Day 1. Packing

In August 2012 on August 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

You should pity the checkout staff at my local shopping centre, for I am obsessed with packing.

I’ll happily wait in a long line in order to win a spot with James, the best packer in the place. His use of space is nothing short of beautiful.  I watch each item off the conveyor belt and into the ‘green’ bag, seeing how he creates just the right spot for each one.

It’s like a foodie version of Tetris, the computer – now iPhone – game with which I am obsessed.

I think this game has paid off in my kitchen practices: my skills in packing a dishwasher are nothing short of staggeringly efficient. Just like the instructions which accompany each piece of scientific equipment in a research laboratory, I’ve even thought of developing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).  This would provide other members of the family with a chance to match my prowess. Small cereal bowls cannot and should not go on the top shelf, for example. It just doesn’t work. Small drinking glasses can fit under lunch boxes if placed at the top right. You get the picture.

My Dad (geologist) and baby sister (physiologist) are also deft packers. Could it be the fact that we’re all scientists that confers us with a love of space-efficiencey? Perhaps. Or maybe we’re just ultra-anal. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
[photo credit to k.steudel on flickr
  1. SNAP! I too will line up at the checkout to get the right packer (Doris, a tiny, Asian woman of advanced years and no friendly banter, but she sure knows how to pack – not just fitting the groceries in, but categorised too. Kind of how I put them up on the conveyor belt which is really quite tragic if I think about it too hard.). I also spent too much time during my PhD and post-docs practising my Tetris skills (that’s what 1hr incubation periods are for, right?) which are now exercised to pack the dishwasher. And I am damn good at it. Glad that time in the lab wasn’t completely wasted.

  2. Oh I hear you. I too place items on the belt already pre-sorted. Pantry, fridge, laundry, bathroom….and I get so cranky if check-out person un-sorts them into random bags.

    Unpacking is the worst of jobs, and at least if they’re all organised it is slightly more pleasurable.

    Oh man, I think I am outing myself big time as a little bit OCD.

  3. Baby sister/physiologist/deft packer here. I too arrange items on the supermarket belt in their categories. I know part of this was nurture and not nature as I distinctly remember mum and dad doing this with the cold fridge items at the local supermarket in the Adelaide Hills. I guess pre the days with air conditioning in cars etc, this made excellent scientific sense – to try and keep the cold things as cold as possible before they made it home to the fridge. And the transition to the fridge would have been super quick if all together in the one bag! Here in Paris, you get to pack your own bags, or in our case shopping trolley. Ah the relief!

    • In paris nothing is free…or so Genevieve tells me. She advises you will be paying to let your petit enfant go on the swing, play in the sandpit etc at the public parks there!

      But self-packing offers no disappointment, so you’re winning 🙂

  4. My sister and I refer to this as OCD, nonetheless.. I’m not only obsessed with how I pack, I’m also obsessed with where and how I place my things, hence I get upset when somebody (like, Mum) moves my stuff in and around the house! 😀

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