As much as we want to control our environment, times come where we need to embrace change. Whether moving to a different home or going on a trip, packing is a task that is unavoidable. While packing can be exhausting, there are ways to budget your spoons better to prevent total over extension.

1. Be realistic about what you need and want to pack

The best place to start when you are preparing to pack is being realistic about what you need and want to have on hand. If you are moving, it may feel easy enough to just say you want to take everything. If you inspect your things, you may find things you really don’t want to bring with you. Moving is the perfect opportunity to declutter and really decide what you want to take with you into your new space.

Avoid the just in case packing trap

It’s easy to hold on to items just in case you need them. You may feel like it’s better to have it and not use it than have to repurchase it. This becomes a big moment where you need to look at it honestly. Will you need a fancy dress just in case you go out while on your trip? Will you need 5 sets of clothes for a weekend trip? Do you really need to take that cord that you aren’t sure what it goes to? Being honest with the purpose each of your items serve and when you have gone overboard can help you avoid the just in case trap. Planning for emergencies is helpful, but if you overdo your emergency preparedness, you will be bogged down.

2. Be aware of timelines

When packing for a move, taking advantage of the lead in time to a move can be helpful for breaking your packing into chunks. However, this is also true for when you are traveling. Often for trips, you will want to make sure you take cables for charging your devices. Packing them first could complicate things, especially if you want to have your devices charged before you go. Understanding when you will need items both before and after leaving can help you pack in an order that makes sense and doesn’t bury the things you need most.

If possible, break up your packing into manageable chunks even if for a vacation. I often pack a week before a vacation. Some of that is excitement or anxiety, but some of it is trying to decrease my work load. I’ll pack the clothes I want to take just after washing them. Since I only use my chair for outings for over an hour, I might consider packing wheelchair accessories early. I can feel confident I forgot nothing while also not stalling until the last minute to get things together.

Evaluate your current systems

Moving or traveling can be a nice reset on the routine of your life. When you look at it as an opportunity to fine tune the systems that help you manage your life, you can really improve your life in the future. The place to start is thinking about what works for you and what in your life helps and what’s in the way. What needs do you need to pay attention to in order to avoid a flare? What equipment do you need to be healthy while you travel? When you look at all these factors together, a packing list becomes a lot easier to achieve for a vacation and decluttering becomes a lot easier. By understanding your current systems and working to make it work the best for you (screw other people’s opinions on those systems), you can really make the experience a positive one.