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BND IL columnist shares the story of overpacking for the holidays


Editorials and other opinion content offer viewpoints on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.


In her latest article, Belleville Democratic columnist Michelle Meehan Schrader writes about the dilemma of overpacking for the holidays.


Cheetah print tank top, where are you!? I look into the jungle, also known as my closet. The top is wild, low-cut, and will require a sweater to tame.

But what sweater? I can’t make up my mind so I grab two.

I’m packing for a family vacation in Wisconsin. It’s true. Wisconsin. The fashion capital of the world. You never know who you’ll meet in Door County.

An hour later, I’m sitting on my suitcase, trying to close it. And that’s where my husband comes in.

He shakes his head like a dog with water in its ears. While he tries to find the right words, I launch my attack. The best defense is a good offense, especially when it comes to overpacking.

“Hey, I bet you bring your golf clubs!” I told him. “And I know you also bring a fishing rod.”

“I am,” he said. “But these are necessities.”

“Like wide jeans in three colors, right?”

He reminds me that we’re only going away for a week—and two of those days we’ll be traveling by car.

Travel clothes! How did I forget these?

So many outfits, so little time. I think I will change sets at least twice a day. And then there is the matter of shoes: Hiking shoes. Flip flops. High heels. Strappy sandals.

“I’ve packed a cocktail dress in case we visit a good restaurant,” I tell her.

“Oh, that will go well with my khaki shorts,” he said, smiling.

Unlike my husband, I need wardrobe choices. I pack tops in multiple colors so I can match what I’m wearing to my mood. You can’t wear yellow on a blue day. Well, you can. But only if you look good in yellow.

My sister, Melanie, looks great in yellow. She is also very attentive to my problems. And she agrees that overwrapping is not one of them.

“You don’t want to be a ‘Black-cident’,” she told me.

“A Black-suh-what?” I ask.

“A dark incident. It is a combination of black and accident. It means someone who is so lazy that they dress in black from head to toe.

“You mean I should unpack my little black dress?” I ask and sigh.

“No. Just wear it with a pair of chartreuse pumps and you’ll be fine. Oh and the jewelry. Lots of jewelry. You’ll need something that pops.

Right now, the only thing that jumps is my suitcase. I grab a canvas bag from my closet and start tossing out bathing suits.

Now where did I put that cheetah print tank top?