Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Packing 101

For all of you who are heading out of town to spend time with loved ones over the Holidays this one is for you! Turns out that spending a childhood of moving internationally several times and a few more times domestically (from one state to another) I've developed a talent for packing. Until now, I've kept this bit of information about myself hidden from most people. Of course my family has always known and as far back as I can remember I've gotten the "honey, can you come help us pack?" call any time someone is going anywhere. Which is precisely why it's not been made common knowledge. I'm okay with it in this setting though, because I'll be sharing my tips with you so that you can become your own expert packer! :) Of course, there are all kinds of ways to pack and I'm sure there are plenty of good ideas I haven't come across, but these have always worked for me. The tip I'm sharing with today are my ways to save space. In another post I'll share with you another packing tip to use when space isn't as much of an issue.

The pictures I'm showing you are from our 2 week trip to San Diego this September. This is my daughter's suitcase, a carry on sized bag. 
Just getting started. Underwear and socks in the pocket at the top. 
First, I lay out all the clothes that we will be needing for a specific trip. I arrange things by outfits. This helps me make sure that we have each piece necessary to coordinate once we're there. I also add layering options, and when possible I add long and short sleeve options to the outfits to account for any unexpected weather changes. I tend to be some what of an over packer, especially for my kids because I want there to be enough options in the event of spills, accidents, weather changes, etc.
Everything that I'll be fitting into the suitcase

Another view of the pile to be packed. Each pile is laid out as an outfit.

The shoes that will be going with us
Then I take each outfit and lay them on top of each other. I like the pants to be on the bottom, then the shirt(s) go in order on top of the pants.
Outfit laid out ready to be packed
I roll my outfits together, tightly. I do this for a number of reasons. The first one being that it's SO much easier to have my daughter or husband grab a whole outfit out of the suitcase at one time. This eliminates the digging through the bag for each piece and making a whole mess each morning. It also keeps certain pieces of the outfit from being used on another day and then not being clean when it comes time to use the other pieces of that specific outfit. Another reason I roll them together is because it saves space. Yes, I know it looks much larger this way, but trust me, it saves space. The final reason I roll things is because if you do it well, it can keep things from getting as wrinkled. I know, you think I'm crazy, but I promise for most things it keeps them from getting less creases and wrinkles then being stacked in a pile in the suitcase.
All rolled up, ready to be packed

Another example of an outfit.
This one has a long sleeve and short sleeve option that will be rolled up together.
As I'm packing things into the suitcase I'm mindful of what kind of outfit it is and pack like things together. In the picture below, the far left has all of my daughters cooler weather outfits, rolled up and then stacked on top of each other. This way when once we are there I don't have to dig around for things as much. In the center (the right side of the picture) she has warm weather outfits ready.
All packed up
In this picture you'll see that there are more warm weather outfits in the bottom right side, then in the middle of the right side I have her dressy clothes (she didn't need many, just 2 or 3) and then in the top right I have all of her pajamas. Again, all of this is packed specifically that way so that it makes things less complicated when it comes time for her to find what she needs each morning or evening.
Everything is in!
That's everything. In the top pocket we added her swimsuits and swimsuit covers.
When I pack shoes, I like to put them in between each little rolled up outfit. Shoes fit nicely in those little spaces. I put them in with the top down so that the dirty soles aren't touching her clean clothes. You can also put them in a bag before putting them in or lay a plastic bag or two over them if you're concerned about how dirty they might be and to keep the soles from touching the items in the pocket above them.

Just in case you weren't sure it would close! ;)
In the smaller top pocket I have her hair accessories and brush
and in the larger pocket below we put her Bible and a few other books in.
A quick picture of the hair accessories (in a separate bag) and her brush.

A quick recap:
-Put outfits together
-Roll them as a set
-Stack outfits according to style or weather
-Place shoes on top of the stacks facing down

For those of you who like to be extra organized and prepared, you can also print off my packing list. Then on pinterest (because I LOVE that site & I'm slightly addicted) I found this great resource for packing light. There are great suggestions that I totally agree with! :)


  1. Chelsea, this is a great post!! I'd love it if you'd write a similar post for my travel blog: Tourist Mom! Email me if you are interested!! :)

  2. It would be nice if the packing list was a Microsoft Word document instead of a jpg


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