Home England Tales from a Chronic Over-Packer

Tales from a Chronic Over-Packer

by Susanna Shigo

Last Updated on March 31, 2015 by

richmond london dorm dormitory kensington housing residence

Dorm rooms here are quite small. Thank goodness I packed light otherwise I don’t think I would be able to fit everything!

I over-pack. Always. It doesn’t matter if I will be gone for a night or a year, I will always pack more than I will ever possibly need or be able to wear. So packing for three months naturally scared the daylights out of me. I was panicked. How would I be able to fit everything I could possibly need for 4 months in 2 suitcases? I thought it was totally impossible. I scoured Pinterest, study abroad blogs and asked tons of people, but even then I really had no luck. I knew that I was just going to have to wing it, and that is exactly what I did.

Let’s start with discussing suitcases. Yes, I did pay extra money to be able to check two bags. I knew that there was absolutely no way that I would be able to fit everything in one suitcase and still have it weigh under 50 pounds. When we worked out the figures, it would be cheaper for me to check two underweight bags, rather than one overweight bag. So it worked out perfectly. Along with my two checked suitcases, I had a backpack on my back and a duffle bag as my carry on.

Now before I came, I was told that London weather is always rainy and always cold. I can honestly say that yes, it has been rainy and yes it has been cold, but not nearly as bad as I expected. To be completely honest, the weather has been absolutely beautiful, and it’s sunny at least 4 days a week.

So let’s start with the basics.

Pants: I brought 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black pants, 2 pairs of leggings, 1 pair of yoga pants, and 1 pair of comfy sweats.

Shirts: Stick with neutrals. I brought 3 plain white t shirts, 1 black one, 2 striped t shirts, 1 navy t shirt, 3 long sleeved shirts (black, white and striped) and 3 dressier tops. I also brought 2 flannels, a chambray shirt and a plain white button up.

PJ’s and Such: Less is more! I brought 1 pair of pajama pants, 2 t shirts, 4 long sleeved shirts, a pair of workout shorts and 1 quarter zip sweatshirt.

Sweaters: Look for sweaters that are warm while still being light weight. I brought a black sweater and a tan sweater.

Skirts and Dresses: I admit I probably brought more of these than I should have. I’m hoping once the weather gets warmer I will be able to wear them more often. Also, look for wardrobe pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down! I brought 2 short skirts, 2 maxi skirts, 2 black dresses, a green dress and 2 white dresses.

Jackets: This was my biggest issue because of how much room they take up. I was able to find a long down puffer coat that packs into a small bag to save space. It is weather proof and really warm, so perfect for those cold rainy days. I also brought with me a tan coat with a fleece lining that I can zip out when it gets warmer. I also brought with me a jean jacket to wear on warmer days. I also brought a black vest.

Shoes: I love shoes, probably way more than I should. Narrowing down which shoes to bring was definitely the hardest part. I brought 2 pairs of boots (brown and black), black wedges, slip on sneakers, boat shoes, flip flops and sneakers.

Accessories: Accessories will be your best friend for the next 4 months. I wear a scarf almost everyday. I brought 6 scarves with me in order to change up the outfits that I brought. It can completely change a look when you add a statement necklace or scarf.

Other Stuff: I brought all of my makeup, face wash, deodorant, lotions and medicine with me. I knew that it would be much cheaper if I bought it all in the States than if I were to purchase it all here. I brought some comfort items with me like a blanket and pictures to hang on my wall. I also brought all of my styling tools for my hair. Be sure to purchase an adapter or two to use when you get into your room.

As for things to buy when you get here, I would say the major thing to purchase would be shampoo and other shower products. You can pretty much find all of the brands from back home here in London, so instead of wasting space and weight in your suitcase, just purchase them when you arrive.

Trust me when I say that it is completely normal to freak out about packing. I was still freaking out even when I was on the plane. But after being settled in for about 3 months already, I can happily say that I packed all that I needed and I haven’t noticed that I have forgotten anything. The main tip is to stick with basics: things that you can mix and match and wear over and over again. By doing that you not only save room in your suitcase, but you open your wardrobe up to many different possibilities!




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