5 packing secrets from a professional organizer
I haven’t always been a light packer. Growing up (when there was free checked luggage on flights), I adhered to the “more is more” mentality. This escalated to a point when I was twelve years old and brought an enormous, person-sized blue feather and a four foot inflatable crayon on vacation to decorate my hotel room. I remember carefully arranging those items in the room and thinking THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR. Surprisingly, I didn’t learn to hone it in until I was in college, but I suppose better late than never.
These days, I like living with less. It’s simpler and less stressful, but it’s taken me awhile to get there. Here are five tips I’ve picked up along the way, I hope they help make your holiday travel easier than ever before.
1. Bring Less Than You Think You Need. Rick Steves says it perfectly, “Don’t pack for worst case scenario - pack for the best case scenario and simply buy yourself out of any jams.” There are a few exceptions to this (when you’re going to a country where they don’t have speciality items, or when you’re on a road trip and it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra sweatshirts in your bag), but for the most part I believe in this wholeheartedly. It’s cheaper and more efficient to fly with just a carry-on bag, and I promise you won’t miss having less with you. AND if you do, it’s the perfect opportunity to get that “I Love NYC” shirt you’ve always wanted.
2. Packing Cubes. I recently was introduced to these magic organizing tools. I used to think they seemed bulky and unnecessary, but if you’re traveling somewhere where you won’t have the space to unpack, they’re MAGICAL. I like these super lightweight compression ones - I simply roll up my clothes and pack them into the cubes. When I’m living out of a suitcase for a week, it’s such a timesaver to know that one cube has shirts, another has pants, another has pajamas, etc. My suitcase stays organized, more fits inside, and clothes stay less wrinkled.
3. Bring a Laundry Bag. I've had this little laundry bag for years and it’s my favorite. I love knowing that I have a place to put my dirty clothes that stays separate from everything else. It also makes unpacking at home a breeze - just throw everything from the laundry bag in the wash and you’re halfway done.
4. Transfer Vitamins & Medicines to Smaller Containers. To make sure I remember any medication I might need when I’m traveling I make a little pharmacy in a zippered travel bag and keep that with me in my carry-on. I use little plastic containers that are less bulky than regular pill bottles to keep things organized, and then I label them so I don’t forget what’s inside. These are my Genexa allergy & stress medicines that are perfect for travel (because I’m allergic to everything and also traveling can be STRESSFUL).
5. Keep In-Flight (or In-Car) Items in a Separate Pouch. It’s such a bummer to get on the plane and realize your headphones are buried at the bottom of your suitcase. I keep everything I’ll need on a flight - headphones, kindle, throat drops, snack, lip balm - in a little pouch inside my purse or backpack. Once I’m on the plane I take this out and keep it on my lap or in the seat pocket and I’m set for the flight. DONE.
I hope these tips are helpful and if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask them in the comments below! Happy Holidays!