The first hour or so of any trip I ever went on was always consumed with worry about what I’d forgotten to pack. I’d drive myself mad. Once I’d decided what it was, I could usually get over it, but its not the best way to start a holiday.
Over the last few years I really feel I’ve nailed packing. And I can narrow it down to three things that I now do differently. I’ve written about how to decide what to take in the past – you can read that blog by clicking here.
This blog focusses on the actual getting clothes out and putting them in a case part of packing.
*I should point out that I consider myself to be the opposite of minimalist. I like to have all my comforts wherever I am. If all you need is a bikini, your toothbrush and your book, you don’t need this blog!
So, here we go:
TIP 1 – make yourself a master list
I love a list. But starting from scratch for every single trip, from a night away to see a friend, to a couple of weeks abroad, means you are duplicating this task. As I’ve got older, I seem to have more ‘things’ to remember to take with me. That coupled with my less-good memory is not a great combination.
So, I have a master list saved on my computer which gets printed out ahead of any trip I take. This list covers everything I could possibly ever need for any trip and since it’s online can be edited whenever needed.
I never need to take everything on the list to every trip but because it covers EVERYTHING, I don’t need to use any brain power at all.
I start by printing off the list and crossing off anything I don’t need for the trip. For this trip I was able to immediately cross off ‘umbrella’, ‘hair straighteners’ and ‘hat & gloves’.
Then, I start getting everything out and ready to pack, merrily ticking off as I go. Things I’d be prone to forgetting without my list might be:
- Adaptor plugs
- Eye mask (I can’t sleep if there is a light on the TV, a chink in the curtains)
- Reading glasses
Getting your list together can take a while but you can keep adding to it as things come to mind over a day or two. And after every trip you might add something else that you wish you’d taken (tea anyone?). It’ll be a work in progress for a while but when it’s done it feels so good.
And it stops that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something.
Tip 2 – use a pop-up rail
This isn’t essential by any means but it does make packing a whole lot easier. I bought this one from John Lewis a year or so ago – mainly for work, but it is so very useful for when I’m deciding what I might want to take and how each piece could work.
This one is particularly good because it folds up and then I store it under the bed. It’s also sold as a guest room wardrobe. Somewhere for your overnight guests to hang a few pieces up and unpack into.
I set up my rail, then go through my wardrobe to decide what I might want to take. Everything goes onto the rail (rather than on a pile on my bed which used to be my method) and I can easily see when I’ve got too much, not enough and what goes with what. I put underwear, sleepwear, t-shirts, shorts and shoes in the handy compartment at the bottom and when I finished selecting my outfits, I can more easily see what size suitcase I’m going to need. And, because everything isn’t thrown on my bed in a huge messy pile, I can start this process as early as I like. It’ll stay crease free on the rails and only be popped into the case the night before.
Tip 3 – use packing cubes
After watching so many YouTubers wax lyrical about packing cubes, I decided to try them out. And yes. They are BRILLIANT! I won’t share the exact ones I’ve purchased because I’m sure there are better ones out there but they do the job well. If you don’t yet know about packing cubes, they are little three dimensional bags/ cubes of different sizes that fit into your case and keep everything categorised and beautifully organised.
I have one for:
- Underwear and swimwear
- Chargers and tech
I prefer to roll my clothes into the top section of my case rather than into a cube, but you could use them for your clothes too.
I even used one cube as a ‘just-in-case’ bag in my hand luggage, (which was also my beach bag). This was a top tip left by one of my followers in my Facebook group. It contains the absolute essentials so that you can cope if your luggage does go missing. In this, I packed: A bikini, a kimono, a clean pair of knickers, a t-shirt, a very lightweight evening outfit (Co-ord set – which could be worn in 3 ways), flip flops, cap, lightweight scarf, my HRT and a very small amount of toiletries (remembering the 100ml rule). I would’ve been able to buy sun cream, toothbrush etc at my destination.
We were lucky enough not to have any issues with our luggage but it felt good to know I could cope with these basic things for 24 hours if I had to. And that felt good.
When you arrive at your destination you can quickly find what you need and even not bother unpacking – just lay the cubes out, unzip the lids and help yourself.
So, packing cubes get a big tick from me.
And that’s it, my top three tips that make packing stress free AND easy. What are your best packing tips?
Please share in the comments – and tell me where you are heading off to!
Things I love
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