I never realized how much I used to overpack until my Mom took our oldest son Marshall to New York City for a special grandma-grandson trip – just the two of them. I dropped Marshall off at her home 20 minutes before they were supposed to leave for the airport and right before they walked out the door Marshall said to my Mom, “Granny, where’s your suitcase?” And my mom answered, “Marshall, it’s right over there by the front door. Do you see it?” Then Marshall asked, “Well, where’s the other one?” And to that, my Mom said “What do you mean? I packed everything in that suitcase. That’s all I’m taking.” Finally, Marshall said “Granny, I can’t believe it. My mom uses a suitcase like that for just her hair stuff.” Boom! That was it. We all started cracking up and to this day, every time I think of that story, I get a big smile on my face. Once again an “aha moment” and it was actually a turning point because I realized that I was doing it all wrong! I couldn’t believe that my mom who too loves her clothes was actually able to fit all her stuff into one carry on.
The whole process used to be such a chore for me but I’ve gotten a whole lot better. It took a while but I realized that I needed to be better organized and have a system in place. I used to wait until the last minute to start packing but not any more. The days of staying up late the night before are no fun and not a great way to start a trip, so here are some useful packing tips that I’d like to pass on to you:
Lay things out several days before your trip. Check the weather forecast and think about any events which might require something special like a beach day, a night out, or a workout.
Create separate piles for beauty products, technology accessories, clothing and shoes. I’ve found that using clear organizers make it much easier to find things (especially cosmetics) rather than the opaque fabric bags, which don’t allow you to see what’s inside as easily.
I sometimes use the extra large individual clear ziplock bags for my lingerie, socks, and workout gear. These are super helpful when you’re not able to unpack and it makes it so much easier to get dressed because you don’t need to search all over your suitcase for the individual items.
Pick an Anchor Color
I find that by choosing one color (mine is black) and using it as an anchor really helps me with packing and prevents me from overpacking. Unless I’m going on a beach vacation I’ve realized that I can never go wrong with packing a pair of black slacks, black jeans, black shoes and a black bag. It’s then easy to coordinate the tops and jackets and mix and match while trying to introduce some color.
Pack by Outfit
If you travel for work and you’re going from meetings during the day to business dinners at night, this is a huge help. If you need to pack suits or coordinated outfits – try tying a string or ribbon around each individual outfit and putting them into labeled Ziplock bags. This is such a time saver when changing outfits from day to night. This trick also stops me from overpacking because I decide on each outfit prior to zipping up my suitcase.
Personalized Packing Lists
Create an itemized packing list and include the same items you need for every trip. Save it on your phone or keep it tucked in your suitcase and you’ll have it to refer to the next time you travel. You’ll find that it eases the nagging “what ifs” like “what if I forgot this” or “what if I forgot that.” If you need some inspiration, start with my go-to packing list.
Just remember that less is more when choosing what luggage to take. My goal now is to aim for just one carry-on and one large tote for my purse, laptop, iPad and tech accessories. By taking LESS luggage, I know I’ll have MORE time that day in my arrival city because I can avoid waiting in the Baggage area for my luggage. Woohoo!!!
Wishing you happy packing & safe travels!