I got 99 problems and packing my bag is one! Well it was, but hey two years of doing this I've learned to ditch the extras and add more of the basics.
So yeah we are a couple weeks out from moving our entire life to another country with somehow limiting ourselves to a carry one, maybe a small checked bag, and a 50 pound suitcase....48 pounds now since I'm taking a 2 pound jar of Chunky Peanut Butter.
How can you pack a years worth of your life with you? I have friends who are moving homes to different towns and states with U-Hauls, trucks, cars, and friends and family to help them. Here I am with a big suitcase and a backpack with my mother constantly checking over my shoulder asking if two bottles of Ranch Dressing is needed. She will never understand the nightmare of not having a bottle of Ranch in your fridge or in a restaurant. Not many have had the opportunity to move to a whole different country alone with no packing luxuries.
So how do you do it? How can you make this happen? Why am I even considering doing this....am I out of my mind? Well let's be honest you are; you're moving across the world! You are leaving 90% of your life possessions behind, perhaps in storage or in your parents basement. Heck I ain't sorry for having my momma hold my clothes. Let's just hope she doesn't dig through the boxes; for her own SANITY....
You're probably wondering why you should trust me. Well for one I have done this many times. Two, I have been successful when it comes to being organized. We are all a little Mad when we decided we wanted to take on this challenge. But there is method to my madness and a bottle of wine in my hand. Let me help you get started.
Step 1: Breathe....and then pour yourself a glass of wine and put it aside....for later. The rest of the bottle is what you will need to get by right now. I kid...not really.
Step 1.5: Now let us really start. Acquire your luggage. You are moving with limited sizes of baggage and weight. Let us plan ahead now to find that success. I have found success with one the use of one large suitcase, ideally a strong durable hard case or from a trusted travel brand. This will be your primary suitcase that will travel thousands of miles and through several airports. Invest in a strong durable suitcase, it is money well spent. Believe me! I will post my brand and model that I have found success in another section of my blog. Next, a medium size bag that can double as your carry on suitcase. This will be utilized as your travel bag as you hop from country to country every other weekend during the year. Now a backpack, this will also be utilized as a travel bag for quick trips. Invest some decent money into these items as they will aide you in your journey in, around Europe, and back home to the states.
Another easy investment that I have bought that has aided me from moving abroad to weekend trips around Europe are Packing Cubes!
These are a lifesaver when it comes to organization and packing.
Check out my post here with my Amazon items that I found essential to moving to Spain.
Step 2: Over the next few weeks as you find yourself thinking of what you will need in Spain. Start finding a spot in your room that you can throw things you may consider taking. For me that means I'm throwing anything and everything I may "need" on my futon that I have next to my bed. Use a designated corner of your room or purchase a large storage tub to acquire your items. As you are going through your daily life you may find an item or clothing that you may want to stick aside for travel. Keep this area as your necessities that you will need for Spain, you will be surprised with every day items you may acquire. Not all will be needed. Prior to leaving you'll go through and evaluate what is really needed but this allows you to consider what you may need.
Items to look out and put aside:
Your style is you and will change and evolve as you familiarize yourself with your new home. But it's smart to pack with your basic style and can add more to your wardrobe once your settled in Madrid. Find clothing that is multipurpose and functional. Colors that pair easily with others and items that can be used for work, nights out, and travel.
See my additional post here in regards to what the fashion scene in Madrid looks like and how to dress like you know what you're doing or well at least pretend to. fashion-with-black-emo-passion.html
Clothing will make up the majority of your suitcase... but keep in mind you will be moving to Spain where clothing is abundant and full of styles that are cheap! So be mindful with what you chose to pack, it may be worthwhile to save the space for extra bottles of salsa and Cheetos. But really.
Step 3: Grab them clothes
Coming from a guy with a decent sense of fashion. Let me guide you out of the closet...pun intended.
Shirts. Start gathering a few shirts that are part of your style and what you feel comfortable in. Shirts that you can wear in or out. Madrid can be a relaxed day of sitting in Retiro with friends and bottles of wine or can be a night out dancing away in clubs like Joy with a stop at TacoAway at 5 in the morning. Be mindful of your clothing choice especially your shirt cuz nobody likes sloppy.
Here's a post of what a night out may look like....nights-out.html
Bring a variety of button ups. Neutral colors such as green, blue, purple, black are popular among many Guys out and about. Mostly used for nights out or a nice stroll around Retiro on a Sunday afternoon. (3 max). Polos from a variety of brands are simple and dressy to be used for nights out and casual enough for work. (5 to 7) of these bad boys will suffice. Most common are solid colors from all spectrums of the rainbow. Undershirts that will allow you to soak up sweat from dancing away at the club and from the hot metro rides. (3). Gym shirts are a necessity, brands and styles don't matter. Fitted and sweat control are best. (3)Throw in a few of your favorite college tshirt so to rep your school or a few sport teams. (4) Keep in mind these are the most American thing you can wear to get noticed as a Guiri.
