Pack or sort???…


Yesterday, was a “sorting” day. 

The definition of sort, a verb as found in the Dictionary.com:

  1. Arrange systematically in groups; separately according to type, class, etc.: “she sorted out the clothes.”
  2. Look at (a group of things) one after another in order to classify them or make a selection:  “she sorted through her mail.”

Henceforth, in this blog, I will use either of these two words, “pack” or “sort.”
“Pack (in our case), referring to the systematic, relatively insane process (in my case) of placing myriad clothing, electronics and personal effects into four suitcases and two carry-on bags with the ultimate goal of being dragged (yes, dragged) around the world.

Oh, there is one exception to the above “pack,” the process of packing a variety of memorabilia into approximately four over-sized plastic totes which our adult children have offered to store for us in their basements. Thanks, kids!

“Sort” (in our case) referring to the systematic, relatively insane process (in my case) of examining and determining the fate of myriad household items as I peruse endless cabinets, closets, drawers, containers, boxes and old totes. 

Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon sorting only a few items: a small plastic cabinet filled with office supplies and another smaller plastic cabinet filled with cosmetics. 

As I pulled these two dusty cabinets from my walk-in closet where they’ve resided for years in the living room with the TV on in the background, placed them in from of my comfy chair with a “to save” bin on my right an a “trash” bin on my left, working on the smaller cosmetic container first.

Small and smaller plastic cabinets

Two hours later, after picking through every single item, testing, smelling, washing, tossing I discovered I had found 26 years of good quality make-up brushes as shown in the above photo.  

After washing each and every brush and tossing a few, I placed them in this neat little black foldout makeup brush case.  I was thrilled!  It was like brand new, definitely going into the “to be packed in suitcase” pile.  

Toiletries to pack.

On the island of Madeira, Portugal, located off the coast of Africa where we’ll spend 2 1/2 months beginning May 2014, if I need a little paint brush, it will be right there!  As for a makeup brush, yes, I will use some of these, not all of them. As I wrote this today, reality hit me. 

These brushes, minus, two or three for the trip, must go in the “to be sold” pile. If I have had these brushes for so many years and still hadn’t used them it was time to say, “Bye, bye brushes.”

Bye, bye, office supplies.  Bye, bye little cabinets.  But, hello middle photo of miscellaneous toiletries (minus the brushes) including three pairs of false eyelashes that I can’t seem to get to adhere to my own lashes (bye, bye, perhaps?), eight packages of plastic brush teeth picks (our dentist says we’ve saved our gums using these), a portable magnifying mirror, silver cleaning polish (for my silver jewelry), and a plastic container with my cosmetics, enough to last for at least two years.

Office supplies for the estate sale.

All afternoon?  Well, I did four loads of laundry, ironed a pile of clothes, made dinner, washed all the display glassware in the kitchen and spoke to a friend in Florida for an hour, who also retires in the fall. 

Today? Back to the “sorting” in preparation for the upcoming shredding event next Saturday morning; one “to save’ bin on my right and one “to shred” bin on my left.

Clothes, clothes and more clothes…mostly mine…

As a “girlie girl” all of my life, with an affinity for the feminine flair, as far removed from “Tom Boyishness” as a female can be, I unabashedly admit to being the female stereotype when it comes to clothes.  

Although, annoyed by the process of purchasing clothing and its varying accouterments, there is a certain sense of glee when finding a bargain on an item I am particularly interested in acquiring. Not an impulse shopper, I rarely purchase items I don’t need or want.  There isn’t a single unworn, still price- tagged item in my closet (less the items we are purchasing for our journey).  
It’s all about “the hunt” and in some cases, “the negotiation” that get my shopping juices flowing and then, the subsequent acquisition of a high-quality, well-priced, properly fitting item to add to my repertoire of varying taste and style.  

Not a fashion maven, I  possess an uncertainty of my “personal style” as encouraged by an endless pouring of style and fashion shows on TV which I seldom watch. 
Moderately comfortable Easy Spirit fashion flats
Shall I say good-bye to these?

From time to time, I peruse a current fashion magazine in a genuine effort to become familiar with current hemlines, popular colors and shoe styles, always hoping they are befitting my body type, relevant to my age and commensurate with my comfort needs. 

As a result, my current wardrobe consists of a mishmash of layering pieces which I tend to wear without layering, with either a comfy pair of jeans or more often, not so comfy pair of jeans, the comfort factor based on what I had to eat in the past two days.  Sound familiar?

Shoes?  Not so much.  Yes, I have some high heels (seldom worn), fashion flats, (most often hurt my feet), sandals (no flip flops when I can’t stand to wear anything in between my toes), boots and those staples you’ll see me wearing in the grocery store; workout shoes, Keds slip-ons,  Easy Spirit anything and Aerosoles. (In the 70’s, I could wear Candie’s high heeled shoes for 18 hours straight. Not now.)
Comfy old Keds slip-on shoes.  Are these worthy of taking along?

Assessing mine and Tom’s current wardrobes some months ago, realizing how long we’ll be traveling, we both made the decision to sell all of our old clothing at our upcoming estate sale on the weekend of October 27, 2012 and to bring only new appropriate clothing with us.  

There’s no sense in bringing lots of jeans and sweaters to Belize, Africa, Italy (in summer), Madeira and Hawaii and other warm climates.

Old, worn, favorite comfy Dexter’s flats.  Shall I make room for these?  Here again, probably not, based on worn condition.

Here’s my list.  I posted Tom’s clothing list on Thursday’s post, May 31, 2012. Hold onto your shorts!  I said that I’m not a “clothes horse” but, I do like having choices:

  • 15 casual dresses, for everyday wear, easy to dress up or down, roll in a ball in a suitcase
  • 4 dressy dresses, for formal nights on cruises
  • 5 pairs jeans
  • 5 pairs Capri pants
  • 9 pairs shorts, mostly Bermuda length (acceptable to wear in public on hot days)
  • 1 black maxi skirt
  • 16 tee shirts
  • 12 various tops 
  • 4 cardigan sweaters, 4 shrug cover ups (for breezy nights aboard ship, matching dressy dresses)
  • 2 light weight jackets (1 blazer, 1 rain coat)
  • 1 hoodie sweater
  • 3 sets of workout clothing
  • Exofficio BugsAway: 2 pair convertible pants, 2 long sleeve tee shirts, 2 hats, 4 socks
  • 2 belts for dresses
  • 2 scarfs to dress up outfits
  • 4 bathing suits, 2 bathing suit cover up dresses, 1 black pareo
  • 6 sets sleepwear, mostly tanks and shorts, 1 lightweight robe
  • 1 pair workout shoes, 2 dress shoes, 2 pair walking shoes, 3 pair sandals, 2 casual shoes
  • 5 bras, 12 panties, 2 shape wear items for those formfitting dressy dresses
  • Various costume jewelry to match outfits – We will be selling all of our “real” jewelry prior to leaving due to the high risk of exposing oneself to theft while traveling
  • 3 handbags; 1 large, 2 small
Undoubtedly, I am unknowingly leaving out some items at this point.  As the packing begins, I’ll post photos of our packed goods and post a list of all the non-clothing items we will find necessary to pack.  

Most certainly, frequent travelers will laugh when they see our extensive lists.
I would only ask them this one question, “When have you traveled when you are never going home to repack, carrying everything you own for a period of no less than 3 years?”  Now, tell me we’re taking too much!