In Russian we have: Why did you take a lot of clothes and equipment? Are going to go to war? But what about English idiom?

  • It's a bit geeky and modern, but "Crazy Prepared". Jan 20, 2015 at 15:25
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    Everything but the kitchen sink is one such - see english.stackexchange.com/questions/96582/…
    – Frank
    Jan 20, 2015 at 15:38
  • "Are you going to war?" (I love that.) We don't have a common equivalent in AmE, (although there may be regional ones) but one might say, "Are you sure you've got everything?" (sarcastically) or "You forgot to take the curtains."
    – Oldbag
    Jan 20, 2015 at 17:11
  • @Oldbag: I chortled at "You forgot to take the curtains". I'll have to try to remember that one.
    – Marthaª
    Jan 20, 2015 at 21:21

4 Answers 4


The classic idiom for taking a lot of stuff is "everything but the kitchen sink"1. There is an implication that a lot of the stuff will not be needed, i.e. the idiom is a bit derogatory.

If you want to say that someone is using a lot of stuff but without the implication of packing/travel, there's also "everything from soup to nuts".

1 When we go camping for two weeks each August for a medieval recreation event, this becomes "everything and the kitchen sink". :)

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    "Everything but the kitchen sink" has other meanings though: like, "She threw everything but the kitchen sink at the poor raccoon on the porch," or "The chef put everything but the kitchen sink into that soup."
    – Oldbag
    Jan 20, 2015 at 20:26
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    @Oldbag: sure, but it's used all the time for over-preparing, too.
    – Marthaª
    Jan 20, 2015 at 20:52

Idioms for bringing lots of stuff:

Particularly with subtle verbal cues and body language, these phrases could all imply:

My, you've gone overboard!

The whole kit and caboodle

The whole shooting match

The whole shebang

Lock Stock and Barrel

The whole ball of wax

The whole enchilada

The whole nine yards

The works

With all the fixin's

Meaning: everything or completely.

Idioms for preparing thoroughly:

Cover all the bases

A baseball metaphor meaning prepare for every situation.

Dot the i's and cross the t's

Meaning: Pay attention to the smallest details in doing a job.

In the classic Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg was known to say:

The motto of the wise is: be prepared for surprises

He always seemed to have just the right tool packed to solve any unexpected problem.

Prepare for the worst

Truncates Hope for the best prepare for the worst.

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    All of the "the whole [insert item here]" idioms mean something more like "the entire thing" or "completely", not "oh, no, I can't leave this [spray-painted macaroni picture frame|decorative salt shaker|tennis racket with broken strings|shirt that hasn't fit me in 10 years] at home, I might need it". Granted, I don't know what the Russian idiom implies, either, so maybe it does mean something more like "completely".
    – Marthaª
    Jan 20, 2015 at 20:51
  • In the context of preparing (Shall we say for a vacation?), the phrases would mean "everything we will need", paralleling the two wonderful expressions you proposed. We packed the whole kit and caboodle into the car. The larger context around the phrase might or might not imply that the packing and preparation was excessive as the OP seems to imply.
    – ScotM
    Jan 20, 2015 at 21:14
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    @Marthaª - I believe you've got the sense of it. Admittedly, the OP has provided little context and yet, unless someone is literally preparing for (some kind of) war, I think it's safe to assume that the implication here is one of a gently humorous critique of an excessive, that is to say, unnecessary, preparation.
    – user98990
    Jan 20, 2015 at 21:33

Sarcasm works well here.

Is that all you're taking?

Packing light?


There really ought to be a simple idiom along the lines of "packing for a six-week picnic" or "bundling up in April for next winter" but I'm not aware of any existing English idiom that expresses precisely the right sense of excessive or premature preparation. Marthaª's suggestion of "bringing everything but the kitchen sink" comes closest, I think.

Wolfgang Mieder, A Dictionary of American Proverbs (1992) cites three not-very-well-known sayings that are somewhat relevant. Collected in Ontario:

Overdone is worse than underdone.

Collected in New York (and noted in Chaucer's "The Yeoman's Tale"):

Too much of a good thing is worse than none at all.

And collected in Mississippi:

There's nothing like too much preparation to dull the sharp edge of a man's honin'.

Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon, The Salt-Cellars (1889) reports a couple of sayings that offer variations on the idea of "too much of a good thing:

Too much oil puts out the lamp; too much wood puts out the fire.

and (my favorite):

Too much pudding will choke a dog.

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