Monday, April 18, 2011

Packing by the numbers

If y'all don't already know by now, I love to travel. I don't go to exotic places, but I do like to go normal places pretty often. And as you may have heard, one of the things I take a lot of pride in (in a good way, I think), is my ability to pack lightly.  I've been meaning to get some photos of my packing process, but usually it only takes me about 15 minutes (and includes K's clothes), but I lucked out last week! I went a little liberal on the toiletries (no plan means no liquid limits), so this is actually packing "heavy" for me.

Trip details
  • Conference for work (business casual): Wednesday-Friday
  • College roomie's bachelorette (massages, dinner/drinks): Friday-Sunday
  • Method of transportation: Driving (Sac-SF, SF-So Cal, So Cal-Sac)

What I brought (includes my Wednesday clothes)
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 dress
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 blazer
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 short-sleeve shirt
  • 2 sleeveless tops
  • 2 belts
  • 2 bikinis
  • 5 days of unders (in the bag)
  • 4 toiletry bags (one for lotions, one for contact lens stuff, one for makeup, one for supplies)
  • 1 jewelry pouch
  • 1 tech pouch (chargers, headphones, travel mouse, etc.)
Not shown: Laptop bag (laptop, portfolio, laptop charger, external hard drive) and purse

While some people stand firmly behind rolling their clothes, I am a flat packer. I actually ended up with extra space and so I threw in my skinnies, an extra blouse, and an extra belt...just in case.

Some tips on packing:
  • I lay my shoes on their sides and then in a plastic bag. Unless I'm carrying anything heavy-ish, shoes go toward the bottom of the suitcase (when it's upright). That way they don't press down on the clothes and wrinkle them as badly.
  • Many little bags are easier to pack than a few large bags.
  • This suitcase doesn't have a garment area, so I folded the blazer with the lapels out and laid it on top. First thing I did in the hotel was take it out and hang it up.
  • If you wear pajamas, I recommend placing them in last. Usually they're the first thing you'll want to grab.
  • I had mostly sleeveless tops, but if you have long sleeves, I leave the sleeves hanging over and fold them over on top at the end. Almost like your tops are hugging everything else on top of them.
While it doesn't seem like a lot, there really is no way I could go through all of these clothes even once in my five days of travel (although some pieces are likely to get reworn). But I always like to have a few wildcards just in case I feel like mixing it up!

What did I end up wearing and what got left behind? Check back tomorrow. :)

Are you a heavy or light packer? Any tips?


  1. That's pretty much how I pack! I also have fabric shoe bags (I've made some & bought some) - they keep my shoes clean & everything else clean, plus they breathe better than plastic. I swear by my Eagle Creek toiletries bag for the main stuff, then I have several little bags for makeup & jewelry. And ditto about PJs on top!

  2. This is awesome. I'm leaving for spring break in a few days and will need to start packing.

  3. Can you come pack for me sometime? I tend to throw things in a bag and I always forget some staple. Like shirts. Or shoes. HAHA

  4. I am such an overpacker. I wish I could down size some. I'm always nervous I won't have something I will need. It's so silly but at least I barely travel.
    My Heart Blogged

  5. I'm a very light packer typically- sometimes too light. It's very useful though. I packed for an 11 day roadtrip in a roller bookbag as I had minimal space after packing all my stuff that was going to college! I'm one of those who swears by rolling- i used to flat pack and now I can fit 3* as much stuff! you did a great job though- it's different for us all. And you fit quite a bit in that small bag!

  6. Oh my, I am such an over-packer - this definitely puts me to shame. I try and try but I just enjoy having options. This is definitely a skill I need to work on.

  7. my boyfriend sometimes has to bring a couple light suit jackets, but he doesn't want to spring for a garment bag, so we lay everything out on top of the suits, then roll it up lightly and put it diagonally into the suitcase. your clothes won't wrinkle much and you can use the suitcase corners for your remaining socks, toiletries, etc. i think this only works if you don't have much to pack tho.

  8. this was interesting to read. I am always interested in how other people pack. I am definitely a heavy packer when i go on an actual vacation. I do much better for just little weekend excursions. I'm thinking about doing a packing post for disney... but it's grappling with it a lot, so we'll see.

  9. Super helpful tips! I'm a terrible packer. I actually just lie everything on the bed that I want to take and it magically gets packed by my husband LOL!

  10. @trystan - I have one or two fabric shoe bags, but I hope to make a few more. Good point on the breathable fabric vs. plastic!

    @jo - have fun! I wish I had spring break still. :)

    @nikknaks - lol...subconsiously looking for an excuse to go shopping, perhaps? ;)

    @my heart blogged - I used to be the same way! As a child going to Girl Scout camp I used to plan on outfit changes a few times a day. My, how times have changed.

    @elle enchanted - wow, that's amazing! I'm actually really interested in trying rolling...I had no idea it would make THAT much of a difference. I'll let you know how that goes.

    @sorren - having options is good, but I prefer having light bags and never having to check luggage. I'm lazy that way. :)

    @step - good idea! I usually take the one w/ the garment section, but I couldn't find it this time.

    @pixie in pumps - It definitely depends on the vacation. I'm not much of a winter vacationer (unless it's to warmer climes) and my summer packing is super easy (little dresses and sandals).

    @elaine - haha, that's exactly how it is for my husband (except I also have to walk him through the choosing part). It's good for me, though--things fit better when I pack them. :)

  11. I am a light packer.
    I think you did pretty well.

  12. have you ever heard about packing peanuts? just wnna ask though...


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