Friday, November 05, 2010

walking to work part 2 - how to pack

Part of the challenge/fun of walking to work is bringing everything that you need with you. I use a combination of packing (in a knapsack) and stashing (under my desk and in a locker).

I like to walk to work in exercise clothing, then change into work clothes at the office. Usually, I pack the day's clothing (including shoes and underwear) into my knapsack before I leave for work. This sounds reasonably simple except maybe for folding and packing things so they aren't totally wrinkled and smashed in the pack, or maybe ensuring that the heels of my work shoes don't jab me through the pack while I walk. Those are the easy aspects, actually. What I find challenging is remembering everything that I need, so I don't end up embarrassingly partly dressed when I change for work.

Usually I talk to myself: "underwear, socks, shoes, shirt, pants, sweater, necklace, earrings." Even so, I sometimes forget. One day I had to wear a sport bra all day with a sheer blouse. That wasn't fatal, but I could have done better. More than once I have forgotten work shoes and have worn my runners with a nice outfit all day, which is okay too, but just okay. I have resorted to stashing a few essentials in my locker at work. I have an extra pair of shoes there, a bra, underpants and socks. So I'm pretty much ready for most types of forgetting.

Lunch is the other big consideration. I pack my lunch almost every day. It's cheaper and healthier than buying, and also quicker, considering most days I would rather run errands (on foot) go to the weight room or grab a fitness class with my one hour break. Bringing my lunch means I can eat at my coffee break and save the lunch break for something else more interesting and productive. I put my lunch into a cloth lunchbag and carry it in one of the compartments of my backpack. There's a fridge at work, so when I get there, I transfer my lunch, thus eliminating the need to carry a bulkier insulated lunch bag. If you're walking, remember to pack an extra snack or two. You will be hungry before lunchtime!

I make no effort to minimize the size of my lunch (volume wise). I like leftovers and salads, and I try to pack in reusable containers, rather than disposable bags and wraps. This makes for a bulky lunch, but a yummy one. One of the reasons I am walking is to help take care of the earth, so I feel that my lunch should not contradict this.

Once a month we have a potluck lunch. I cook something that's packable, so not too big or too fragile to stuff into a backpack. A plastic storage container provides good protection. I have called upon a co-worker to bring an extra serving platter in her car so I don't have to lug one with me.

During the cool months, I don't need a drink along the way, but when it's hot outside, I carry a water bottle. My pack has side pockets for water bottles. This makes it easy to reach the water when I need it.

Toiletries I mostly keep in my locker at work. We have a shower at work, which is good. Phone and iPod I pack with me in my jacket pockets. The biggest decision is whether to pack or stash a purse, and what to do about a nice coat. If I'm going out of the building to attend a meeting or event, my knapsack might not be the right tote. Likewise, my rain jacket or hoodie might not complement my work attire. Often I'll stash an empty purse under my desk, and hang a nicer coat in my office, and use these for a week or two if I need them during the day.

Umbrella, knapsack cover and additional outerwear are good, depending on the weather forecast. As I mentioned yesterday, my outer gear is mostly squashable and takes up only a small amount of space in the pack.

Papers, books and other stuff get their own compartment in the backpack, away from the lunch bag just in case there are any leaks. Wallet, planner, keys, all of these go in just as if I was packing my purse up for the day.

All of this fits into a regular size knapsack. If I've done well, I have everything for the day. If I forgot, oh well, I'll manage. One thing's for sure. When you have walked 45 minutes toward work, and there's 5 minutes left to go, you can't really turn around and go back home to get something that you should have brought with you. Maybe this walking is good exercise for my memory!

question: what is the silliest thing you forgot to bring to work?

mompoet - forgetting is silly, but usually not fatal

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