OPINION: Defending Overpacking

The Gatlinburg Mountains. Photo by Delaney Garcia.

In a world of Marie Kondo clutter cleaning, overpacking is a cardinal sin, but I will continue to do it. I hate to say it, but maybe I do overpack. To my standards, I’m simply being prepared for any scenario.  

We’ve all heard the jokes about packing like you will poop yourself every single day of the trip. While I don’t go to those extremes, I enjoy having an extra outfit and shoes in my bag. 

I believe we’ve been conditioned into trying too hard to not appear needy because we feel guilty for desiring comfort. The idea that the only real needs we can have are eating and sleeping is ridiculous. 

If you’re a woman, you understand what it’s like when you don’t have a nice outfit, pristine makeup, and styled hair. People start to act like they need to call the counseling center when you aren’t perfectly put together, but somehow you aren’t meant to pack all of those things. I wish I was Beyoncé and “woke up like this,” but I’m not, and I never will be. 

It doesn’t seem so unreasonable to have a bag for skincare, makeup and shower items when everyone has something to say about your appearance. 

You really cannot please everyone in this world. I may as well please myself first when it comes to things as simple as luggage. 

I won’t risk having to use a mini garbage 2-in-1 shampoo and feeling grimy for the rest of my trip. Now, I cannot enjoy my trip because my scalp is itchy, my makeup hasn’t fully been washed off, and I applied a half layer of what I usually wear on top of it. Should I jump around gloating about how I didn’t overpack? I don’t get a cookie or a badge with “World’s Best Packer” on it. 

Instead, I get spilled on clothes and discomfort the rest of the trip. Money I’ve allotted for souvenirs is now being spent on toiletries I refused to pack and maybe even clothes I already had. 

My luggage is large enough for plushies, snow globes, ugly tourist shirts, and whatever else I throw money at. I leave space for gift shop mistakes, so, am I really an overpacker for having what I need and then some? 

I refuse to be that person who is sacrificing their comfort to not appear high maintenance. 

Messy is my middle name, and I have never learned to be different. It isn’t my fault food can’t reach my mouth; it is just how I am.  

My maturity has come in the form of accepting that part of myself. If you need floss or Shout Stain Remover wipes, I almost always have tools on me. 

I don’t love leaving the house, and I imagine the pandemic has something to do with that. Months inside made me very used to my needs right at my fingertips. 

Other people pack up and leave for college, but I commute from home. I’ve never had to sacrifice the small comforts for college dorms or apartments. I’ve been so busy with school I haven’t really been on trips since pre-COVID era.  

However, I cannot fix myself overnight before a weekend trip. I can be called high maintenance without it hurting me. I’m not gonna be the one flipping underwear inside out or looking bad for my Instagram post.  

So, I am gonna have my spare outfits, hair dryer, and toiletries in my suitcase that could maybe be a duffel bag if I hated myself.  

Whether you can rewear clothes or prefer to have an extra outfit like me, do whatever makes you happy because the whole point of a vacation is to relax.  

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