Trips are amazing and all, but packing….not so much. And unfortunately for me, I happen to be one of the world’s biggest procrastinators when it comes to packing. Since I travel so often, you can imagine the affect this has on me.
After this last round of trips, I got so fed up with my packing-hot-mess-ness and decided to get a handle on it – or at least figure something out to make my packing life easier. Like, no cramming random things into my bag the night before (or a few hours before, let’s be real!) – always hoping I didn’t forget anything, but always forgetting something.
I know I’m not the only one who struggles from poor-packing disorder, so I wanted to do a post now that I’m such a pro (kidding, but I’m getting there!). All I’m saying is my suitcase for Paris is going to be MUCH prettier than any suitcase I’ve ever had! Part of me wanted to make this for you guys and part of me wanted to make this for myself, ha!, but either way I wanted to share my plans and tips for packing.
How Can I Pack Smartly?
I did some serious research on the nature of packing because I knew there had to be an easier, better way than what I used. And while doing so, I was like, oh DUH Brighton you should TOTALLY make this a blog post! Woohoo! And after digging into to some of the goodness I found online, I realized there was enough information for an entire new series – so say HELLO to the newest mini series – ALL THINGS PACKING!
First up, I wanted to simply dish out some general packing tips that would apply for any trip – whether it be for business or pleasure, long or short, etc.
Before heading anywhere, do yourself a favor and take the time to actually sit down and think about the trip. If you’ve got a general idea of what you’ll be doing, jot some notes down so you can get a better idea of what to pack. And while you’re at it, be sure to check the forecast so you can pack accordingly. I know it sounds obvious and like a waste of time, but make note of how many days you’ll be traveling and nights you’ll be sleeping away from home; also, add any activities you for sure know you’ll be doing to keep in mind when making your packing list in the next step.
Make a Packing List
The earlier you can start, the better! As soon as you’ve got a general idea of what you’ll be doing and how many days/nights you’ll be there, you can start the packing process. Start making a list of things you know you’ll need for the trip days or even weeks in advance before the trip. That way, if you need to purchase something in preparation, you’ll have enough time to do so!
Choose a Color Scheme
Pack clothing that can easily be mixed and matched. For my trip to Paris, Lisel and I chose a basic color scheme so that I’d be able to easily pair different tops with similar bottoms and not have to pack too many different pairs of shoes, coats, and accessories. I’ve found that sticking to a general color scheme really helps in getting the most out of what you’ve packed!
Lay It All Out
Laying out every item helps you visualize what you’re packing and get a better idea of what all you’ll ACTUALLY need. Which if you’re anything like me, is about 1/100th of what you’re wanting to put in that suitcase. When picking out outfits, try (I know it’s hard!) to choose clothing items that can easily be mixed and matched. I know it’s difficult but challenge yourself to be strategic about your outfits. And more specifically, try and pack bottoms that can be worn with at least 2 tops (e.g., jeans, black pants) so that you’ll get the most out of each item you pack. Lastly, when picking out outfits, try and layer as much as possible!
After laying it all out, take another look at your itinerary (or consider the number of days you’ll be traveling) and start eliminating. Do you REALLY need all of that? My guess is absolutely not. But I know you’re not going to listen to me and you’re going to bring it anyway.
Turn clothes inside out
Turning all your clothes inside out before rolling them up is going to help keep stains or weird marks away so that the outside of your items – the important part – will stay looking good. I don’t really do this for ALL my clothes, but if I’m packing a white sweater next to a pair of blue jeans I’ll do it just in case the jeans were to bleed or rub off on the white sweater!
Light clothes go down first
Put lighter clothes or more sensitive materials – especially that can snag or get stained easily, like silk or knits – down first, then roll (more on this next) and pack the darker stuff on top to protect it.
Roll, Don’t Fold
Folding your clothes long, hot-dog style, then starting at one edge and TIGHTLY rolling and storing your clothes in your suitcase is my favorite hack – especially when I have a lot of stuff or if it’s not all fitness or outer wear and can wrinkle.
Put shoes in their own section or in bags
Shoes touch the ground and can just be messy. They can also be really nice and you’ll want to protect them. I like placing my nicer heels, etc. in their own bags with other sensitive pairs (doesn’t have to be their own suitcase, but I’ll use the cloth bags you get when you buy a purse). Or there are cute little “shoe bags” you can get if you don’t have (slash lost your) dust bags. This helps to avoid skid marks and your heels tearing up any clothing items. Boots or more sturdy pairs usually go on the opposite side of my clothes in their own large section.
Utilize The Space In Your Shoes
Don’t waste the valuable space inside your shoes – roll up your socks and underwear to put in your shoes to help maintain shape and save space too! Another tip is to put sunglasses or other breakable stuff inside large boots with stuffed socks to protect your sensitive belongings.
Fill dead space or use straps
Lastly, try to fill any dead space in your bag so things don’t fall everywhere. Either buy a bag that has straps that you can strap down, or add some lightweight scarfs, cubes (more on this next), etc. to make sure nothing is moving!
Consider using packing aids
I can definitely speak for these things really helping, but I think the bulk of packing well truly comes in what you’ve chosen to bring and actually taking the time to think through your outfits. I’ve recently invested in some packing cubes and although I’m not sure they DIRECTLY impact how MUCH I can actually FIT into my suitcase, they do however HELP keep everything nice and neat. Also, they help keep things separated and from sliding around my suitcase.
Use Travel Size Toiletries
I’m sure you already KNOW this, but have you actually TRIED this? It makes a world of a difference. If you’re one of those people that brings your HUGE shampoo & conditioner bottle from home…STOP that! I’m actually working on a packing post for the future that’s solely dedicated to the BEST travel size toiletries and what I personally use.
Tidy Up Your Carry On
I’m very strategic with my personal item and carry on when traveling (especially when I’m checking a bag and can use those 2 bags as additional baggage). Personally, I almost always travel with a 4-wheels-rolling bag because I don’t want to have to lug around a heavy bag in the airport, especially when catching connecting flights.
I have a travel bag (love all the bags by Lo & Sons) that doubles as my computer case and purse and fits securely on top of my rolling bag. I like to keep this bag super organized so I’m able to easily access everything while on the go. I use smaller cosmetic bags and organizers to keep things nice and neat in this bag and always leave extra room for anything I might purchase at the airport (like water, candy, etc.)
That’s all I’ve got for y’all today but hopefully some (or all) of these packing tips will motive you to pack like a smarty pants on your next trip! I’m headed to the airport NOW, but please do comment below if you’ve got any awesome tips that I’ve missed! Wait actually, I’m ASKING you to comment and SHARE the (smart) love people! Whatchya got?! I (slash maybe we) need help! I’m always down to learn new tips and tricks for travel!
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