Packing can be stressful.
Not only do you have to make arrangements for the fact that you will be leaving town and need to make sure your house/kids/pets/plants are taken care of, you also have to decide what to bring with you! Are you a light packer, or one who usually brings lots of items along, just in case?
At least for me, as a busy professional woman, I am sorely tempted to bring along a number of non-essentials.
My hairdryer, my entire make-up arsenal (you just never know what kind of face you’re going to need to put on), books for the plane ride…pretty soon I have a bulky and heavy suitcase that is a pain to lug around.
Never mind that it also probably weighs over 50 pounds and I’ll have to pay extra fees at airport check-in. No, thank you.
It’s sometimes tough to focus on packing when there’s so much else going on. Sometimes logic flies out the window during the packing process, especially if you’re short on time or feeling rushed.
But with a little ingenuity and planning, you can Marie Kondo Your Suitcase like a boss and still have everything you need for your trip.
Golden Rule # 1: Does This Bring You Joy?
Marie Kondo’s main message is: If an item no longer (or never did) bring you joy, discard! The same is true when packing for a trip.
So often we tend to haphazardly throw things in our bag that we end up never using or wearing. You wonder why you even brought it. So, for each piece, ask yourself: Does this bring you joy? Do you truly enjoy wearing/using it?
If not, it doesn’t make the cut and doesn’t belong in your suitcase!
Packing Light is Key
This is true for a number of reasons. Not only is your suitcase lighter, but you won’t have to worry about overage fees when you check in at the airport.
And depending on how long your trip is, you may even be able to get away with just a carry-on! Imagine that! In addition, having a lighter load means not dragging your luggage heavily over uneven concrete streets, or up flights of stairs when no elevator is available. Your back will thank you.
During the packing process, carefully smooth your clothes, fold any sleeves in and fold the piece in half lengthwise, then fold over, then in thirds (again using Marie Kondo’s method.) This way, you can pack them upright so you can easily spot and grab.
Underwear and socks are another issue. These tend to get soiled more easily, but only take a few pair as most accommodations these days provide laundry facilities and you can wear several things more than once.
Mix and Match
When planning outfits, choose the appropriate number of tops and bottoms where you can mix and match to make several different outfits from just a few pieces.
The idea is to essentially turn one outfit into three!
Use neutral colors whenever possible, and choose pieces all from the same color palette. In this way, you can turn three tops and three bottoms into about nine ensembles!
And ladies, don’t forget to bring a couple of lightweight dresses to throw into the mix ;).
If it helps, lay out all clothing so you can visually see what the items look like together. Shoes/boots/sandals should be treated the same way.
I always, always, always hang up all of the clothing I’m thinking of taking on a rack first and then, I go through a process of elimination to decide which final i.e. 9 outfits I want to bring with me. It’s super helpful!
Try to pack only two or three pairs of footwear and coordinate them with your outfits. Nothing is clunkier or takes up more space than your shoes.
Packing Cubes are King
They are like a guardian angel for organization and arranging things where they are easily found. Having tops, bottoms, dresses and underwear in their own compartments with clear, see-through packing cubes makes things so much easier.
They also help compress some of your items in your suitcase, leaving room for more bulky items or room for things you will inevitably buy during your trip!
Just don’t get too carried away with the shopping – it’s also a good idea to apply the same ‘will this bring me joy’ philosophy when shopping on the road. Anything you want to buy should pass through two filters:
1) Will this be something I’ll still want to own when I get back home?
2) Will it fit into my suitcase?
In case you’re wondering, I’ve been using these packing cubes and I totally love them :):
Cosmetics and Other Essentials
Since most airlines will let you take one carry-on and one purse/small bag with you on the plane, it makes sense to stow your make-up and any other essentials such as medication and electronics in your carry-on luggage.
Think about what activities you have planned and pack your cosmetics accordingly, taking only what you need. For example, if this is strictly a beach holiday, chances are you won’t need a lot (or any) makeup for that, just plenty of sunscreen and a hat or two!
Go through all of your cosmetics carefully as you are packing. Do you really need that extra lipstick shade or eyeshadow palette? Keep is simple. Less is more, always!
And it goes without saying to use TSA-approved travel sizes for any liquids you have, otherwise you will need to check it in your suitcase.
Side note: If you’d want to check out and find out what I put into my carry-on cosmetics bag, check out this blog article I wrote a little while ago. It’s full of my 26 must-have items to look fresh and be ready to take on your next adventure, even after a long-haul flight ;):
Another pro tip you may have heard before, but it bears repeating – throw one basic outfit and set of underwear into your carry-on luggage.
Just in case the airlines lose your luggage, you have something to wear for a day as you’re waiting to get your luggage back. This is especially true for long-haul flights.
The above tips and tricks will ensure your luggage is light, clutter-free and easy to manage.
Having just the necessities during a trip will make you feel like you’re covered, while also taking some of the worry out of keeping track of too many belongings <3.
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And now – I’m curious – how about you? Do you have any tips you use when packing the Marie Kondo way? Please leave a comment, I’d love to know what you do!