How much is too much? The dilemma of packing for 12 months.

I sighed with frustration. Four hours in and I’d never had this problem before. In trying to get down from 53 lbs I’d managed to add 7 lbs, making my checked luggage a grand total of 60 lbs. I blame the business attire because I have a method that has never let me down, but I’d never had to account for the weight of a business blazer (they’re surprisingly heavy).

And I thought I’d been so clever by creating a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe? Only the most clever idea ever.

A few years ago, I came across a travel article that recommended creating a photo album of everything in your suitcase so that you did not have to stress out when remembering what you brought. I especially wanted to use it because there were so many things I WANTED to bring. Therefore, I thought it would be smart to see everything laid out and then eliminate items one by one.

From this screenshot (of not all, but a solid half), I ended up bringing 15 items (out of 28 so not bad).

As I struggled to decide what should stay, the following advice echoed in my mind “you can buy clothes—don’t over pack” (hopefully you read this last sentence with an eery voice). The only problem, for everything I didn’t bring, I would have to spend $$$.

And did I want to spend money on clothes or food….

Clothes or delicious, reinvigorating, tasty food?


The choice seemed quite clear–but some poor assumptions on my part led to a longer than usual repacking process.

Mistake # 1: thinking that the weight problem would stem from my shoes. With such…beautiful…and large…feet as I have, I tend to try to bring all my necessary foot ware with me. In reality that ended up being a pair of black boots, sneakers, sandals, high heels and the grey boots that I’m wearing on the plane. Not that many in other words. However, I found that my fears were unfounded. I have never lived in Europe before. My only experiences attempting to buy shoes abroad occurred in South Korea and Morocco. In both places I struggled to find sizes for my feet, but London seems to be a whole new shoe shopping paradise wonderland.

Mistake #2: underestimating the creeping weight of makeup. I downsized! I did! But for some reason, my makeup bag felt like 10 thousand pounds. I eliminated face washes and foundations, to bring only my favorite favorite products. We’ll see…

Mistake #3: not wanting to say good-bye…as I usually do, I left a lot of clothes behind in my closet. Not this time. I did a major donating purge, and I actually think it helped with those final hard choices for my luggage. I sort of Marie Kondo’d it. IF the item brought me no joy–then toss (also a move by Emily Gilmore re:Gilmore Girls Fans).

The internal organs of my suitcase.

By rectifying these three mistakes, i.e. my shoe count by realizing it WASN’T my shoes, tossing makeup and saying some “serious” farewells to sweaters, dresses, and athletic wear, I was ready to check the weight again.

The scale fluctuated, but it said 48 lbs!!! I breathed a sigh of relief.

(Side note: I added just a FEW things before leaving for the airport….continued below.)

When I checked into the airport, my checked baggage clocked in at 51.5 lbs. (ugh, I was laugh crying inside) but I was happy! All I had wanted was a single piece of checked luggage and one large suitcase is what I got.

Why only one checked bag you may ask? Well…

When I studied in South Korea (12 months) I’d brought two large suitcases, and navigating those around the city was an experience I had no interest in repeating.

Ironic then, that when I moved to Morocco, I also brought two large suitcases…of which I was able to drop one off at home before the final journey home…but still…

What can I say? Third time’s the charm.

1 checked, 1 carry on, and 1 personal item.

The next major hurdle? Figuring out where to store my luggage in my dorm room.

[Update: There is plenty of space under my dorm bed to store my two suitcases!]

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