The Art of Packing

I have expressed this notion before, but sometimes packing feels like picking a favorite child. My closet is a carefully curated collection, each piece with its strengths and weaknesses which can be effectively employed to help me adapt to various situations, and I often feel reluctant to part with it. In accordance to my rather recent initiative to adopt a “less is more” approach to life in general, I embarked on a mission to compact my most essential articles into a single suitcase.

Before you even start filling your suitcase, the first step is to make a plan! Carry a small notebook with you during the few weeks before your trip and jot down any ideas that come to mind. Gather everything you need and make notes to omit things that might just add extra weight to your luggage. Because I’ll be travelling after I’m through with classes, I’ve decided not to pack things like shampoo that I could easily buy once I arrive at my destination. In terms of clothing, start by laying out the pieces you’re certain you want to bring. The easiest way to stretch your limited wardrobe is to make sure that every piece has at least two more items to wear with it.

Start by making a layer in the bottom of your luggage with irregularly shaped items like shoes and cosmetic bags. Everything doesn’t have to fit together like puzzle pieces because you’ll be filling the gaps with your clothing later.

Next, instead of folding your knits, roll things like tees, scarves and leggings. Rolling compacts the garments more effectively than folding them, and you can also use the rolled items to secure things like shoes. Sometimes I like to roll lightweight woven garments as well, especially because most synthetic fabrications won’t crease.

On the top layer, I like to place more wrinkle-prone fabric like cotton and silk. The best way to avoid deep-set creases, especially because a heavy iron is the last thing you’ll want to bring along, is to layer shirts and dresses and fold two of them together.

I like to keep more valuable items like my laptop, camera, and passport close by in my carry-on bag. Additionally, because there is always a chance that luggage may be misplaced, I’ll be bringing a change of clothes and travel-sized toiletries. Make sure you reference the TSA guidelines for packing liquids before you get to the airport. Another thing to note is that you’ll have to remove your shoes when you go through airport security, so your best option in terms of footwear would be flats that can be slipped off easily and worn with no-show socks.

By the time this post goes up (if everything goes as planned) I will already have landed in the Czech Republic! Let’s hope my own packing advice serves me well.

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One comment

  1. This is a clever idea! I remember people telling me to roll my clothes when packing for a month long to summer trips. I ended up using space bags, and hope for the best. My bag ended up being exactly 50lbs!

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