Optimize Your Packing
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
When we take a trip that is a week or less, we try our best to avoid checking a bag if at all possible. If you’re an over packer, this can be hard, but I can over pack with the best of them. The key is to be more efficient and use all of your available space. If you need a few ideas on how to be able to pack as much as usual but in a smaller suitcase, look no further!
Wear your bulkiest clothes- If you’ve read my guide to Packing a Great Carry-on, you know that I’m a huge advocate for wearing your coat, sweatshirt or fluffy scarves on the plane to save space in your bag. Even if you're coming from a place that is warm, they can be super handy on the flight when the whole plane gets cold and you need some extra warmth! It can also save you enough space to get one or two more outfits into your luggage, and you won't get in trouble even if you just carry it on to the plane and don't wear it.
Packing cubes- Not only are packing cubes great for organization, they are also so helpful for saving space! If you figure out the best layout for your cubes in your suitcase, you can then focus on packing each cube as full as you can. It’s much easier to utilize all of your space when it’s split into smaller sections, and then all you have to do is put the packing cubes back into your luggage and you’re ready to go! If you want to learn more about what packing cubes I use, and how I like to use them, keep on eye out for my upcoming blog post all about them!
Roll your clothes- It may not be as helpful for wrinkles as some people claim but rolling your clothes can really help you use all of the space in your bag. Rolling your clothes usually makes them more narrow than folding, so it lets you pack everything in a little tighter and avoid big empty spaces that something folded up wouldn’t fit into. You can also roll multiple pieces of clothing together to plan your outfits before you need them!
Use Your Shoes- Shoes are one of the hardest items to pack since you can’t really change the shape or amount of space they will take up. The best way to keep your shoes from being a giant waste of space is to fill them up! Inside your shoes is a great place to keep your small items like socks and underwear contained. You can also use them to tuck things like bags of jewelry and toiletries into a contained space. If you have a pair of tall boots, you can use them to hold curling irons and straighteners. No matter what you use, the important thing is filling up that wasted space so that you have more room in the rest of your bag!
The "Extras" Bag- If you’re anything like me, you always come back from a trip with mysteriously more stuff than you left with. If you’re already tight on space this can be an issue, so they key to saving yourself later is to pack an extra empty bag for the trip home. If you’re already checking a bag and it wouldn’t make much of a difference to pack a second, you can pack a full duffel bag, but if you want to carry it on with you, you can use a small to medium tote bag. My favorite way to pack it is to lay it flat on top of one half of my suitcase after its fully packed. Then I just fold the suitcase over and zip it up, and the bag takes up less than ½ an inch of space, spread across the whole suitcase!
Pack Small Toiletries- Most of the time, I don’t even pack toiletries in my suitcase because I pack so few that I usually take them in my carry-on. Toiletries, especially for women, can be the biggest space waster of them all! My best advice is to either go without or pack small. Leave as much at home if you can (it really won’t be the end of the world if you have to go a few days without your anti-aging cream and special moisturizer) and strip yourself down to a bare bones regimen. Instead of face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and all the rest, pack a bar of soap, shampoo and conditioner, and call it a day. Pick your core, essential makeup pieces and stick to that (or even let your face breathe and skip makeup for the week!) And if you decide that there are some products you just can’t go without, go buy the travel size or put them in a travel size bottle with just enough for the time you’ll be gone.