Perfecting packing procrastination

By Janet Hommel Mangas

I lugged my suitcase up from the basement nearly two weeks ago — planning and hoping for a miracle that for the first time in my life I would actually get packed early.

I leave for India in less than 48 hours and my suitcase is still sitting on top of a chair in the spare bedroom/writing room with two items — my passport and itinerary.

It’s not like I strategically plan to do things at the last minute. I suppose I have more in common with the character Goofus, than the likeable Gallant. You remember the children’s comic strip that appeared monthly in Highlights for Children?

Goofus waits for the travel fairy to pack for him.

Gallant chooses his clothes ahead of time and carefully rolls and packs his clothes a week ahead of time.

Goofus causes the family undue stress by diligently practicing his packing procrastination skills.

Gallant packs quickly and efficiently, so he can help the family with their chores.

Goofus packs all of his toys, his entire wardrobe, his garden tools, lawn mower and books.

Gallant packs two pairs of trousers and two shirts for his 12 travel days.

Some of you may be wondering how I’ve perfected my packing procrastination skills. I don’t like to brag, but I admit it is an art form that actually changes with each packing opportunity. The following is my current methodology:

Start to pack, but remember that if you pack too early wrinkles will set in — not only in your clothes as you roll or fold them, but in your forehead as you strain to make decisions on what to pack.

Try your clothes on to make sure they fit and match, then disrupt you daughter’s Netflix spring break binge by giving them a style show every two minutes and expect them to give you an official “yay” or “nay.”

Schedule a “wisdom teeth” surgery for your daughter four days before you leave.

This can be a time-stealer, but also a fantastic distraction as you get the opportunity to listen to the medicinal drug-induced entertainment of your 20-year old as she whispered, “Mom, I think they gave me weed instead of intravenous sedation.” And “Mom, they took out seven teeth, including my two front teeth, and that’s all I wanted for Christmas.”

Remember, whatever you do, always spend 60 minutes perusing videos on the most efficient way to pack a suitcase — folding, rolling or bundle-packing. The debate is real.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to