Packing. Just uttering the very word can strike fear into the masses! But packing doesn’t have to be difficult with a bit of prior planning. As someone who has been going on at least one out of town trip a month for the past…ever…I have some experience in traveling! In fact, I’ve packed an entire month’s worth of clothing, accessories, sheets, towels, and toiletries in the very suitcase used in this post! These tips are for anyone, whether you are going on a casual weekender or packing for weeks long camps, seminars, and summer session! On this trip, I’ll be staying for one week with family, then packing it back up and heading over to a textile program at a college in North Carolina! If you follow these tips, you’ll be guaranteed to have less stress on your next vacation!
1. Plan Out Your Outfits With the Number of Days You’ll be Gone
One of my main problems when packing is bringing too many extra outfits! This is definitely a problem if you aren’t sure of what you’re going to be doing, the weather, or other aspects of your vacation. But, one way to help is to plan with the number of days you’ll be away from home. If you calculate the number of days you’ll be gone with a couple of extra outfits, it will help you prevent bringing excess! For example, I try and bring one outfit per day plus one extra for every four days. In this trip, I was traveling for 2 weeks, so I packed about sixteen outfits.
Outfit planning–serious business! Psssttt…this is the fun part!
2. Write A List of Every Single Item You Need
I am a huge proponent of list making! For this trip, I have inserted a picture of two lists I made. I usually make a list of all the categories I am bringing. Specifically, this trip I had to bring clothes, toiletries, and camp gear. With lists, it was easy to visualize not only what I needed to grab, but also where it could go in my suitcase when I started packing. In addition, making lists is a great way to start making outfits. Several weeks before my trip, searched through my wardrobe for all the pieces I was currently wearing and what items looked best with each other; I was even able to make some new outfit pairings I hadn’t thought of before! When I made a list of everything I needed, I was (along with my mom) able to get everything washed, dried, and packed in time for my trip. Finally, it helped me realize what items I was missing, which I was able to make a last minute run to the store for (curse you Twin-XL sheets!). All in all, making lists is a way to keep track of everything you need, especially for longer getaways or packing for multiple family members.
These are a few of my many list I used for my two week long adventure!
3. Try to Overlap Items If You Can, Especially For Long Trips
Being gone for two weeks with one suitcase is quite the challenge! But, if you can make one item stretch for multiple outfits, it can really be a space saving solution! Some items are more difficult to re-wear, but things like classic black trousers, sharp blazers, and a little black dress can be paired with different pieces and accessories to create a whole new look! Look through your wardrobe before your trip and lay out items you wear often. Is this something that doesn’t need constant washing? Can it be re-worn later in the week for a different look? Another tip, look at capsule wardrobes for the ultimate minimalist look! It is taking a few pieces and pairing them in a different ways to have a wardrobe for a week, two weeks, or a month. Search Pinterest for fun and fashionable solutions that cut down on clutter!
The packing begins…
4. Pack the Heaviest Items on the Bottom of Your Suitcase
If you have to roll your suitcase any distance, you want to decrease any drag on it. So, by putting the heaviest items on the bottom, meaning towards the wheels and away from the handle, your suitcase will not become top heavy! In addition, when you suitcase is laying down, it’s a good idea to put those heavier items on the bottom to save space. Oftentimes, heavier items will squish and wrinkle your clothes, and no one wants to pack and iron! So, put the bulkier items on bottom and save yourself the stress! Good examples of things to put on the bottom are: wedges, boots, sheets, winter coats, boxes, gifts, and extras of anything!
Here, I have packed all my heavy shoes, towels, bags, and sheets on the bottom and towards the wheels to reduce the drag when pulling my suitcase!
5. Group Things By Outfits
Getting up early and prepping for the day is already hard enough, why make it harder by having a million pieces that you can’t get to match? By packing in outfits, that problem is eliminated! I’ve been sorting clothes by outfits since I started packing my own suitcase, so I can tell you it really works! By sorting things in the way they will be worn, you are making sure you have all the elements you need for your entire outfit. Often, we get to a destination and realize we forgot the most perfect pair of earrings or best bracelet. When you sort your clothes beforehand, it gives you the opportunity to pull out all your accessories to prevent anything being left behind! In addition, it is the best way to create a shopping list for any needed items! Finally, it is super simple once you arrive at your destination to unpack your already organized outfits into drawers for easy selection in the morning! It is the ultimate solution to your vacation fashion woes and great for any younger travelers who need that extra time in the morning!
These are all the clothes I will need for my two week long adventure! Also, thanks to my mom for the hedgehog scarf in the upper left!
6. Roll Items If You Can
If you’re like me, even after paring down your wardrobe, you still have an immense amount of clothes to pack in what seems to be a shrinking suitcase. So, it’s time to maximize space! Rolling your clothes is an amazing way to save space and reduce wrinkles! By rolling your clothes, you’re able to have layers of clothes and fit more items on a layer, meaning everything is more visible. This makes it much easier to get dressed every day! In addition, it is a space saver because more clothes and be packed into a smaller space. For my personal packing, I find it effective to roll my more formal clothes, like dresses, since I don’t wear those every day. Oftentimes, I am not pairing a dress with anything else, so it doesn’t need to be in an outfit. If you still want to hang up those fantastic frocks, just roll them and bring your hangers with you! Extra tip: if you do get a few creases, use a flat iron to run over them and straighten it out! Two in one tool are always better, right?