For the ladies keep the same items in mind and find additional tank tops and blouses to fit your needs.
Damn. You probably feel like you have a lot of clothing especially shirts already. Remember you can always buy clothing, especially shirts once there. But since this isn't my first rodeo (I am from Wyoming and this saying is a literal for me, but in this regards just trust me on this post) nor am I scared to take on a challenge I chose to pack these all.
Check out this link to watch how I rolled all my shirts into awesome little Chipotle Burritos that are easy to pack. I swear this saved me so much space and maybe I snuck in 5 of each of those type of shirts....shh. youtu.be/Em4lbLf09M0
Pants. Skinny jeans, sweats, fitted jeans, oh my. Guys in Madrid wear a variety of pants out and about. Most fitting their legs and ASSets appropriately.
Bring your favorite jeans. (3) They can be any wash but I did find a lot of people wearing darker wash. In general Spain is almost Goth. So many people wear black and darker tones that pair nicely with their tops.
Khakis or nice Levi styled pants that have ability to wear to work and a night out. (2) A pair of sweatpants will suffice as well such as fitted joggers.
Shorts of all patterns and styles are welcomed. Fitted to above the knee and well kept free of holes.(3-5)
Jean jackets, hoodies, sweaters are appreciated. But Spain for the most part is warm. Be mindful. One light jacket of dark color is preferred. Make it waterproof and you'll suffice the autumn and early winter. Well fitted sweaters (2) will hold you over on the coldest days. One medium insulated jacket if you choose. To save on space purchase this item once in Spain. You'll have all your friends saying, "Dang girl you're so European."
*Another thing to note too is that Spaniards dress for the season. It may be 65 degrees out during November and they will have thicker pants and sweaters on. I'm from Wyoming it gets to negative 30 during the winter. Not lying. Same thing for warmer weather It may be 70 degrees out and short weather to me but to them it's still not acceptable. They will stare. Heck they stare regardless. It's part of the norm. Anyways back on track.
Shoes. Bring one pair of gym/ running shoes. Next a pair of casual sneakers. Converse are a thing there too. But some nice slick Nikes and Chucks are in. Fashionable and purposeful should go hand in hand. Walking the streets of Madrid is excessive. From daily commutes to work, gym, and private lessons you'll be adding on the miles. 10 miles a day is an average for me. Got the Fitbit to prove it. 3 pairs of shoes max to start off with. Upon arriving purchase some nice boots and additional footwear to get around.
Step 4: Toiletries. So Spain is all about roll on deodorant. I'm a guy that sweats decently and roll ons that they had didn't work for me well. So I loaded up on my Degree Men's sticks. I mean I brought me 8 sticks last year and I used them all. If you have something you find that works for you take it. They have face wash and shampoo like all the brands here for the most part. If there are any essential products that you can't live without go ahead and pack them in your suitcase; limit yourself to an extent. Chances are you will have friends and family visiting while you are abroad, have them replenish any major toiletry item that you may be lacking.
Remember you are moving to a European capital, anything and everything else you can buy in Spain. Don't stress. They got some stuff there.
Step 5: Undies. Please pack a sufficient supply of those puppies. They have those in Spain too but would hate to hear that you forgot those for orientation. But bring a weeks worth to start off along with socks. Ok we are good here.
Step 6: Organize and Pack. Packing is like Tetris mixed with rolling and stuffing. You will do this process at least 3 times. The first is when you think you are ready to go. Then you start packing and find out that you can't fit it all. That's where you go the second time and downsize. Do you really need you Ex-Boyfriends puffy Flannel to cuddle with at night? No. Do you that large bottle of Ranch Dressing? Well duh yeah you do. They don't have ranch there.
The point once you start packing you'll see things you need and things you can leave behind.
Be strategic in packing. Stuff your shoes with undies and socks. Buy packing cubes to stick stuff inside. Really role things and fold them small and tight to have them fit.
Step 7: Take it all out and do it again. You are moving to another country that is advanced as the USA when it comes to living a happy lifestyle. If you can buy it there. You can. Things are cheap there. You'll scream when you see prices of things. It's not too expensive. You will be fine.
For the sake of the post and for you. Let's stop here. If you are on Facebook, Click on the post and then click on the small arrow to your right that will have a drop down menu. "Save post" to see later when you go back through packing.
Accompanying post will come later these next few weeks with answering questions and other things I forgot.
Now drink your glass of wine that you have set aside.
Oh yeah, heres a video on how to roll....your clothing.
Dreamer. Lost in the moment.
Podunk Wyoming native, living and thriving in Madrid. Lover of Craft beer and art.