Organizing your clothes at Burning Man
Most people pack their bags and suitcases rather tightly when they are preparing for Burning Man. So what happens when you get there? You open your suitcase or bin and go digging through all that tightly packed gear for an item or two. You take a few things out of your bins to look for that thing you know is down at the bottom of your bin. Well, you’re pretty sure it’s there. Before you know it, your stuff seems to have exploded and is all over the place.
Unless you drove in and miraculously packed all your gear in exact containers from which you’ll be accessing your stuff, you’re going to need to re-sort your gear once you set up your tent. You need places to put the things you’re re-sorting and organizing. I know you already have shelves and bins because you followed the pro tip about bringing shelves, but what else can you do?
Drawers and containers
Some people bring drawers, like the plastic two- or three-drawer units. Some people use a lot of L, XL, XXL and Ziploc brand bags. Whatever your ideal vision of organization is, you need a plan and the supplies to support your plan. You need to have specific places to now reorganize the things you crammed into your bins and suitcases when packing.
I usually sort like with like. All my socks together, all my warm sleeping garments in a bag, all my light linen tops together, all my LED lights together, all my dried or canned food in one container, et cetera, but I can only do that if I have containers to put things into. Lots of containers.
I used to rely more on large ziplock bags. I’m not against them (and I still use them); however, I’m moving more toward cloth bags and, actually, mesh bags. I can see through and into the mesh bags better than I can see through the ziplock bags. And then, once sorted, I usually put those bags inside my shipping bins and suitcases to keep the dust off of them.
So I use the bags to sort smaller clumps of items, then I sort the bags of stuff by type and put them into bins, suitcases and drawers or onto shelves.
If you’ve yet to go to That Thing in the Desert, you cannot comprehend how same-same the dust makes everything appear…even items inside your tent! Say you’re an experienced camper. You’ve attended all sorts of festivals or outdoor adventures. You know how to provision and set up your tent, but have you done this setup in an environment where everything starts to look the same? Where distinguishing items and finding your supplies becomes oddly more challenging because all your stuff has the same tinge of playa dust color on it? The dust coats everything, and even the contents of a ziplock bag are harder to see because of the dust on the outside of the bag.
Be prepared for the dust, be organized from the get-go and your time on playa will go more smoothly. You’ll have more time to be out having fun and you’ll spend less time looking for things.
Whatever you use, is your call, of course–drawers, bins, suitcases, trunk organizers, hanging shelves, mesh bags, regular shelves Just make sure to bring a bunch of containers of different sizes so that you have options for reorganizing your stuff once you’ve arrived.
Bring a collapsible clothes hamper (and a clothes line)
Get a pop-up mesh hamper and use it to put your dirty (and often sweaty) clothes in it. Hampers can also be helpful for hanging items to air dry inside your tent, as can a clothes line (a string hung inside your tent). You’ll probably want to wear some items several times, so you want them to dry out but you won’t want to mix them in with your clean clothes. Nor may be ready to commit these clothes to the dirty clothes pile. Hanging these clothes on the side of mesh hamper or using a small clothes line works well in such situations.
Many people bring a clothes rack and hangers
Having a place to hang a few key clothing items, especially night-time items you wear again and again, can be quite useful. Having a clothes rack also helps get some items up off the floor and more visible. Anything replicating home living in terms of organization can be surprisingly helpful to your tent management.
Having a clothes rack might be overkill for your sensibilities. For others, it’s just the thing. If you do bring a clothes rack, remember to bring the kind of hangers you want to use too.
Organize your clothes after you set up your tent and thank yourself the rest of the week.