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Packing, Product Review, Travel

Product Review: Sanity Saving Packing Cubes

These sanity saving packing cubes will be the best organizational decision you'll ever make for trip planning.



I’ve finally unpacked! It only took me….a month.

It’s not that it was difficult – I just wanted to procrastinate. Unpacking would mean that I’ve ‘settled in’ and I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet. When I finally rolled up my sleeves, I realized it was actually pretty easy. I don’t own that much stuff anymore! I give all the credit of an expedited un-pack to these vibrant packing cubes! Can I get a round of applause, please?

Sanity Saving Packing Cubes
Everything I’ve owned for the last 5 months has fit in these.

Getting organized before you need to organize!

While planning my trip to Asia, I cornered one of my well-traveled coworkers for his ‘pro tips’. First thing out of his mouth was “get packing cubes”. Don’t tell anyone, but I had to go Google what those were later on. I’d never heard of packing cubes before! He said that I’d thank myself while I was on the road.

Since these weren’t too expensive, and I hold my friend in high esteem, I went for it. Daniel was right – I’m so glad I did.

You know how it is – especially the ladies. You have a bag or a purse that you carry around, right? Even though you don’t put anything in there except your wallet, phone and keys, over it time it magically gets infested with dirty gnomes that seem to never pick up after themselves! A few weeks later you’re all like “where did all these receipts/gum wrappers/suckers/extra keys/small animals come from?!?!

This problem does not go away while you’re traveling. In fact, it gets worse. 

The pockets of my bag were constantly cluttered with all kinds of things. Random coins from countries I haven’t been in for months, small papers, beetles, chopsticks, notes to myself, receipts in languages I can’t read – it was madness! (not Sparta)

Until you live out of a backpack, it doesn’t really sink in how many times you grab things throughout the day. When you have all of your possessions in one place, you realize that you reach for chapstick 100x/day (that might just be me though), have to touch your passport 4x/day to make sure it’s still there, and need to change your underwear 3x/day (so hot in Asia).

There is A LOT of getting in and out of your backpack. Instead of rummaging through the darkest depths of a mussed up pack, I simply pulled out the packing cube that I needed. Voila! There was my item.

Don’t just take my word for it

Within the first two weeks of being on the road, I knew the packing cubes were a smart investment. By the time I got to Singapore, I may have been taking them for granted. Until one night, I was sitting in my bunk, and this girl comes up to me (this happens to me a lot). “Can I ask you about your orange bags? Did you get them on Amazon?”

In fact, I did! She had looked at the exact same ones, and was going to purchase them herself. But, because she was only traveling for two weeks, she held off. How bad could it be for two weeks?

She wanted to know if I was glad I got them and about the quality. Were they ripping? Do the zippers work okay? Was the mesh tearing or picking? These were better questions than I had asked before I made the purchase myself lol!

I let her inspect them, explaining that I was very happy with them so far. The mesh is high quality, zippers work great and they have been soooo helpful to have along with me. She agreed they looked top notch, and confessed that she regretted not buying them. Keeping her pack organized has been a struggle, even for “just a two week trip”. She then thanked me, and went back to reading her book.

I went back to watching Harry Potter, feeling smug that I was so well prepared.

How to use the cubes

I organized my organizers because I’m a nerd like that:

  • Smallest Cube: Toiletries (medicine, deodorant, sunscreen etc)
  • Medium Cube: Scarves, bandannas, headlamp, extra sunglasses and other things I wouldn’t need to get to very often
  • Medium-Large Cube: Bras, undies, socks, bath towel, and thigh-saving Bandelettes
  • Large Cube: Shorts, shirts, skirts and dresses
  • Drawstring Bag: Dirty laundry / wet clothes

Having this system was such a time, and sanity, saver. Again, instead of digging for days, I just had to pull out the right sized bag. From there, it was always a snap to find what I was looking for!

Between you and me, my favorite one of these was the drawstring bag (though I swear I love all my cubes equally). My mom and grandma always put dirty or wet clothes in plastic bags while we vacationed. Having a dedicated canvas bag was so much better!

Much sturdier, easy identifiable when getting your laundry done, and it held exactly a weeks worth of clothes. This was when I was changing clothes twice a day too because of the heat, mind you! It was also nice to know I could shove my swim suit or bath towel in there without it getting the rest of my stuff wet.

Year Round Cube Use

As I finished unpacking, my cubes laid empty and sad on my bed. Initially, I put all of the small ones into the big one and was going to just leave them in my backpack until the next adventure (South America! more on that later).

As I got more settled at home, I noticed a distinct lack of organization tools available to me. I need a little place for my travel documents, somewhere to put all these extra extension cords, a place to keep my travel things for the next adventure….wait a minute, I’ve got cubes for that!

I bust the cubes back out and they’re now being put to work, like holding fake birds and flowers to wear in my dreads. I love getting your money’s worth out of stuff! 🙂

The cubes that aren’t being used right now are on call for my family’s trip to Amish country in a few weeks, and for my first camping trip of the fall. They better not get used to just sitting around. It’s time they earn their keep!

