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How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently and Perfectly

How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently and Perfectly

I’d always been a reluctant traveler, concerned with what taking a trip would do to the daily routine I’d worked so hard to sustain. My Type A personality caused me to take “there’s no place like home” to a whole new—and probably unhealthy—level. This all changed when I learned how to pack a suitcase: it kept my Type A personality busy while simultaneously taking away every excuse I’d make to get out of traveling, allowing me to experience… well, experiences.

Trust me, when you know how to pack a suitcase, you’re so ready for your adventure to start you literally strut to the airport. Bring. It. On.

Make sure you provide yourself with plenty of time to pack for your trip. In other words, don’t leave your packing until the night before (or the morning before if you’re uber-crazy). The more time you have to pack, the less likely you’ll find yourself carting around unnecessary items and forgetting necessary ones. (I won’t even get into the toothbrush incident of ’02.)

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to pack your suitcase so efficiently, nothing will get in the way of you putting your feet up when you’ve reached your destination.

1. Choose proper luggage.

How to Pack a Suitcase

    How long is your trip going to be? Is it a business trip or a personal getaway?

    Answering these two questions will help you determine the size and type of luggage you’ll need to take with you. If you’re going away for the weekend, you’ll only need a tote bag, whereas a 10-day excursion will require a snazzy suitcase on wheels.

    2. Check the weather.

    While no weather forecast is 100 percent accurate, having a general idea of what the weather’s going to be like during your trip will help you decide on the clothes you should pack.

    Print out your forecast from The Weather Network and set it by your suitcase for when you’re choosing outfits. Download their app to your phone or tablet so you can also keep tabs during your travels.

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    3. Go over your itinerary.

    What will you be doing on your trip? It’s important to not only pack for what you’re definitely doing, but for spontaneous celebrations and events that might pop up.

    If you’re planning your trip through a travel agent, he/she can supply you with a solid amount of information on recommended dress requirements for your destination. Travel brochures and websites are also helpful.

    Have your family or friends visited where you’re going? Ask them what they packed (or wished they packed). If you can’t get in touch with them, see if they have photo albums from their trip on Facebook to help spark ideas.

    4. Create an itemized checklist.

    One of the best tools to keep my Type A personality at bay during the packing process is a detailed checklist of what I need to bring. Otherwise, I’d be so paranoid about forgetting something, I’d pack my entire bedroom and bathroom.

    It’s also a great way to put your trip into perspective. As soon as you’re done your list, you’ll immediately start slashing what’s unnecessary. Bonus tip: take your list with you to make sure you don’t leave anything behind on your way home.

    If you’re someone who doesn’t travel often (like me), use a suggested list of items as a starting point. The two best I’ve found are courtesy of Squawkfox and The Art of Manliness.

    5. Invest in travel gear.

    Most grooming accessories and hygiene products are available in travel sizes. Some recommend purchasing your toiletries at your destination to save space, but if you’re picky about your beauty routine (again, like me), do yourself a solid and make sure you have on hand:

    • a mini brush and comb
    • travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste
    • mini zip-top bags for jewelry
    • travel-sized bottles for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturizer, etc.
    • large zip-top bags for your bottles in case they leak, and your shoes
    • a second set of chargers for your laptop/tablet and cell phone specifically for travel
    • a mini hair dryer (which doubles as a steamer if any clothing ends up wrinkled)

    Pack these items in an outside pocket or at the top of your case so no pressure is put on them, and they can easily be accessed at airport security.

    6. Pack outside your suitcase.

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    How to Pack a Suitcase

      Collect everything on your itemized list and place the items around your suitcase so you can decide what will make the cut.

      How to Pack a Suitcase

        Focus on basic neutral colors such as black, white, grey, navy, and accent prints. The more versatile your clothing, the easier it will be to mix and match outfits, and therefore you won’t have to pack as much.

        Choose versatile styles of clothing made of fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easy. Eight versatile pieces that blend well together will create up to 24 different outfits! For example, a tank top and pair of comfy shorts can double as pajamas, and a big t-shirt can double as both a nightie and cover-up for the beach.

        Use accents such as jewelry and scarves to pump up the volume on your outfits—they barely take up any space!

        How to Pack a Suitcase

          When it comes to shoes, wear your heaviest shoes and choose comfortable, light ones to pack.

          7. Remove your pet.

          How to Pack a Suitcase

            By now, your pet is likely sensing you’re going on a trip and is trying to make you feel very guilty about it.

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            8. Pack awkward items first.

            How to Pack a Suitcase

              Pack items likes shoes, blow dryers, and purses around the outer perimeter, and work your way in. Perfect the use of the nook and cranny: use the odd-shaped cracks between these items to tuck in your socks, bathing suits, and belts.

              How to Pack a Suitcase

                Stuff your undergarments in your shoes to both maximize space, and keep your shoes from squishing.

                This process helps to evenly distribute the weight of your items so nothing ends up broken/crushed during your trip.

                9. Master folding techniques.

                How to Pack a Suitcase

                  Organize your clothes in bundles: tank tops in one, tees in another, shorts in another, and so forth.

                  How to Pack a Suitcase

                    Roll each bundle (thicker items such as sweaters will have to be rolled individually).

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                    How to Pack a Suitcase

                      Not only does this save space, it decreases the chance of wrinkles.

                      How to Pack a Suitcase

                        Place each bundle side-by-side in your suitcase.

                        10. Wear bulky items there and back.

                        How to Pack a Suitcase

                          If you wear your bulkier items—such as your coat, jeans and sweater—as opposed to packing them, this will save loads of space in your suitcase. Plus, dressing in layers offers you the convenience of adding or discarding them depending on the temperature.

                          11. Leave room for souvenirs.

                          You know as well as I do you’ll want to bring home souvenirs from your trip for your home, family and friends. Make sure to leave room for such items.

                          12. Organize your carry-on.

                          Consider your carry-on an emergency kit: if you were to ever lose your luggage or get stuck at the airport, what essentials would you need to have with you to enjoy your trip no matter what happens? Here are just some of the items you should consider including in your carry-on:

                          • make-up
                          • prescribed medication
                          • anti-nausea, pain killers, antacid
                          • ointment, Immodium, bug spray, Benadryl
                          • prescription glasses and sunglasses
                          • bottled water and snacks
                          • toothbrush and toothpaste
                          • swimsuit and sunscreen
                          • books/magazines
                          • cash/I.D.

                          While learning how to pack a suitcase, what’s the best tip you discovered along the way?

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                          Krissy Brady

                          A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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                          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                          I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                          1. The Inner Critic

                          This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                          • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                          The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                          Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                          2. The Worrier

                          This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                          The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                          3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                          This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                          This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                          The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                          4. The Sleep Depriver

                          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                          The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                          How can you control these squatters?

                          How to Master Your Mind

                          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                          This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                          For the Inner Critic

                          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                          You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                          • They rile up the Worrier.
                          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                          • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                          • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                          • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                          Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                          For the Worrier

                          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                          • Muscles tense

                          Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                          Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                          For example:

                          If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                          For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                          • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                          • Muscles tension

                          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                          Breathe in through your nose:

                          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                          • Focus on your belly rising.

                          Breathe out through your nose:

                          • Feel your lungs emptying.
                          • Focus on your belly falling.
                          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                          Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                          For the Sleep Depriver

                          (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                          2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                          From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                          • Shut down your thinking.
                          • Calm your feelings.
                          • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                          The Bottom Line

                          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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