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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 March 13, 2019

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                          1. Work on the small tasks.

                          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                          2. Take a break from your work desk.

                          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                          3. Upgrade yourself

                          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                          4. Talk to a friend.

                          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                          7. Read a book (or blog).

                          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                          8. Have a quick nap.

                          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                          9. Remember why you are doing this.

                          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                          10. Find some competition.

                          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                          11. Go exercise.

                          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                          12. Take a good break.

                          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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