In closing, if you like to take little trips, or big trips, or short trips, or long trips, or have ever experienced the disorganized-shit blues, I really can’t speak highly enough of these packing cubes.

Added perk: if you lay them, your cat will come.


If you’re thinking this might be good for your next adventure, I’d love it if you’d order them using this little button below. Full disclosure: I’ll get a [small] referral bonus for the sale, but I promise it won’t be enough to go to my head and make me all hoity toity and too good to keep on blogging!

If you do decide to purchase these, please come back and leave a comment about your experience with them for other readers!

 

What gives you the biggest problems while you’re traveling?

-Zoom

These sanity saving packing cubes will be the best organizational decision you'll ever make for trip planning.

 

Packing, Resources, Travel

5 reasons why I’m not a good traveler.

I joke with people sometimes that I’m not a good traveler, but it’s true.

A good traveler usually sees all the recommended tourist locations, and eats a new food every meal. They socialize with other travelers and go out partying all night long. Also, they have unlimited amounts of energy to spend in the heat and sunlight because they are beach loving bums.

I am not a good traveler.

1. I don’t know where I’m going.

When I go out for the day, sometimes I have a rough idea of where I’m headed. By rough I mean that if you ask me where I’m headed, I sometimes respond with something along the lines of: “oh you know…that place with the bamboo…” because I have no idea what the name is.

Some places are easier than others to remember. Angkor Wat, for example, is a world wonder. Tomb Raider was also filmed there, so who could forget? On the other hand, Fushimi Inari-taisha (a shrine in Japan), is a harder name to remember. Its known to me as “the orange gates place”.

I'm not a good traveler because I always forget the name of this place (Fushimi Inari-taisha). I just call it "the orange gates shrine".

I also like to go out and just get lost – in fact, I make it a point to do this! For me, I find this is the best way of adventuring. Everything you come across is spontaneous. Since I’m a surprise-loving-freak this makes it 10x more special and fun!  It also makes my travels more Burning-Man-esque! Continue Reading

Packing, Travel, Trip Planning

What’s in my 24 hour bug out bag?

I was missing your faces so I thought this might be a good excuse to get some video action going! I mean, at least for one of us.

What’s a bug out bag you ask?

From the great WIKIPEDIA: A bug-out bag[1][2] is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours[3][4] when evacuating from a disaster, however some kits are designed to last longer periods of time than just 72 hours. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from asurvival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism and prepper subcultures.[5]

Hit the jump to see what I always have with me while traveling!

In what circumstances would you put together a bug out bag?

Zombies? Giant Meteor? A giant sporting event in your city? What would be in it?

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xoxo <3

Packing, Travel, Trip Planning

Everything I own for the next 6 months.

I'm going to be spending the next 6 months traveling throughout Asia. Here's my packing list - and everything I own for the next 6 months.

If you’ve ever been to an amusement park/state fair/festival/special type of rock concert, and ridden a roller coaster, do this exercise with me.

Imagine the craziest, twistiest, almost-going-to-puke-iest coaster you’ve ever ridden. For me, it was the rockin’ roller coaster at Disney in Florida. The swift curves, the slow and rumbling crescendo of the hill [and in my stomach], releasing and you’re weightless for a moment. Your stomach floats and it kind of feels cool but also weird, and you wonder if feeling your heart beat in your thumb is normal. Whew! That was my entire weekend this weekend. It’s been thrilling, terrifying, and has had plenty of twists and turns.

Friday night was a “New Beginnings Party” with so many of my friends – it was wonderful. I am the luckiest gal – thank you to everyone who came out! It was also a little sad because I won’t see many of them for a long time…twist on a roller coaster. My folks arrived Saturday to take a load of my stuff back to Ohio to storage.We got everything loaded, and my apartment now feels slightly barren to me. Down the hill we go.

Special thanks to my Mom, Dad, Mia, Tom, Aunt Lyla and Uncle Allen for their support in the move! <3

Sunday brought an impromptu adventure to Medieval Times Dinner Tournament out in the burbs – it was SO FUN! We cheered for our knight – the black and white knight – like lunatics. “WHOOOOOO!!!!!” Despite his loss, we had a wonderful time!

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Monday brought some sobriety to the party. My dad and I packed my final belongings into the truck, and tucked Yahtzee into her carrier. We had a quiet breakfast at McDonalds and then they dropped me off for some errands. Mom and I got out of the car and hugged – she cried. I stayed strong to demonstrate my resolve to come home safe and sound. Assuring her that I’d email as much as I could, she put Yahtzee on her lap and they drove off – my colorful bike, Pon Pon, tied to the back.


That was definitely the hardest moment so far – I’m going to miss that bike so much. Just teasing! Mom, I’ll see you soon – I love you! I’m having a swirl of emotions – excitement and fear, the desire for adventure and the desire to be near home struggling against each other to find a balance. 

On a lighter note, only two days until I leave for San Francisco! I accomplished a lot this weekend, thanks to tons of help from my support circle. We got everything loaded into the truck, and I’m all packed.

