Fridays at Home: Packing

1st June 2012

Well by this time, I’m in New York. My brother took today off, so we’re taking full advantage of our time. BUT I promised you a packing post last week, and I wanted to make good. I’ll be up front: I love packing. For someone who didn’t really take real vacations as a child (teacher conventions were high fun growing up), travel is still something that makes me so excited. I love being in airports. I love planning my outfits. I also really take pride in packing light. A. It’s fun to shock people. B. It helps me relax. C. It isn’t so painful to lug my stuff around. The only time I’ve packed in a regular sized suitcase was when I took a three-week business trip to L.A. And, of course, my luggage was lost and returned to me damaged. Therefore, I try to always pack so that I don’t have to check a bag. Here’s how I do it:

First: Plan. Know what you want to bring and take items that pack well. Here I have three dresses, one pair of jeans, four pairs of slacks, and five tops. All are easy to roll, and rolling also helps prevent wrinkles (especially if you’re packing linen, which is one of my favorites for summer travel).

I swear by space bags – NOT the kind you have to vacuum. I spent 2.5 weeks in Italy with just a rolling duffel thanks to these babies. You seal the zipper after putting your clothes in.

Then you begin rolling the bag up. The bottom of the bag has a special chamber where air is released as you roll. Sometimes it helps to kneel on the bag to get extra air out. I know it sounds odd, but it works really well for me.

So this is what you’re left with. 10 days of clothes and half the size of what it originally was.

It fits perfectly in the bottom of my bag!

Next up, my cosmetic bag. Three compartments with room to spare. One small compartment has all my liquids in it, one has makeup, the other has random cosmetic items.

Since I want to put this in my duffel, I take out the liquid compartment and exchange it for my jewelry bag and sleep mask. You’ll see where the liquids get stashed in a minute.

Then it gets zipped and placed on top of the space bag with clothing.

My bag has this great bottom compartment. It stays separate from the top part, and it’s perfect for shoes. Here I have three pairs of shoes (usually I never bring this many), a curling iron, brush, and a cosmetic bag with all my chargers.

I always bring an extra bag. This one is specifically for the Javitz floor. They hand out totes, but I prefer to carry my own. Plus, it’s nice enough that I can stash a pair of heels and a sweater if I need it during the day.

There’s the liquid pouch again! I am really specific about my shoulder bag when I fly. I want those liquids easy to reach, so there’s less hassle. This stash includes my liquids, my Nook Color (under the notebooks), notebooks, business cards (in the white box), pen, camera, umbrella in a zippered pouch. The purple pouch has meds in it, including bandaids. The colorful pouch has hair ties, bobby pins, Colgate disposable toothbrushes, mints, and clips. The pink Coach purse is what I use for my money (and lip gloss). ๐Ÿ™‚ All of this goes into the gold handbag.

And there you have it. These are the only two bags that will accompany me! I have to say, packing like this makes my life much easier.

So those are my packing tips! Though I’m pretty proud of them, I’m always open to suggestions. What are your packing rules? Do you have any in your box of magic tricks? Feel free to share with the class. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I’m wondering if they do those space bags in the UK, as the amount of space you saved here is excellent and on longer holidays I’m always finding I need yet another bag. You definitely should be proud of your packing, and it’s understandable why you can enjoy it! The only rules I have are to plan exactly what I’ll wear and stick to it (extra clothes for possible different weather aside), and find out if there’s a chance to wash laundry half way through to save on packing for every day. Enjoy BEA!

    • Charlie:

      I’m not sure but would think you could order them relatively inexpensively. They’re great! I also have the “stick to what you brought” rule. It saves me so much headache. I even photographed my outfits in order of days on the bed before packing so I could refer quickly to what I wanted to wear each day (i know how anal I must sound). But it definitely makes me feel better when I travel.

  • steph_h

    First, I love that gold purse! So cute, and I’m sure it goes with everything!

    Second, I’m glad to see a fellow clothes-roller out there. Given that Tony and I are trying to pack everything we need for a year-long trip into 40L backpacks, we have decided to go with the rolling method and are using packing cubes. We were eyeing the space bags when we were at REI, but the salesperson told us they weren’t that good (I suspect he had just never used them!), so when with cubes instead, which have worked well in our test packing, as they keep everything organized but also nice and compact as well. They’re also a great way of keeping us from over-packing since our rule is pretty much we can only take what fits in the cubes!

    • I just recently discovered the cubes. I think they’re great, but I prefer the bags because the space issue. I separate undergarments I their own bag and have an extra for dirty laundry. Works well for me, and I think material cubes are made from would take up space, but that’s just my opinion.
      And roll, baby, roll. It’s great and saves space and wrinkle issues.

      As for the gold bag…I love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Missremmers

    It has been way too long since I’ve stopped by! I love your blog look! Great post! I definitely need to pack better!

