How to Pack for Week at a Cottage
Whether you are traveling to a cottage or to the south of France (to visit Johnny Depp, of course) one should always have a well-packed travel bag. A well-thought out travel bag will ensure you will have a successful vacation and limit your need to pilfer shampoo from fellow travellers while they sleep or drag your bleeding spouse around a strange place searching for a twenty-four pharmacy. You do not want to be one of those packers who would surely die if sent off into the wilderness with one travel bag and no cellular telephone to call for assistance. You want to be the savvy and intelligent traveller who would use a pocket knife, a box of toothpicks and bubblegum to build a treetop town - live like the Swiss Family Robinsons - when asked how you survived for nine years alone in the wilderness you'd simply smile and state, "I just packed what I needed, just enough for seven days and one night in San Francisco"
I would surely die because I am the worlds worst packer, no matter the destination I am almost always guaranteed a sore shoulder and mild cardiac arrhythmia due to the overstuffed travel bag weighing a little more than Lu Hao. I'm not sure exactly what caused me to attempt to amend my overpacking ways, possibly the thought of dying from exhaustion on the way through the airport terminal or cracking a rib when I sling the bag around my torso but I've come up with a list of ways to pack a sensible travel bag for the over-packer.
step one: the medicine cabinet - go to it, now
The most important thing to do is review where you are going and the bare necessities you will need to, well, live comfortably for however long you away. So, your first stop, should be to your bathroom to begin rifling through your medicine cabinet. Here are a few things to think about when packing for the cottage:
1. Shampoo/Conditioner: nobody likes dirty, oily or overly dry hair, so please, think of your friends and family when packing this necessary item.
2. Toothbrush/Toothpaste: if you think bad hair is gross, try talking to someone with bad breath - especially after you packed away that entire bag of sour cream and onion chips - pack this one immediately.
3. Razor: this one is good for men and women who do not want to be mistook for a) a wildebeest, or b) big foot
4. Deodorant/Antiperspirant: please, I know you are spending most of your time in the water but it is going to be hot and nobody needs to have the awkward conversation with you about your smell - pack it, pack it now!
5. Hair Brush: the birds nest look went out when Christina began losing her hair, run a brush through it once and while.
TIP OF THE HUB: If you are not fancy enough to have your very own cosmetic or toiletry bag, I would suggest using a large ziplock bag - if anything opens it can be contained within the plastic and not ruin your clothing (I would suggest bringing an extra bag just in case).
step two: the clothes on your back are as important as the ones in your drawer
I was once told by my grandmother you should pack, at least, one outfit for everyday and then double the underwear because you should always be safe rather than sorry. I am not sure whether people who grew up during the depression often dealt with the a clan of rabid dogs who sought after underwear but I followed her advice to a tee and have never been without clean boxer briefs. Lets pretend we are packing for a seven day cottage adventure, ready? Lets go!
There are seven days in the week, so you should be packing seven different outfits - this doesn't mean you need seven different items of everything but it means you will need to get creative. When my mother packed my bag - back when things were simple and bright - she would pack two more t-shirts than I needed just in case something happened to any of them. So, I would end up with nine t-shirts, eight pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks (most of the time we were in flip-flops but pack more if you are rigid shoe wearers), three pairs of pants (jeans can be re-worn and you can get away with two pairs for seven days), one sweatshirt, two bathing suits and two beach towels.
She would lay everything out on the bed in piles and then ask me to begin packing them into my bag, then I could see what I needed to pack for future trips. I am sure she did not have a checklist but I have adopted the need for one, it was the only way I was able to break my overpacking issue and stomach-churning fear I had forgotten something I truly needed.
step three: the checklist therapy
Having the ability to check off what you have packed from a list you have taken the time to write out is extremely helpful. I would suggest laying everything on your checklist out on your bed before packing it into a suitcase is incredibly helpful and allows you to eliminate items you really do not need. I have learned that visualization is key to packing a well thought-out travelling bag, never again will you be the person seeking medical attention after lifting your suitcase out of the car.