I HATE it. As much as I love organizing and making things fit, packing makes me stressed and agitated like very few things in this world. Even after I do pack in a timely manner, I have terrible flashbacks (visible and emotional) of the end of my first semester in college:
I had been packing all week long, but the pathetic reality was that I completely and totally underestimated the sheer amount of stuff I had acquired in just 2 semesters! Now there weren't any charges for check-in luggage yet, but even still, I was only allowed 2 check-ins. It was literally 2 in the morning when I had the first nervous breakdown of my life. My stuff was half packed and half in piles waiting to be packed... and I had to catch a flight to Hawaii @ 8AM! (being there 2 hours ahead WAS in effect as 9/11 had only occurred 2 years before. In absolute and humiliating desperation, I called my mom (~midnight their time) weeping about not getting it to all fit and not having a clue what to do with all my JUNK! In the end, my beloved roommate agreed to pack the remaining items into a box that she would mail to me in Hawaii. =( My roommate had to finish packing for me! Talk about being incompetent and humbled!
I've since learned to let go of things that I don't need and what my necessities truly are. I've learned that, yes, I AM a "pack-rat" to a certain extent. I've learned to keep a few key things in my purse or carry-on that I'd really rather not go digging for later. I've learned that no matter how neat you fold or lay clothes, they will get wrinkled and smashed -oh an recently: alway, ALWAYS put liquids, gels, and even facial scrubs into a new ziplock bag -especially in your check-ins. For short trips with the kids, put all their "sets" of clothes/diapers in individual ziplock bags. It helps to keep from over or under packing. Truly be brutally honest about how much you NEED to bring... especially in the area of shoes and jackets.
As far as this upcoming trip, I have to figure out what/how to get all the extra gifts and toys that we acquired back with us, if possible. I suppose it will help that the girls have both grown out of some of the clothes we originally came with... but eventually I want to bring those back, too, just in case we have another girl OR my mother-in-law would like them for their newest daughter.
I KNOW that it must be done. I've tried to break it down each day so that I'm not left with the horrible, naive-college-girl experience all over again. In fact, the trip from CO to OR went really well and smooth. I didn't have everything in storage like I had hoped, but it was packed and ready for my in-laws to evacuate when they were ready to have their room back. I had even cleaned out and emptied our vehicle for others' use in our absence. The girls had their own manageable carry-ons, toys and snacks included. My necessities were packed and ready, book and gifts included. All of this with a day to spare and yet, I started to hyperventilate and get nauseated with the stress that I'd forgotten something or something horrible just HAD to happen. My husband and sister-in-law did their absolute best to reassure and calm me down that everything would be fine. Our move from OR to CO was still fresh in my memory... while most everything was packed, I'd again underestimated how much time it would take to clean a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment "by myself." Thankfully, we had such a loving, sacrificing church family that they took that burden upon themselves and cleaned the whole place - with their own cleaning supplies no less! I just went back and added " " to the by myself part... at that point, I DID have the loving, patient support and help of my husband. Perhaps that makes a difference?
Well, now I'm faced with packing again, but this time I have a PRIZE waiting for me after all my trials! Not to mention that if I DO forget anything, it'll keep @ my family's until I can send for it. ;-)