The Art of Packing

I’m flying to St. Louis today and will be there for a week on a business trip. So, naturally, part of this weekend was spent preparing and packing. As I was going through my normal routine, I got to thinking…I’m a really good packer. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s one of those quirky little things that I take an unusual amount of pride in.

When I think about it, it doesn’t make any sense that I would be any good at it. I have a really bad sense of space and proportion. Ask me the best way to arrange a dishwasher, pick out the correct size tupperware for leftovers, or even choose the correct lid for a pot, and I’m rubbish. However, want to know if I can fit three pairs of shoes, a hair dryer, flat iron, five changes of clothes, and various toiletries, into a carry-on, and I’m your gal.

The best pack-job I ever did was probably the time I went to Las Vegas with a couple of girlfriends. I had my boots, two pairs of heels, flats, three club dresses, a pair of slacks, jeans, five tops, plus all the makeup, shampoo/ conditioner, hair gel, brush, hair dryer, flat iron, jewelry, and various necessary whatnots.

See, the key isn’t just about how much you can fit into your bag. It’s also about having the right combination of things in order to be prepared for whatever may come. For example, my best friend, R brought four pairs of heels to Vegas, but no flats. By the end of the week, her feet were absolutely killing her.

So, I figured I would do a little write-up on my method for packing, in case anybody else might find it helpful.

The first thing to do is to check the weather. According to Weather Bug, St. Louis is going to be sunny and in the 80′s for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. However, Thursday and Friday is going to be raining, and Friday’s temperature high is only in 50 degrees.

Traveling in the transition seasons can be more difficult because the weather is so unpredictable. To me, this means having a couple of different layering options in order to accommodate the changes.

Typically, I keep a few basic things stocked and automatically packed in my bag. I went to CVS and got a little package of 3oz. bottles to hold my shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel. It came in a pack of four and has a little zip-up case as extra protection against any leaks and spills. This also ensures that I stay within the TSA’s liquid limits.

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I put that into a large Ziploc bag along with my day and night moisturizer, dry shampoo, cover-up and deodorant. This bag gets put in the front zippered compartment of my suitcase, so it’s easy to grab and put into the bin through security.

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A few other things I always keep in my suitcase are a handful of extra tampons, a couple pairs of earplugs and a thing of brand new bobby pins. They stay in the inside zippered compartment of my suitcase. I also keep a small Ziploc bag for jewelry and an extra, empty bag tucked into the inside pocket- just in case.

Now, some people may be wondering why I bring a hair dryer with me when so many hotels provide one in the bathroom. My hair is super thick and takes an abnormally long time to dry. I need a dryer that is going to be strong and hot enough to get the job done sometime in the next century. Those little hotel dryers suck, in my opinion, and so I always insist on bringing my own.

Next step is to figure out what shoes I’m going to be needing. For ladies, I think there should always be at least one pair of heels and one pair of flats. The third pair is optional. For this trip, because I know it’s going to be colder and rainy, I’ve opted to bring a pair of ankle boots.

All the hard items get laid down in the suitcase first. This includes the hair dryer and flat iron, the ankle boots, and the heels. I’ll be wearing my flats on the plane. To save space, I pack my socks and stockings into my shoes and tuck an umbrella and a pair of glove in (just in case, 50 degrees is chilly.)

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Now it’s time for the clothes. Since this trip is a business trip, I need to keep things looking pretty professional, both for day and night. For this reason, I’ve decided to forego bringing any jeans this time.

Instead I’m packing two pairs of black slacks, two dresses (that can work day to night,) two camisoles, two cardigans, one long-sleeve black shirt, one button-down, and pajamas. Everything can be mixed and matched. I’ve stuck primarily to blacks with purple and gray accent colors.

Roll everything! (Don’t fold) Not only does this help save space, but it also helps to prevent wrinkles. I also always make sure to put my pajamas on top. After a long day of traveling, the last thing I want to do is dig through my suitcase, messing everything up just to find what I need to go to bed.

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Now, along with carefully considering what’s going in to your suitcase, it’s also important to choose your travel outfit wisely. Personally, I believe that you should dress a little nicer when you’re traveling. I know that others prefer to wear yoga pants and Uggs. However, I’ve always found that you get treated better through security and throughout the airport, rental car counter, and destination if you look nice.

Mind you, this doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable! My outfit for this trip will be a sleeveless cotton shirt, black skirt (slip-on, no zippers or hardware to cause discomfort or set the security off,) a cardigan (for the changes in temperatures in the plane cabin,) and flats. I always make sure to wear those little flat socks, so I can keep my feet covered, even when taking my shoes off for security.

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And, here’s the final result! I probably won’t be posting much this week (obviously…) But, will try to take a few photos in and around St. Louis. Hope I didn’t bore everybody with my little packing tutorial! Do you have a quirky super power you’d like to share?

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4 comments on “The Art of Packing

  1. Great little tutorial! I’m impressed! The last few times we have traveled, we have just packed everything for both of us into one suitcase and checked it. I think next time we are going to try carrying on two separate suitcases. You look cute for flying! I haven’t made the best of choices on what to wear while traveling. I always end up wearing jeans, which is a horrible mistake! I always look at the girls wearing yoga pants and get jealous. It does make sense, though, that you would get treated nicely when you are dressed nice. Have a great trip!

    • Janyaa says:

      Hey, Bethany! Yeah, you would think jeans would be a good choice, but I’ve found they are the worst for flying! All the hardware and zippers…plus they don’t stretch or flow comfortably.

      Yoga pants are actually a good choice. If they’re not faded and newer they can still be made to look nice with flats, a nice top, and a cardigan. I usually go that route in the colder months.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Matthew John says:

    *whistle* Nice underpants :P /creep

    Seriously though, I’m a terrible packer, Brittany always makes fun of me when we go places because I end up with a bigger bag than her most of the time. I also make sure I take entirely to much stuff because “you never know.” Of course it also doesn’t help I pack 2 minutes before leaving, so I always just throw stuff in with no organization. Thankfully I don’t do much real traveling, just a few overnights a friend’s place in a different city. I’ve only ever traveled a far enough distance that I’ve need to fly once, and that was around a decade ago.

    • Janyaa says:

      Teehee- you creep! I knew somebody would probably tease me about that. ;)

      I had the “you never know” stuff packed in there, too. Hence the gloves and umbrella. I ended up using the umbrella, but not the gloves. The thing is, if you plan it out, then your “never knows” will still be able to fit into a carry-on.

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