I Am Not A Light Packer



I am not a light packer. I am efficient, yes, and I am quite skilled in that I can pack in much more than the luggage’s seeming capacity. Multiple shopping bags can disappear into artfully manoeuvred crevices and crannies deep into the bag’s abyss. Oddities and knickknacks are tucked away into spaces unseen. I exaggerate, of course, but you get the gist. I do not not bring stuff; I do not not buy stuff.

Packing for a move of semi-permanence* is an entirely different beast altogether. Everything reads as a ‘necessity’ to me, and editing down is a painful, downward spiral. A crisis of prioritisation. I am a scene right out of Hoarders (minus the pet faeces, urine stains and mouldy old food), surrounded by piles and piles of stuff that I cannot seem to let go of or leave behind.

*just how permanent this move will be is yet to be seen.

Examples of decision-making that leave me torn:

  1. If it’s cheap here in Manila, buy it here even if it’s not a top-priority item and will likely take up precious baggage real estate? Or risk over-paying for them abroad? ie. toothpaste, soap, shampoo, detergent, dishwashing liquid, etc.
  2. But I need each of these twenty pairs of shoes!
  3. But I can’t wear the same coat everyday in the winter!

You get the gist. The hardest edit I’m having trouble with right now is with my art materials. They’re not cheap, so they aren’t exactly disposable; but they weigh a ton. Paints, brushes, pens, pencils, ink, markers, tools, hardware, and at least five different kinds of paper in pads or blocks or rolls–it all adds up, and suddenly my baggage allowance is pretty much shot. On the other hand, if I don’t bring my own, I know I’m going to end up paying way too much for them in Italy, and there isn’t any guarantee that I’ll even find the all the stuff that I need.


Excess baggage is something I’m trying to avoid, given that the prices for extra check-in pieces are quite exorbitant (not to mention, not a lot of airlines* offer per-piece pricing and instead they charge you per kilo–imagine the horror), while the rates for freight/shipping/unaccompanied baggage services are just ridiculously insane. I’m not paying tens of thousands of pesos (we’re talking 400-1200 euros and up for a mid-sized box) to transport soap and sheets and shoes and whatnot. It just doesn’t make sense to spend more on the shipping than the actual value of the stuff you’re sending out.

*So far the most economical/reasonably-priced one I’ve found is via KLM; you can add up to 2 extra pieces of luggage (on top of the one you’re already entitled to with the airfare) for about USD90-190 per piece (the second add-on baggage is more expensive than the first). KLM, though, I’ve heard has a bit of a reputation for losing luggage, so that might be a consideration. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any hiccups when we flew with them back in 2013, and all 5 pieces of luggage made it safely back to Manila (that’s five–!–pieces of luggage for two people. Not. Light. Packers.)


So I’ve basically hijacked my mom’s and my sister’s baggage allowance (since they’re both accompanying me for a few days while I get settled in), giving me a grand total of 90kg spread out across 3 pieces of luggage to work with.

As it stands, I’ve packed in my shoes, some coats, household/cleaning supplies, toiletries, art supplies and a few pieces of random clothing (a skirt, a couple of leggings and like ten pairs of socks)–and already I’m kinda screwed. The 3 bags are basically filled up and almost ready to burst, and I think I’ve pretty much hit (and likely surpassed) the 90kg limit. I’ve been in the painful process of editing over the last few weeks and so far not a lot of progress has been made.

Last week I made the decision to take out some bulky canvases so I could pack in my acrylics and socks -_- The week before that, I gave up extra shampoo and put in a travel kettle. Yeah, you so do not want my problems right now 😐 In the meantime, BRB REPACKING.


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