Making a list, checking it twice

My family loves getting together several times a year for what we call “little family reunions.” That means packing clothing, pet supplies, food, gifts, and whatever else is necessary for the particular occasion. This time around, we’re celebrating several birthdays (mine included) and New Years.

When my children were very young, I kept an organizational notebook with notes and lists covering just about everything life could bring my way. When it came time to pack, I simply went to my packing list and checked off each item as I placed it in the suitcase. Very little thought output was expended, and the secure feeling I experienced as we backed out of the driveway, knowing that nothing had been forgotten, was priceless.

My trusty notebook became a thing of the past during our last move. How I miss it! So, with the new year approaching, one of my resolutions is to resurrect the notebook, albeit electronically, and enjoy the comfort and security that I once felt.

But there’s another benefit to keeping an organizational notebook that transcends the feeling level. So much time can be saved when you don’t have to repeat the same tasks over and over again. It takes time and thought to create lists. It takes even more time and thought to recreate the same list every time it’s needed.

My list for travel looks something like this:

1. Clothing ensembles times the number of days away
2. Shoes for each planned activity
3. Dress clothes for special events, church attendance, etc.
4. Sleeping attire, house slippers, robe
5. Cosmetics
6. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and other bath essentials
7. Laundry bag for soiled clothing
8. Laptop, flash drives, etc.
9. Day-Timer
10. Cell phone
11. Reading material
12. Pet essentials
13. Gifts
14. Snacks, food items for event, etc.
15. Glasses and sunglasses

Placing items in general categories works for me. I travel often enough so that collecting the items in each category has become second nature. You may need to be more specific when making your lists. Of course, if there is an item that I absolutely must not forget, I note it.

If it were to take fifteen minutes to write a packing checklist every time I traveled, I would probably be wasting 3-5 hours a year. I have better ways to spend my time and I’m guessing you do to.