Luggage Tetris

I am not good at tetris.

The whole spatial planning under pressure thing? Not fun.

In undergrad several of my friends played tetris like wizards. Or ninjas. I do not.

It is not that I am particularly bad at tetris, but for some reason I always have had cursedly bad luck.

(I know as a computer game it is some sort of algorithm and therefore technically it cannot discriminate against any one person. But I always got a series of tiles that would not fit any where, or everything except the one tile that would have helped. And then it all builds until I fail. Really, ask these tetris experts, and they will say that they are shocked at the average number of difficult tiles I get! It is plain, old, rotten luck.)


But usually I am pretty good at packing luggage. I prefer not to check luggage when I fly, so I have developed the art of packing everything and the kitchen sink into a carry-on.

Unfortunately, I am not flying this time.

And, I have to take literally everything except the kitchen sink with me.

(I do actually mean literally. Unlike some presidents people.)

In my car.

In my little Honda Accord.

And take my dad with me too.

Packing it all will be similar to tetris. Oddly shaped odds and ends piling around me as I try to fit them all into neat, efficient, rows.

I got all my books packed into five lovely, tightly packed boxes. I was quite pleased; not only were they efficiently packed, but it was fewer boxes then I had thought it was going to be.

And then I started putting everything in my car.

Only four boxes fit.

Actually, as I would like to take my dishes and pans and silverware and such, only three boxes fit.

But, I am resourceful woman.

Despite the fact that it is 102 degrees outside, I am in the direct sunlight, and I am exhausted lugging around heavy boxes.

I take everything out of the trunk, lift up the floor cover, and begin to stuff books into the wheel well.

Around the spare tire, on the spare tire, under the spare tire. . . I am good. I get half a box’s worth of books neatly packed down there.

I replace the floor, and heave all the boxes back into the trunk. It just might . . . .


My keys. I vaguely recall dropping them. Where . . . ?  Oh.

I re-empty the trunk.

I re-open the wheel well.

I pull out a dozen or so books.


Of course my keys were sitting unconcernedly under the spare tire. Where else would they be?

I wanted to sit down and cry.

Instead, I pretended to be an adult and went forth with my chore.

It is not yet finished, but now I might have an idea of how everything might fit. Most non-essentials are at least stuffed somewhere. The silverware is rolled in dish-clothes and stuffed on top of the books. The pots and pans will soon be rolled into blankets and shoved into various open corners. When my dad arrives he will get my dresser and book shelves into the back seat, and attach the bike rack.

What else is there?


My clothes.



I weep. I groan. I beat my breast and tear my hair.

You know, I think I will drink some scotch tonight. In the interest of conservation of space, of course. Because if the scotch is gone, then I won’t have to pack it!


4 thoughts on “Luggage Tetris

  1. You can do it!!! Until you’ve got your jeans under the driver’s seat and your T-shirts stuffed into the sun visors, you’ve still got space. 😉

    I never even bothered with Tetris. Too much frustration… but I used to pride myself on how many freshly-washed dishes I could stack into the drainer, thanks to my younger sisters’ tendency to play around instead of drying them. On the other hand, I’ve never had to move my entire belongings in one trip with my Camry, so I can only bow in acknowledgement of your sufferings. Best of luck….

    • Oh, tetris annoys me too. But it was the best analogy I could find.

      Thanks for your advice! I didn’t quite stuff things into the visors, but I certainly used the under-seat space! And it was amazing how much we fit into that car. Over 7.5 cubic feet of books, all my clothes and shoes, a dresser, a small wooden bookcase, a large painting, all my kitchen goods, (dishes, pots & pans, silverware, glasses, bakingware, etc.,) and my bike.


  2. There will come a day when I have to move out of Michigan, and on that day, my soul will bow under this pressure, this having to pack without being able to make several trips to get everything.

    Lord have mercy.

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