Every six months, my daughter and I go through a strange ritual with our clothes. The exact timing is approximate. In Spring the days need to feel generally warm enough and in the Fall we base the changeover with the coming of the fog and rain.

2012 has been a real pain. The days didn’t feel particularly warm to me throughout June, even early July was windy and cool. (It is not just my advancing age, everyone thought the same). So my summer wardrobe was not even worn until I arrived in Alberta for summer holidays. Now as we stare down into the steadily approaching dark days of winter, the sun continues to shine. I am looking out the window this morning, the sky is blue and the forecast is for low 20’s celsius. While I don’t want to wear shorts, (although I did pop a pair on for a few hours yesterday afternoon, it was that warm), I can’t commit to long sleeves either.

So our bins marked, “seasonal clothes”, stand at the ready. The obvious no-no’s are clean and piled on top, white shorts and capri’s. Both my daughter and I have opened and dipped into the winter stash, lighter weight long sleeve tees, maybe a 3/4 length tee, and a light sweater. The overall effect is quite messy looking and you have to walk around the bins and shove them aside to vacuum, etc. My husband does not like this time of year and can’t understand why we just can’t change everything out in a few hours work. He suspects we are a bit lazy.

While that may be true in regards to a bunch of other things, it is not the case here. Clothes and the outfits we build to wear each day are a reflection of ourselves. The mood we are in, the look we are going after, our overall projection of our personality. At the most basic the look of the day is boringly appropriate, those combinations we have put together so many times before. But we have those days of inspiration, where we are trying on a new idea, a twist on an old classic, or a whole new outfit and we feel really special. Those feelings carry through the whole day. So you can’t just throw on any old thing and run out the door.

Adding to our complication this season is our Mexico vacation. We are going for 3 weeks and I have mentioned to my daughter that the summer pack up should be organized into 2 parts, what goes to Mexico on the top and the rest on the bottom. She thinks I am going a bit too far. She is not ready to pack for that trip now.

However it will be done today, it is time. My husband shoved my bins right in front of my side of the closet doors this morning. A clear sign of his growing level of appreciation to this whole affair. The bins with our summer treasures will head off to the storage locker until we rescue some of them for a short respite in Mexico. The long winter slumber for the rest until we spring them sometime in early May?

P.S. – If you are interested in how this is done, check out these 2 blogs:


After all the years of traveling, it would seem that I could pack in a flash. For myself only, I can. But when the whole family is involved, it is a different matter.

There was a memorable trip when my son was a baby that we managed to pack a 10 pound salmon and completely forget clothes or diapers for said child. Luckily we were staying with my sister and her youngest was the same size. On another of those Calgary trips, my son decided that he desperately needed to have some medicine as the plane descended and started to cry uncontrollably. It was lucky for all of us that I had priority baggage and could lay my hands on the medicine so quickly.

Even when it is just me, there have been incidents. I once had to wash one pair of undies in my bathroom sink to make do for a couple of days whilst attending really important meetings with the Federal Government in Ottawa. Imagine my surprise to routinely unpack my things for the start of a 2 week trip and realize the major omission.

Another time, I was surprised to learn that the entire town of Aspen did not have a compatible charging cord for my brand new MacBook Pro. In 2 and half days, I had to carefully use my computer for necessities only in order to conserve my battery.

This time there are 4 of us departing together, returning at different times and travelling on different schedules. So the needs for each of us are vary widely. Looking at this picture, you may wonder why we need a snow ball thrower, cheetah high heel shoes and snow boots. (And this is just the start of the staging area).

My mother used to say, “Don’t pack more than you can carry”. That has always been my motto when we fly, but when we drive that all flies out the window and we pack for the vehicle. That means we are taking way more stuff than we need.

To mitigate that problem, the experts suggest a list. I have been refining mine for years. A slightly different one for each type of vacation and a column for each of us. It is the only way I can feel we are all ready to go and that we have a hope of brining everything we need. Compounding my worry is that by trying to leave at the “crack of stupid” for a whole day of driving, we are sure to rush out the door and forget some all important item.

Usually, as I am pulling away from my house bound for a trip, I say to myself – passport, money and computer? Check, check and check, I can literally buy everything else!