Julianna Strickland

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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.

packing tips julianna strickland

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.  

Don’t pack for worst case scenario - pack for the best case scenario and simply buy yourself out of any jams.
julianna strickland packing tips

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.

packing cubes julianna strickland

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.

laundry bag julianna strickland

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).

genexa medicine travel julianna strickland

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.

travel bag julianna strickland

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!