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Me, in my suitcase


January 25, 2012
Carrie Olson , The Daily Freeman Journal

Can you tell a lot about someone's personality from their suitcase? I think so. While getting ready for a recent trip out-of-state, it hit me. Lying right there on my bed was me in a nutshell. (Help! I'm in a nutshell! How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell? What kind of shell has a nut like this?)

Anyhoo, I looked down and the contents said, "Hey, this is you." It really didn't speak out loud, per se. That would be crazy. But if it did, it would say something like: You try. Try to be organized, be efficient and not messy. Yet, you fail miserably. But kudos for giving the least amount of effort.

And that is me. I try to balance my checkbook. Then forget I have a checkbook until nine months later. I do laundry but the folding part seems to be a sore subject. And I will go on a cleaning frenzy for about a week - go all feng shui and feel absolutely at peace with myself and the world - to eating Doritos on the couch watching an all-day marathon of "Harry Potter" on the couch, forgetting my responsibilities.

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It's not just my suitcase that tells a story. My dad and sister have similar personalities. Organized to the point that you question if they should be diagnosed as OCD. Each folder has a folder. Everything has its place and it is there, all the time. They don't like tasks to sit there for too long. If there is something to be done - mowing the lawn, a project - it is completed and put away, just like that.

So it is no surprise that when we go on family vacations, their suitcases resemble that part of their personality. My sister has makeup kits and storage cases for all of her accessories and items that she would need. My dad has planned all of his clothes so that he does not overpack.

It's absolutely frustrating to see people with such efforts. Not only am I a slob, but I feel much more like one because of them. So I will jealously pack and unpack my suitcase on the trip to look more like theirs. And by the time I get home, it was worse than before. Like a hurricane had unzipped the contents and thrown things about. Something is always spilled - contact solution, hairspray or perfume. Always, with no fail.

I heard from a friend about something similar involving your wallet. She had heard that if someone has their cash always facing the right way in their wallet, neat and organized, it shows that they are orderly in their finances. And if not, well, you get the picture. That idea brought me down for quite awhile.

And after starting to pack my suitcase, again, and looking at the contents of my purse, I made a resolution: It doesn't have to be this way. My suitcase doesn't have to exhibit my messiness. My wallet could be a bit more organized. Because it's not who I am - it's who I've allowed myself to be. A messy pack-rat with organizing deficiencies with bouts of pure laziness.

Although I will always be a little less efficient than my dad or sister, I can put in a bit extra 'oomph' and be more neat and orderly. I can spend a bit extra time putting my cash in the same direction in my wallet, rather than let it accumulate on the bottom of my purse. And I can put down the chips and get some chores and other projects done and treat myself later.

Last week, I started this makeover of my skills - starting with my closet. I heard this tip from a person on how to get rid of clothes. Turn all your hangers one way, and after wearing an item, turn that hanger in the other direction. After a period of time (six months to a year), if you haven't turned the hanger in the opposite direction, you probably don't need it. Boom.

And looking toward an upcoming trip, I bought a few new cases to store my personal items. I even made a list of things I want to pack and purchases I need to make. Bam.

AND, I itemized my checkbook, got my cash in order, called my credit card companies to inform them of the trip and have triple-checked my itinerary, plane and hotel tickets. Mad skills, playa.

This chick is organized and tired. But feeling better about my suitcase. About my life, in fact. Because although I know I'll still be messy in certain areas, it's not a permanent condition and can be easily fixed with a bit of determination and gumption. Now I'm okay about the "Downton Abbey" marathon that I'll be watching tonight.



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