When I tell people I go to Burning Man, they always ask “What do you, like, even bring to that?” I’m getting the same questions about my trip to Asia, so without further ado…

Here it is! The lists.

IMG_1907
Yahtzee not included, she’s just helping.

All the things (in, um, no particular order):

  • 4 tubes of Burt’s Bees Chapstick
  • Passport and extra photos for visas
  • Two guidebooks which I’m emotionally prepared to rip pages out of if they are too heavy
  • Debit / Card cards
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Mac
  • Apple product chargers
  • Power converter – outlets are different abroad
  • USB Battery Pack
  • Two travel locks
  • Sleeping mask
  • Neck Pillow
  • 14 pairs of underwear
  • 2 pairs of short
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes
  • 2 pairs of flip flops
  • Bitchin’ Bikini
  • 2 wonderful bras from bras galore in Chicago. My lady friends, check this place out.
  • 1 sports bra
  • Glasses
  • Contacts and solution
  • Diva cup
  • Washcloth
  • Towl
  • 4 t shirts
  • 4 tank tops
  • 1 sleeveless dress shirt
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs biking shorts
  • 1 scarf (for covering shoulders and protecting dreads)
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 pairs of Thigh Saving Bandalettes – my thighs’ life savers!! Goodbye Chafe, won’t miss you.
  • My dread crochet hook
  • Regular crochet hook and yarn
  • Deodorant
  • Rubber Cement
  • All the medications
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hair ties
  • Sunglasses
  • Earplugs
  • 90% deet bug spray of poisonous death
  • Flash drive
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp and batteries
  • Mini toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Tiny scissors
  • Tarot cards
  • Headphones
  • The hilarious miniature game “Iota”
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Vaccination Record
  • Laundry bag
  • Hand Fan in the traditional Asian Style

Burning Man

Burning Man requires a few unique items.

IMG_1915

Every year when I leave the playa, I ask myself “What will you do differently next year?” And every year, it’s “bring more warm things” – so we’re heavy on the layers this year!

  • Tent
  • Air mattress and pump
  • Camel back
  • Warm pants
  • Hat and scarf
  • Coat
  • ISIS Wings (not affiliated with the terrorist organization)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Wool socks
  • Hand warmers
  • 10 gallons of water
  • Tent stakes
  • Foodstuffs
  • Bowl and silverwear
  • Baby wipes
  • Lotion
  • Personal lighting
  • Ziplocks and trashbags
  • Toilet Paper
  • Cup (this will be it’s third time to the playa!)
  • War Paint
  • Goggles
  • Gifts
  • Toilet Paper
  • Clown Nose
  •  Pee jug and funnel. Sexy.
IMG_1917
All packed up and ready to go! I’m bringing an empty one to fill with food and water.

 

My pack will come with me to Asia. My two bags will stay with one of my camp friends who is kind enough to store it for me so I can pick it up when I get back and head to the burn. I’ve checked the list once, twice and a third time. I’m pretty sure I have everything…

LET’S GO!

You’d tell me if I was forgetting anything, right?

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I'm going to be spending the next 6 months traveling throughout Asia. Here's my packing list - and everything I own for the next 6 months.
Packing, Travel, Trip Planning

Getting rid of [almost] everything I own.

This is proving to be a lot harder than I thought. I have SO. MUCH. STUFF.

You don’t realize it until you go to get rid of it. Then, every bag of miscellaneous buttons, every spool of thread, every extra envelope and tumbler stands out. Why do I have so many spools of white thread? Was I planning to make my own mosquito net?!

I put together a list of questions to ask myself when confronting something that’s headed to the misfit toys island.

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When we’re talking about spools of thread, this isn’t so hard. I have 10 of them. I only need one, plus, they are cheap and easy to replace. Down the list and check, check, check. No emotional attachment to thread.

When it comes to clothing, this is a bit harder because certain ‘looks’ aren’t as easily replaceable, or some were gifts, but I’m expecting to come back with new tastes anyway – and probably skinnier from having literally sweat my ass off.

Where I’m really struggling is when it comes to things with a strong emotional attachment. Letters from my mom and friends. Gifts that were given to me. I feel guilty getting rid of this stuff.

Why do I feel guilty or scared to get rid of these items?

Regret, well, fear of regret I think. When my mom dies, I think I’m going to want those letters. When I’m missing my best friend I’m going to find joy in that necklace she bought me.

I’ve managed to come to a compromise- or at least a way of justifying getting rid of things without the guilt. I’m struggling with things that have a personal attachment. I know that the givers of these items would want me to be happy – even if that means selling the items so I can travel longer. My mother even gave me explicit permission to sell anything she’s ever got me. Thanks mom!

I’m going to keep those letters though.

I’m having a yard sale to both make some money and get rid of some of my extra things!

UPDATE: The yard sale went better than I could have hoped! I made almost $500. I worked hard to get the word out by putting ads up on craigslist, flyers around town, yard sale websites, etc. We had a great turnout, thank you to everyone who volunteered to help with the sale!

What type of things do you struggle to get rid of? Did you overcome it? 

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