I’m going to study at the University of Edinburgh for the second semester of their academic year, from January to May. This means I’m leaving the warmth of New Zealand’s summer and heading to the depths of Scotland’s winter; the average temperature in Edinburgh in January is 3 Celsius. Top of my packing list: several pairs of woollen socks, my puffer jacket and every scarf and beanie I own. Let’s get started.
After a strong black coffee I’m ready to go. I’ve recruited my mother to help, since she had nothing better to do. Her talent for packing surpasses my own, even though I’ve done a lot of shifting myself over the past two years. Full disclosure: I also need her vital opinion on which clothes to take.
We’ve managed to haul everything in my closet out into the lounge and are looking at it in dismay.
Mum is ignoring me while I ask her opinion on every single item of clothing I own. I’m considering buying an entire new wardrobe over there. Edinburgh is meant to have great shopping?
Progress! We’ve sorted all my clothes into seasons. The ‘winter’ pile is lacking, but that’s okay. Mum has nice jumpers, and I’m sure she won’t notice if they go missing for 6 months.
We’ve stopped for lunch. Also to watch Gossip Girl on Netflix.
I have three separate piles of clothes adorning my lounge: 1) Winter clothing (beanies, scarves, jeans, boots, woollen jumpers) to be taken; 2) Summer stuff (shorts, dresses, t-shirts, sandals) I want to take for when I go visiting actually warm places in Europe because Scotland reaches about 18 degrees max; 3) Clothes being tossed/gifted to younger cousins, and make me seriously question why anyone has ever given me a debit card.
Getting somewhere. Mum’s yelling at me to “ROLL not FOLD” while I have a mental breakdown and Christmas carols play gently in the background. Bag is half full (not a metaphor, positivity levels are at an all time low).
Stopped for a drink.
Okay, so I can’t claim that the job is done. There’s a lot more of shuffling around and hopefully adding Christmas presents to do, but the lounge is looking less like a bombsite and I’m feeling more prepared.
Here are a few tips for packing from yours truly:
You aren’t going to fit in everything
You’re going to a new place, you’re going to meet new people and totally reinvent yourself and your fashion choices. But be realistic; if you haven’t worn it in the last three years that you’ve owned it, chances are you’re not going to start. Save the space. You also don’t need to pack for every eventuality. If you get an invite to Buckingham Palace then you can always buy a new outfit; don’t bring the pearls just in case.
Roll, not fold.
Mother knows best. You save an incredible amount of space, and it’s also a fun pastime while sitting cross-legged in front of TV.
You’re preparing for one of the most exciting adventures you’ll likely ever go on, so just think about that instead of the amount of stuff you have to get done before you go. Pro tip: a cheeky G&T at 5pm helps with the stress levels.
But don’t forget the boring stuff.
Toothbrush, chargers, travel insurance; all less exciting than coordinating outfits, but possibly more important.