Sixer Packing


Not the donation; The Packing! I hope...

Urgency Day 385

500 Things Items 107-116: Clothes

  • History: Easy come…
  • Value: I like half of it half as much as I should have
  • Parting Pain: …easy go…
  • Un-possessing: Donations

Oh how I wish I were a Sixer.

No, not a fan of the NBA 76ers (sorry, Phil) and not some sort of super-knowledgeable cricket fan, although I do like their white uniforms.

“Sixers” is the name for people who take a radical approach to our cultural addiction to clothes shopping. They voluntarily put themselves on a clothes diet for one month, limiting their wardrobe choices to just 6 pieces.

That they already own. (Not including underwear.)

New York Times writer Eric Wilson profiled the exercise last week. It was a timely publication for me since I would be vacation-packing soon. If people could wear only six items for one month, I reasoned, surely I could downsize my packing for our upcoming, somewhat briefer, eastern romp.

Or so one would think.

Packing.  I am forced to admit that I suck at packing.

Through the years, I have downloaded packing lists from the Internet. I have saved umpteen “This Time Will be Different!” articles from glossy magazines promising to help me glide away for a grand month-long European excursion with effortless ease carrying only a handsome leather shoulder tote. Think only slighter larger than Grace Kelly’s tiny overnight case in Rear Window and you’ll have the coveted image.

Even armed with numbered checklists with specific tee-shirt counts and Grrr-animal-worthy outfit combinations down to the shoes (only two pairs?!) and earrings (unlimited), I fail utterly, everytime.

I never fail, however, to be stricken with an unshakeable case of the “What-Ifs”

What If…

  • The local temperature plummets (or rises) an unpredicted 50 degrees?
  • Someone suggests ball-room dancing? cliff-diving? wing-suit hang gliding?
  • I suddenly gain 20 pounds?
  • Someone I love loses all her luggage and needs to borrow a complete wardrobe?

The Law of Large Numbers suggests that if I travel enough, one of these things is bound to happen. Indeed, Sydney once needed to borrow one of the three extra pairs of winter tights I packed. For Las Vegas.

Paul would say that my amateurish over-packing results from not traveling enough. If I had ever been a business traveler, I would have had to master the art of elegantly efficient packing. Right now I’m envisioning having learned to pack a lot of coordinating black knitwear.

Paul and I had already been talking for a while about how during our months of being riffed (polite for “laid off”), we had naturally fallen into wearing the same few fleece tops and jeans in the winter months and tee shirts and shorts since summer started. So it’s not some genetic aversion I’m working against.

[I hate to tell our family and friends suffering through the heat of the last weeks that here in Chicagoland we still occasionally put on a fleece. And not because of ramped up air conditioning either.]

Okay. I really really don’t think I can be a Sixer. Even with scarves not counting. But I love a challenge! Here’s the very downsized packing list, pictured above:

  1. plaid shorts
  2. olive shorts
  3. white capris
  4. short skirt
  5. brown tee shirt
  6. navy tee shirt
  7. pink pirate tee shirt
  8. gray polo
  9. sundress
  10. white denim jacket
  11. pajamas
  12. bathing suit

How’s that? Not too shabby, I’m thinking.– especially if I stick to it… And just you never mind about that bag of bike clothes over there in the corner.

What If Paul suggests extreme mountain biking on our holiday?


3 Responses to “Sixer Packing”

  1. Donna Says:

    As someone who is dealing with parallel packing (i.e. packing for a week long trip at the same time you are, albeit a different destination), I have noticed this strange thing: I lived in one pair of khaki capris for a weerecently, but as I begin to pack, I too am going through the what-ifs. So, do you think I could contemplate trying to go through another week with only those same ( yes, they were washed) khaki capris on my trip? No way! I will do my best to keep my packing reasonable, but I will inevitably over-pack, as I always have. Six things, for a week? Maybe, but I’m not willing to try it.

  2. Sydney Says:

    I find that it’s so much easier to pack when I’m going to visit someone with a beautiful wardrobe who wears my exact size in clothing and shoes. In fact, it’s nice to just arrive empty-handed.

  3. Sydney Says:

    I always like to evaluate my packing after the trip is over. Did everything get used? Even the white denim jacket? Did you need something you didn’t pack? I hope you noticed that during the two days I saw you, I wore the same clothing in solidarity.

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