about. Feel free to design your own. Another word at this point. If your have kindergartners, they would love to help do this. They could even draw what goes where. It could make the trip planning a lot less annoying. And might even be a way to get them to organize their rooms.