Everyone wants to pack light, and some are great at it. Others, however, end up bringing everything in the house and then some.
Fortunately, there are different approaches you can take to downsize your bags without sacrificing aesthetics or comfort. Check out our packing tips below.
Clothes are probably the most important part of any packing list. They can also be the bulkiest. However, you can minimize the amount of space they take up:
Gather all the clothes you want to take, and put away half. Pick clothes from the same color family, opting for fewer bottoms than tops. If you’re going away for five days, you will probably need five shirts, two pairs of jeans or pants, and a single skirt or dress. For reference, a 22-inch bag can usually hold five shirts, two dresses, three sweaters, and two pairs of pants comfortably.
Pick wools, knits, and cottons. These are versatile fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily. Some articles of clothing, such as yoga pants, could also double as sleepwear. This saves you even more room.
Next, fold stiff garments and roll softer garments. You won’t wrinkle knitwear, cotton pants, jeans, t-shirts, or underwear by rolling them tightly. But stiffer fabrics, such as skirts, dressy pants, blazers, and starched cotton shirts, should all be folded with care.
Put the rolled items at the bottom of the bag. It helps if you think of your suitcase as a cake. The rolled items are the first layer of the cake, and the suitcase is the frosting that will surround the whole thing.
Put the folded garments on top. This next layer starts with slacks, skirts, and other long items. Alternate waists with hems, stacking them on top of one another. Make sure this pile is flush with the suitcase, and drape the excess fabric across the other end. It may seem unusual, but you will conserve space that stacked thick waistbands take up.
Cover this pile with a dry cleaning bag. The bag is slippery, so folded clothes won’t stay stuck in one place for so long that creases occur. In fact, it’s a good idea to put a dry cleaning bag between each clothing layer, if you have another. Pull up the ends of the bag on both sides to quickly reach the rolled clothes beneath.
Put clothes you need right away on the top. The top layer is a free-for-all — think pyjamas or a swimsuit.
Line the perimeter of the bag with your belts. This provides a final round of stabilization as the belts cradle the clothes.
So what’s the best way to organize the electronics, their cables, and their accessories? Throw them on that top free-for-all layer? Maybe, but first be sure to grab a stash of Ziploc bags.
Chargers, headphones, adaptors and the like should all go into plastic bags. You can also throw other things you need on the way home, like car keys or house keys and medication, into Ziploc bags for easy access.
What About Dirty Laundry?
As long as you’re actually wearing those clothes every day, you’ll inevitably have dirty laundry to bring home. What should you do with it?
Shrink it. Travel compression bags are available online and in stores, and they’ll take out 80 percent of the volume. Keep in mind that this often results in wrinkles, so avoid shrinking any clothes that are clean.
Your fresh-smelling luggage will thank you later.
What About Books?
In a word? Don’t. It doesn’t matter how much you love holding that exciting thriller in your hands — it weighs far too much for a vacation.
Use a tablet or similar device to download a digital version of your book in advance. Don’t rely on Wi-Fi later to do this. Finally, be sure that your device is wearing a water-resistant case, if you plan to read at the beach or a similar location.