Packing Tips from a Last Minute Packer

As much as I love to travel, there is one element about traveling that I could absolutely do without…packing! I’m definitely one of those night before/morning of packers. I always wait until the last minute, but I’ve created and learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me to efficiently pack for trips to Paris, London, Antigua and many other fabulous places. In fact, in a few days I’ll be packing for a cruise to Bermuda (woot, woot), so I thought this post could not only help me, but also guide you as you start planning your upcoming summer excursions.

1. Simple and complementary
Try packing clothes in simple, complementary colors. Consider a neutral or dark (hides stains) palette that you can infuse with colorful accessories (think bracelets and light scarves). Complementary colors and patterns allow you to mix and match pieces and helps you cut down on the number of articles of clothing you need to pack.

2. Wrinkle free is right for me
Jersey, lycra, spandex, polyester (yes, I said polyester) and cotton knit should be a staple in your luggage. They are ideal for traveling because the potential of them getting super wrinkled while crammed into your suitcase is minimal. Also, try rolling all of your clothes instead of folding them for even less wrinkles.

3. Three pairs of shoes are good, seriously
I don’t think you can ever have enough shoes. That is unless you are travelling. Let’s face it, shoes take up a lot of space in your suitcase and they can make your bag even heavier. Another advantage of wearing complementary colors (see the first tip) is that you can pack just a few pairs of shoes that go with all of your looks. You should have a daytime, casual shoe (think flats), activity shoes (think sneakers) and nighttime shoes, heeled or wedge sandals.

4. The great jewelry detangler
There’s nothing more frustrating than packing necklaces and bracelets that get all tangled up as they get shifted around in your luggage. Consider investing in a jewelry holder, like this cute one from Stella & Dot called Roll With It. When you arrive to your destination you won’t have to waste time untangling all of your precious jewels.

5. Ziploc Freezer Bags aren’t just for storing meat
I know it sounds odd, but this is something that I tried years ago and it made packing and figuring out what I’m going to wear each day super easy. Days before I leave for the trip or even dig out my suitcase from the guest room closet, I plan out what I’m going to wear each day. If I’m taking a long trip, I even write down on a piece of paper what I plan to wear each day. When I finally start to pack, I go to the kitchen and pull out a box of Ziploc Deep Freezer Bags. The number of freezer bags I use is dependent upon the number of days I’ll be away. I start with the outfit that I’m going to wear on the first day and roll up each of the articles of clothing and put them in the Ziploc bag. Then, I add the undergarments that I will wear that day along with the jewelery. I repeat the process for the rest of the days I will be away. You’ll be shocked at how organized your suitcase will be and how easy it will be to get dressed each day. After you wear the clothes, you can throw them back in the  Ziploc bag, which helps in separating your clean clothes from the dirty ones.

6. Mix and match wear
Try to pack items that can easily be paired with a lot of things, such as a white tank top, jean jacket or long skirt. You can get a lot of leverage out of those basic pieces and wear them more than once (if the clothing item remains clean). As I mentioned in the first point, if you pack mix and match pieces in complementary colors then you can cut down on the number of articles of clothing you’ll need to pack.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Please share with me some of the tricks you use while packing. I might be able to use them for my upcoming trip! Happy packing!

shannon b. 


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