Chic Packing: Stay Organized, Keep it Clever, and Get Your Sh*t Together
In my twenties, I’ve begun a pursuit to be the best possible packer I can be. By learning from my own personal poor packing decisions to others far better at it than I, keeping it chic and making it look effortless, I’ve picked up a handful of my own tried-and-true methods.
I recognize that everyone’s style is a bit different. Some may have the extra money and resources to pack however much they please, preferring option and variety over convenience and cost efficiency. To each their own. Be the packer you want to be.
But I speak for my own kind: younger women early in their careers, and therefore likely watching most dollars they spend, who need to keep it quick and convenient when traveling. No one likes paying extra for checked baggage - $65 can get me a long way wherever I’m going, and far better spent than carrying extra outfits and toiletries that I really don’t need to bring.
These are tips to pack smart, minimally, and fashionably. I believe women – yes, even women – with practice and honing, can achieve all three.
Ready? Let’s get into it!
First, lay out everything you want to bring prior to the stuffing process. This helps you for a couple of reasons: if there are any cosmetic bags, jars, containers, shoes, or anything else with hollow space, find it, and fill it with something you’re bringing. Suitcase space is finite, a precious commodity, so take advantage of every square millimeter you can.
A pre-packing layout also helps you determine what outfits you want to plan ahead of time. While you probably don’t need to nail down every single ensemble you’ll wear for every minute of your trip, it’s good to have several already planned out. For me, this points me to pieces that will work for several different outfits, an absolute must for successful minimal packing. Just do it.
Next, I’d bring personal touches that will keep your space pleasant and remind you of home. Namely, throw in a few small candles and a bag of lavender. Check your airline’s policies on acceptable paraphernialia to bring on board with you. On my last international flight, candles and matches were totally kosher to have in my luggage, so long as the matches were in my purse.
Having your favorite candles to burn in your hotel/hostel/Airbnb/friend’s living room are the best way to unwind after running out and about your travel destination. There’s something magical and mesmerizing in the flicker of a candle, and scents are a powerful way to evoke old memories and associate with new ones. So burn scents that make you reminisce of your favorite parts of home, while also connecting your favorite scents with your new favorite travel destinations.
Bags of lavender are great to have at home to keep your belongings smelling lovely, and they’ll have the same effect in your suitcase. Who likes lugging around a load of crap that reeks? Keep it fresh, ladies.
Then, save cloth bags to store shoes and dirty laundry. As part of my effort to eliminate plastic from my consumption habits, I’ve been replacing plastic bags with reusable materials. They’re easy to wash so you’re able to keep your next pieces you put in there clean and odor-free.
Another piece of advice: the shoes you choose to bring can make or break your trip. No lie. I recommend capping it at 3 pairs. What specific kinds of shoes that are best to bring depend on season, location, and the nature of your chosen activites, of course. For me, I like to bring one pair that are easy to slide on and off (for quick trips out the door and for airport security), one that you feel fabulous in but are still walkable, and one for active wear. My last trip I took, which was February, I brought thigh-high boots, leopard-print booties, and my tennis shoes. All three served all the purposes I needed out of my shoes, worked with all my outfits, and took minimal space in my luggage.
And for the love of God, do not bring shoes that have not been broken in first. Save yourself the pain and frustration and regret.