    • Thanks, Reagan! I like it too. And yeah, packing is (in my book) an art.

  • You make it all look easy. I am a HORRIBLE packer! I am the mom that has everything you need, in her purse. I pack for every scenario and I hate it! I am not going to BEA but I could never get by with so little.

    • Honestly, I’ve found the necessities for me. Some people probably wouldn’t take some of what I do, but I’m already thanking my lucky stars for the umbrella and denim jacket. I’ve never regretted taking too little but have always regretted taking too much.

  • You are a genius! I am stealing all your suggestions — I have to travel all the time and I’m awful at packing! (On one trip, my wife discovered I had packed 11 lbs of jewelry. Much of it, in my defense, was big chunky hand wrought metal pieces, but still — I haven’t yet lived that down.)

    Enjoy your trip to NYC — am so envious!

    • 11 pounds??? What? That’s some crazy arm candy, chica! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • PS: can you tell me the brand/company of your baggies that you put your clothes in?

    • I answered Elyse, too, but I *think* they’re Space Bags To Go. I got them 8 years ago, though, do not sure. Just make sure they roll.

  • OMG! Where was this last night while I was packing. I might have to go home tonight and reassess and repack before my BEA flight tomorrow. Brilliant!

    • I thought about posting it earlier, but I know plenty of people aren’t leaving yet. Hope this helped. I will say, I took out the red heels and exchanged them for my rain boots…

  • I bow down before you. I’m a pretty light packer, and also managed to go through 2.5 weeks in Europe with one carry-on, but I didn’t have space bags! I’d like to know the brand, too, please.

    I’m also impressed you packed those heels! They’re super cute but I wouldn’t survive two hours in them, much less all day walking around Javits.

    Thanks for sharing your packing tips. Hope you’re having a fantastic time. Looking forward to a full report and pictures!

    • Oh Elyse- those shows aren’t for walking around the city. They’re for any evenings out or events I might attend. I’m sticking with my Sperry’s for about town, and they’re great!
      I think the space bags are Space Bags To Go from Target, but I’ve had then for years so not sure. Just make sure they’re the “roll” kind.

  • it’s probably just a man issue, but where are the pictures of your bra’s and panty’s??? You’ve left out the part of packing I’m most curious about…

    • Brian:

      I was wondering if anyone would ask. I did not picture them… ๐Ÿ™‚ but I promise they’re there.

  • heidenkind

    My advice is always pack at least 50 percent more socks and underwear than you think you’ll need.

    • This is great, but I never pack socks. (I only wear them at the gym or with boots.)

      • heidenkind

        Not even in winter?? Oh I forgot you live in Texas… ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Duh. ๐Ÿ˜‰ and that’s why I said with boots. Then I do.

  • I am one of those that always brings way too much anytime I go anywhere, but I hate checking bags whenever I fly. Those space bags look fantastic – I’ll have to find some for my next trip!

    • pickygirl

      Checking bags is sometimes necessary, but when it isn’t , I try to avoid it.

  • Wow, you have this packing thing down to a fine are! I am very impressed.

    • pickygirl

      I do my best, Marg. It’s something I enjoy challenging myself with. I know some people hate packing, but to me, it means I’m going somewhere, which is almost always exciting.

  • Abookishaffair

    Whoa!!! You are impressive. I need to take some of your advice. I’m bad at packing!

    • pickygirl

      Do you need a cheer? Because I can assist. One, two, three, four, packing well is not a chore…or something like that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • It was great meeting you at the UnCon yesterday!

    I love this post — I’m a clothes-roller, too, although I don’t have space bags… yet. When I was a kid my dad forced me and my brother to always be light packers (probably because he knew he’d be the one carrying all the bags by the end of the trip). His packing rule was to put everything you want to bring with you on the bed, and then remove at least half of it. I still do this, and it really works for me. The only time I can recall ever checking a bag was when I moved to Spain for six months to study abroad.

    Have fun at BEA!

  • Nelizadrew

    I hate wearing shoes but I wear my cowboy boots on the plane (no socks. Boo socks!) and pack my heels and flip flops because they take up less space.
    I always end up checking a back except the one time I went for a weekend wedding. If I take the laptop, clothes make the bag too thick for smaller plane bins and I refuse to check the laptop if I have to stuff it in my pants.

  • Amy

    I love your blog, and I’d like to give you a {Booker} Award! If you choose to accept visit Thanks!!! Happy Blogging!

    • Wow, Amy! Thanks so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • MJ

    I love your carry one bag-great zipper bottom compartment. Who is the maker?

    • MJ – I bought this back when I was in Florence several years ago, and I don’t think it even has the brand or mark anywhere on it. I’ll check again, just to be sure. It really is a great design. I love having the separate compartment.