I have rolled all my formal dresses and skirts and put them on the right side of the suitcase. That way, I can easily get them out or hang them up when I arrive at my destination!
7. Pack Like Items Together
There is nothing worse than looking for the pillowcase to go with your sheets or the matching shoe to complete your pair! To prevent any mix ups, be sure to pack like items together! In my suitcase, I utilized the side pockets and put all my swim suits, cover up, and rubber flip flops in there! In the other, I put casual flat shoes together since I wear those quite often. That way, when I want them, I know just where to go! This also helps keep small items grouped together. Many times, I’ll put my jewelry in separate drawstring pouches and put them in these pockets so I can pull all the items out together when unpacking!
Here, I packed all my swimsuits and cover up in order so when I want to hit the pool, it is super simple!
8. Pack In Chronological Order
Whether you unpack your suitcase or live out of it, it is best to pack in chronological order with the top being the soonest and the bottom being the latest. I pack my suitcase to have the clothes I will be wearing soon on top with the least frequently used items towards the bottom. Since this is a dual trip, some clothes will go back with my parents at the end of week one, so those are on top. Then, once I arrive at the college I am spending my week at, I will unpack my clothes first, then sheets and towels, then finally line up my shoes under my bed! This will save you from having to jumble all the organization you worked so hard to put together on the first day of your vacation. Be sure to check the weather for each day before you leave so you know if you need to put some raincoats or heavier items on top for early in the week!
This is a shot of my suitcase with almost all my items (sans PJs and toiletries) inside. I packed all my clothes on top with things like towels and shoes underneath!
9. Put Jewelry/Socks/Underwear Inside Other Items
This is a common space saving tip, but I feel that not enough people utilize it! If you are planning to unpack all your items anyway, take space anywhere you can get it! We often hear about putting socks in our shoes, but what about jewelry in the pockets of pants? It will keep your entire outfit together for the day you wear it! Putting t-shirts or other wrinkle free items in bags will not only save space, but also keep the shape of your bags in travel! If you received any gifts or purchased souvenirs during your trip, be sure to try and fit those in any empty spaces you have! There have been a few trips where we have bought an extra suitcase just for our goodies. Before making that Target run, check and see what bags and spaces you have in your suitcase. You’d be surprised at the room you can make!
I put socks in the extra crevices of my shoes (bottom left) and also inside the backpack I was using later in the week!
10. Use Pockets For Inexpensive/Frequently Used Items
Pockets are the compartments for things that go together! If you don’t plan on unpacking your luggage upon arrival, I recommend grouping things like undergarments together for easy access during your vacation. On the left side of my suitcase, there is a built in plastic pocket for any toiletries or items that leak, so often I put my shampoo and conditioner in there to keep them protected! Finally, use outside pockets only for items that are inexpensive or unbreakable. They do have easy access to anyone who wants to, so be sure to only keep things like laundry bags, plastic bags, totes, mess kits, or other less used items in there.
Here, I grouped all my undergarments together for easy access!
11. Use A Laundry Bag
Laundry bags are the secret weapon of easy (well…as easy as they can be) returns from your trip. Often, I will hang my laundry bag in a closet or on the edge of the bed, and at the end of the trip, I just throw my bag into my suitcase! If you are going to be gone for a month or more, you may want to bring a hamper or something with a divider, but for just a few weeks, a laundry bag is perfect to separate the dirty from the clean clothes! No one likes doing laundry (except for me) so make it as easy as you can on yourself! This is also great solution for any children so they don’t end up wearing the same t-shirt day after day. My laundry bag has a strap for easy carrying and a zipper pocket on the front that I use to store swimsuits and delicate items that have yet to be washed.
This is my laundry bag! They are easy to find anywhere, especially during dorm shopping season!
12. Pack Your Toiletries and Pajamas On Top
If you’ve ever traveled late at night, you feel my pain. You’ve driven or flown all day, it’s later than any human should be up, you had to lug your suitcase all by yourself, and now you just want to crawl into bed and sleep for a while. But, you packed your PJs and makeup remover at the bottom of your bag! There is nothing worse than having to dig through your bag to find what you need, especially when you are sleep deprived. If often happens to me that I forget my pajamas, so I used to pack them in the bag first. This goes along with packing chronologically, but pack your first used items on top. If you have to change when you arrive at your destination, be sure to pack that outfit on top too. What I do now is to get my pjs and bathroom items together and set them outside of the suitcase until the day before or day of my departure. Then I throw them in right before I head out the door!
I have my pajamas right on top and my toiletries in the clear left pocket for easy access at my destination!
Here you have it folks! I hope these tips gave you some new packing solutions for your next adventure! Please be sure to comment down below or use the #SincerelyMine to tag me in any of your packing pro tips; I would love to hear them! Until next time!