Packing with a plan

There is more to packing than just how to put all your stuff into a suitcase. A lot has to do with what kind of trip you are taking. Work or leisure? Car, train, flight? Weekend, week or longer? Season and where you are going? Specialty vacation like biking or skiing?

Well you have for sure figured out all the answers to above questions, you have a destination in mind, and now you need to climb the packing mountain. And for some trips it feels like that, so this post should help you get started. This is how I approach packing

Step 1: Make a master list

I have shared my main two lists for more complicated (ski trips) or international (long duration trips). These both require items I don’t normally take on other trips, so these lists are a good starting point for all my vacations. Ski, Camping, Fishing trips all require specialty equipment. Summer vacations and my international travel tend to follow a similar pattern and last a couple weeks.

Check out my MASTER lists and download them to build your own.

Step 2: What I call my WISH list

My process is to pull out all the things I may want to take with me without any restraint. I do this because I am what I call an emotional packer. My mood drives what I put on every day, so planning ahead I have to consider options. For a short trip or work trip this is not too bad, but for long trips I have really struggled with having a BIG wish list. At this point in the process I normally get overwhelmed and go do something else until I have a clear head.

Vegas trip WISH LIST


Step 3: EDIT phase

I will pair off separates to create mix and match looks. For me having more tops is more important because I tend to sweat, and I want the appearance of multiple looks without necessarily wearing different bottoms. For example on my work trips I count the number of days I am in front of people and plan the looks. 3 day trip is great for 1 pair of pants or skirt with 2 different tops and 1 dress. To not have it noticeable I break up how I wear it.

Day 1: Pants with top #1 and shoes #1

Day 2: Dress with shoes #1 or #2

Day 3: Pants with top #2 and shoes #2

Variety without hassle. This works great for well for work travel and weekend getaways. For longer trips or what I consider more fashionable destinations I will also try on the outfits and take photos. Cross coordinating my looks will give me more options overall and works well for not overpacking on long trips. Looking at a pictures helps me make a quick decision and I can better see if something is as cute as I think or a big NOT. You can see my though process of finding items that can match all around in this fashion spread below.

This was my Vegas edit phase

Looks I tried on and photographed to decide on OUTFIT YES or OUTFIT NO. You can see repeats and how they can all be worked with each other. In this phase I include shoes but I decide on which make the cut right before packing my suitcase.

Step 4: Accessorize

In my world accessories play a huge part in completing a look so I tend to get carried away. Some of my strategies for not overpacking are either one tone (gold or silver), two tone mixed or total mixup like this trip. I attempt to have what I select work with all my looks. Pairing real with costume is my norm as well as using statement pieces (necklace, bracelet, earrings or rings). I like chunky jewelry and tend to always have some of those items in play. Purses and I have a love, love relationship but for travel I pack the one “it” bag that can cross form day to night. Totes for plane travel, backpack as carry on, and sometime roll up backpacks for tourist outings. Shoe wise it is tough for me, so I always over pack those.


Step 5: Get it all into suitcase

Many techniques exist out there. Folding, Bundling, Compression bags, Cubes and my fave Rolling. I actually adopted a hybrid between rolling and folding. Larger, bulky items are not rollable so those I fold, but smalls are great for rolling, and I have found, if done with care clothes are not badly wrinkled. When I get to my destination I unpack and hang what is needed and any wrinkles disappear. I tried them all except cubes and definitely prefer rolling because of my struggle with packing light. Compression bags are ok fall and winter, heavier clothes, but I found issues when packing work clothes and lighter clothes…they were super wrinkled. Rolling allows me to pack most efficiently, get the most into my suitcase, and it DOES WORK!

Checkout this video on how to pack a suitcase and see my technique as well as some cool tips, must haves and tricks to getting the most into your luggage.

In this video I share my steps with you on how I decide what makes a trip. You can see my process and checkout my blog for this post and details like master packing lists for download.

Shopping options for cubes and compression bags.

Be Awesome and Sparkle!