For Those of Us Who Can’t or Won’t or Don’t Pack Light

5 Brilliant Strategies

As I began to even contemplate whether I should write this article I thought to myself, ‘why would I even entertain the thought of taking the time to write something so practical?’ ‘Do I even believe in packing light and the necessity of it?’ ‘Is packing light even possible for some people like myself who need to take many additional just in case items, for myself and my family?’

Days before I began packing for our most recent trip I started ‘self-talk’. I went over and over in my mind how this would be a new experience and how I would only take about one third of the items that I really thought were necessary while on vacation. I also visualized past scenarios of my husband, our daughter and myself at the airport trying to check in our luggage and mine always being over-weight. The dreaded, sinking feeling as I would glance over at my husband’s disgusted look and often times curt words replayed over and over like a broken record. My daughter would say, “mom, not again” as she would quickly provide me with assistance by helping me to jam extra items into her half empty suitcase in the middle of an airport terminal. Does this sound or look familiar to any of you?

Hopeless…however I believe that mastery is a mindset. I told myself, ‘every day is a new day, and today I am going to begin a habit of packing light’. My inner being started to giggle, however I decided to ignore this unbridled, emotional part of my personality and agree with the more refined and logical side. The logical side took over and convinced me that I was capable of packing light but I needed a strategy plan if I was going to succeed. So I decided to give it a try.

If you are feeling hopeless and not knowing how to begin or what to pack for your upcoming trip here are some helpful tips that I just recently applied:


1. Begin with a mindset of packing light with your choice of clothing.

Ok, this is new territory for me, so I am I writing this advice it is painful, but possible. Try to follow this formula: three tops for every bottom and limit your footwear to a pair of running shoes, a pair of flip flops and two pairs of shoes – one for casual and one for formal (although I must admit I was unable to follow this footwear advice, there is always next time).


2. Choose clothing that is wrinkle-repellant.

When you are deciding what to bring look through your closet and choose blends containing nylon, Lycra or polyester, as they can remain virtually unscathed. If you do prefer natural fibers I would suggest choosing items with wool or stretch cotton. Fabrics that are textured or have busy prints on them help to mask wrinkles and fold marks. Who wants to iron on their holidays?


3. What will you roll and what will you fold?

Roll clothing items such as t-shirts and light sweaters and fold garments that have more structure (blazars and pants). This is a tip from Georgia, a very good friend of mine.


4. Strategically arrange your items.

Place shoes and other heavy items (suntan lotions, hair products) near the wheelbase. This will help your suitcase from not tipping over. Then I suggest layering your items. Your rolled clothing is next followed by your folded clothes such as bulky sweaters and blazers/jackets. Leave the crushable items for the last. Place a plastic garbage bag on top of these crushable items to help keep them safe.


5. Use every space available.

Place items such as underwear and socks into your footwear. Also fill the molded cups of bras with underwear. This will help the foam from becoming crushed. Buy a travel jewelry case for your jewelry so that it will not become lost or broken. Roll additional jewelry items such as long necklaces into clothing (remember what clothing you rolled it up into). Also use your inside side pockets to store jewelry. Snake your belts around the perimeter.


I believe the remainder of packing light is a mindset. If all else fails, there is always your carry-on, where you can pack additional items, just in case! Happy packing – Bon Voyage!