How I Pack – 5 Tips to Make the Process Easier

How I Pack – 5 Tips to Make the Process Easier

With travel season upon us, I thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve picked-up over the years that make the process of packing a little easier.

How I Pack - 5 Tips to Make the Process Easier


I will admit right off the bat, that I have not mastered the art of packing by any means. (unless we’re talking carry-ons) I’ve long been impressed (and envious) by those of you who can throw together 2 weeks worth of outfits into a carry-on suitcase in 15 minutes flat. So if you are one of those people- this post is probably not for you. 🙂 (but please- send us your tips!)

 What I can contribute however, are a few things that have helped to streamline the process for me.

Make a List– I know, not an earth-shattering tip, but hear me out. I have 2 parts to this:

1) A few years ago I made myself a comprehensive packing / travel checklist. I listed out everything I could think of that I could ever need on a trip- every type of clothing, things like sunscreen, travel adapters, umbrella, beach-bag, belts, hats, etc. I printed-off about 50 copies and keep them stashed in my closet. Whenever I’m packing for a trip, I pull one out and cross-off the things that don’t pertain to that actual trip. (i.e. passport or bathing-suit) Then I work my way down the list, crossing things off as I pack them, never having to worry about forgetting anything.

You could certainly make this list each time you needed to, but I find it so much more helpful to have it ready to go. If you’re interested in seeing this list, I’m happy to share- just shoot me a note. You can also buy pre-populated lists- example here.

2) Write out exactly what you’ll need. I don’t mean the actual articles of clothing, but rather what’s on your agenda. For example, for our trip to San Diego, my list looked something like this:

  • x2 travel / plane outfits
  • x3 hiking outfits
  • 1 theater outfit
  • 1 wine-tasting outfit
  • 1 fancy dinner out
  • x3 casual day-time outfits
  • Thanksgiving outfit
  • x2 pajamas
  • x2 lounge-wear

In a perfect world I would know exactly what I’d wear for each of the days, but not all trips are planned to a t. Weather (and moods) can change, but laying it out like this gives me a pretty good idea of what I’ll need and helps me in narrowing down what to take. I also always have a change of clothes and toiletries in my carry-on because I’ve had luggage lost / delayed enough times to know better.

Garment Rack – you’re probably thinking “huh?” I bought this inexpensive one on Amazon and it’s been a game changer. It comes apart and folds down flat in 30 seconds and can be stored right under the bed. (putting it back together is equally as fast and easy) I simply pull it out, hang each top with whatever bottom, and include the corresponding jewelry / accessories. The shoes then sit right below. Displaying the outfits like this helps me visually coordinate and easily see everything I’m planning on taking.

Take Photos – when you’re done deciding on your outfits and you’re ready to pack them into your suitcase, quickly snap a photo of each one. When you’re on your trip, all you have to do is pull out your phone and flip through your photos to decide what to wear.

Packing Cubes – I love these things. Not only are they space-savers inside your actual suitcase, but they help organize everything. I put all of my jeans / pants in one, under garments in another, tops in one, etc. Then I load them Tetris-style into my bag and I’m all set. It also makes things so much easier when you get to your destination. Instead of tearing through your suitcase looking for your favorite t-shirt, you just pull out the cube that has your shirts and you’re all set. I always throw an extra one in there to separate dirty clothes.

Luggage Scale Unless you’re one of those people I was talking about earlier who can pack for 2 weeks in a carry-on, you should probably buy one of these. They are cheap and really useful. As someone who often has a suitcase right around the 50lb weight-limit, weighting my bag before we head to the airport has saved me time and time again. They are also small and light-weight, so you can throw them into your luggage to weigh your bag for your trip back.

What about you guys- any tips / tricks you can share that make packing less cumbersome?
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