Why does packing always appear to be more hassle than it has to be? Sure, packing might be a difficult chore on its own, but most of the tension associated with it probably results from the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what you’ll need when you reach your destination.
(What if it pours all day long? How about if your luggage disappears? What if you don’t complete even half of what your itinerary promised you would do?).
We put a lot of weight on ourselves to somehow pack only what we might need—no more, no less—and maintain everything wrinkle-free. Here are some useful packing tips that make successfully packing your suitcase easier:
The Ideal Clothing Packing Methods
Big Thoughts, Big Edits
Gather all the clothing you think you’ll need, then put half of it back. Pack more shirts than bottoms, sticking to the same color family. According to Kathleen Ameche, author of The Woman Road Warrior ($15, amazon.com), you’ll likely need five shirts, two pairs of trousers or jeans, and one skirt for a five-day trip. Approximately two pairs of pants, three sweaters, two dresses, and five shirts fit in a typical 22-inch carry-on bag.
Materials That Will Not Wrinkle in a Bag
Pick knits, wools, and cotton if you can because these materials tend to be adaptable and wrinkle-resistant (some garments can do double duty, like yoga pants that moonlight as pajamas).
Roll and fold the items.
The most effective approach to packing your suitcase is to mix up each packing method a little bit. Stiffer clothes are folded, whereas softer ones are rolled.
When firmly wrapped, Judy Gilford’s The Packing Book ($13, amazon.com) claims that undergarments, T-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won’t wrinkle. Better-quality garments should be folded with care, including starched cotton shirts, blazers, formal pants, and skirts.
Organize clothing with care.
Start by packing the bottom of your bag with your softer, rolled goods. Your folded clothing follows next: Start with the longest pieces for your intermediate layer, such as skirts and elegant pants.
Alternate the hems and waists of the clothing as you stack it. Lay them out along the length of the bag, covering one end with excess fabric. Because thick waistbands won’t be stacked on top of one another, this saves room. Put the pile’s drooping ends in the middle.
Next, place the ends of collars from shorter objects like shirts at the hinge. The arms should also be folded in as well as the collars and ends. Last but not least, wrap snake belts around the bag’s edge to maximize space efficiency (and add another layer of snugness around these three layers).
Put the first set of clothes you’ll need at the top.
Depending on where you’re going, what time you get there, and what the plan is, this might range from a dress to a beach suit to pajamas.
Tips for Shoe Storage
Observe the Rule of Three.
Consider your holy trinity to be a pair of sneakers, a pair of dressy shoes, and one casual sandal or loafer. Shoes take up the most space because of their designs and heels, according to Marybeth Bond, author of 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways ($16, amazon.com). Pack the other two, but wear the biggest, heaviest pair.
Make Your Shoes Work by Using Them
Anita Dunham-Potter, a cruise columnist for MSNBC.com, advises packing additional goods like socks, sunglasses, and device chargers depending on how clean your shoes are. You will ultimately save a little bit of space as a result of this.
Fill one-gallon-size resealable bags with shoes.
Gilford advises putting them along the bag’s sides after that. This will prevent your clean garments from becoming contaminated with dirt and bacteria from your shoes.