Clearing space in the suitcase.
We all have those moments of doubt when we stare down at our suitcase and wonder, “Did I bring everything I need? What am I forgetting?”. While planning for a recent trip to Zion, I was confronted with this age old battle. I knew we’d be gone for quite awhile and space would be an issue. Well, after years of over-packing and painfully hauling large suitcases around the globe, I’ve finally adopted a few ‘packing hacking” ideas on how to edit down the amount of clothes I bring on any given trip. I like to be prepared for all occasions and weather. So, I end up walking through my closet, choosing every color, sleeve/pant length and style so I’m not left unprepared and pouting when I’m away from home. Packing this way has proven to be cumbersome, superfluous and ends up taking so much room in my suitcase, I end up in a pile of useless options that seem to gradually get harder to cram back inside.
There has to be a better system, right?
It’s no mystery we have become a society of obsessive online shoppers. I am guilty. As it becomes more popular to buy our digs online, manufacturers are getting smarter about their packaging and presentation. We have all saved birthday bags and tissue paper to re-gift and save money and resources. Why not apply this same logic to our shopping bags? These cute, durable, perfectly sized zip-bags used by many online clothing retailers allow for a perfect opportunity to limit the use of one-time use plastic bags.
I started a collection of these bags before I knew my purpose. The light bulb finally went off when I packed for our most recent trip. Time to re-purpose these bad boys.
Using one bag for a head to toe outfit makes for easy access as well as easy clean up. When preparing for a trip, there is no need to have multiple options for one outing. Choose your outfit with accessories and time to pack.
Without spending extra money on vacuum sealed space bags, I was able to replicate their use simply by squeezing the air out of each sack, and zip the lock..
Here is an example of what 7 days looks like. This particular trip was activity based in a variety of climates, but the methodology could be applied to a beach getaway or European museum tour. Included in my packs are a pair of athletic pants, crop top, long sleeve or sweater, socks, and headband all secured by the waist of my panties for the day.
I prepared separate compartments for extra underwear, lounge-wear and the “just in case we go out” ensembles. I felt a surge of excitement as I glanced at how orderly my belongings looked. I finally outgrew my inner Kevin McCallister and learned how to pack my suitcase, packing hacking for the win!
Something so easy shouldn’t be so helpful, but it made my mornings so much quicker and hassle free. No more scrambling through previously worn clothes or unloading piles of shirts to then stare, aimlessly, unsure of what to put on. Every time I opened a new bag it felt like a surprise. It made getting dressed and undressed kinda fun! At the end of the busy days, I would neatly fold my dirty things and return them to their bags until we returned home for laundering.
This little travel hack isn’t solely beneficial for space saving, it also helps support a goal of minimizing the negative environmental impact made by plastic bag waste. It’s also a reminder of how little we need. We can find simplicity without forfeiting looking and feeling good. I hope these simple packing hacking tips help you in your future travels.