Catarina’s Packing Tips

Catarina Padilla 9

Packing for the exchange was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire – little – life. You may not believe in me but I can promise you that I wouldn’t lie about this. I’ll just try to explain how I did it.

Well… As you may not know I’m a person that suffers with anxiety. No, nothing serious, but when I get really excited I get really anxious at the same time. So because of this I started packing in October. Yes!! OCTOBER. I was coming to England only in December but I was determined to pack in October, or at least, start.

The first thing I had to decide was about my suitcases; how many? How big? Should I bring one big and one medium? SO MANY QUESTIONS! But finally I ended up with two massive suitcases that cost me only 135 pounds, so yep, I was happy with that. With my beautiful suitcases – which I spent a lot of time decorating with stickers and patches – was time to choose with clothes I was bringing here.

My tip is: put everything – literally e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g – you want to bring in your bed. Just like a brainstorm that you are recommended to do before an essay, you know? Just put everything there. You’ll catch yourself staring at a bunch of things, A LOT. And you’ll probably freak out thinking things like “IT WON’T FIT BUT I NEED TO TAKE THEM ALL WITH ME” or “DAMN IT, I REALLY WANNA BRING THESE SHOES BUT I KNOW I’LL NEVER USE THEM THERE, BUT I DON’T CARE I JUST WANT THEM WITH ME” – yeah… stuff like that. But take a deep breath because in the end everything is gonna be alright.

You need to THINK. Just make a quick plan in your mind: how many months am I staying there? 6, ok; How many different seasons I’ll go through? Winter (mainly), spring and a little bit of summer. I’ll probably buy some clothes over there right? Right.

The second step is to filter all that. With patience and calm, you’ll start to realize that you don’t need to bring 10 shorts/skirts + 7 pairs of shoes, etc. And of course that the idea of staying 6 or more months away from your closet seems scary, but darling, relax. I was coming to England so I knew that I wouldn’t need that much summer clothes – I’ll probably buy most of them here – so I looked at my beautiful 5 bikinis, throw 4 of them back into the closet and stayed only with 1.

Catarina Padilla 7After a few hours – maybe? – will have a decent amount of clothes in front of you. What I did was put all of them inside one of my suitcases and leave there until December. I remember that a friend told me to do that to see what I’d miss from my closet or not, and if not, that was the sign to not bring it with me. It kinda worked out for me.

December arrived and I swear to all of you, I WAS HAVING AN ATTACK. I started to rethink that all of the clothes I’ve chosen wouldn’t be enough, that I’d need to buy another bag, really, I was desperate. But thanks to mom – thank you mom – we started repacking. We did like a therapy session, piece by piece we talked about it like “Am I gonna wear this? For real?” and finally we got a considerable amount of clothes. Again, thanks mom.

Important notice: I did not bring any towels or bed sheets so I saved some space. Also I used vacuum bags to decrease the volume (great tip guys: in Brazil you can find at Casa e Video, and in England I found it at Wilko).

Some things that I remember that I brought here: a massive winter pyjama set – didn’t use it once because I had a heater in my bedroom so was way too hot to use it -, a cute robe – never used it either -, 1 bikini, 2 pairs of jeans (one blue and one black), 6 shorts and skirts, a bunch of basic t-shirts, 1 jumper – but I bought one from Uni here so just don’t pack the one you already have because you’ll buy one – winter and leather jackets and yeah, 3 sneakers, 1 Timberland and 1 night boot. Basically was this, I reckon.

Summing up I think that packing is a process that requires time and deep breaths. You’ll be fine and you’ll realize that in the end you brought too many. Just take your favorite pieces and pack it. The rest you can find here.

by Catarina Simões Padilla – Rio Pontificia Universidade Catolica – Brazil

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