Rating My Packing Prowess

Ah packing, my constant task and old nemesis.  As I’ve shared before, I’m pretty good at getting into a small carry-on tote for a weekend trip, but when it comes to longer vacations the wheels come off and I end up overpacking.

I’ve been saving any article I can find about how to pack better and more efficiently while still looking stylish (I refuse to give up fashion while traveling, and take perhaps a liiiittle too much pride in blending in enough that I’m spoken to in the native language on trips).  This particular one seemed easy to follow and straightforward: How to Prevent Overpacking.

I’m pretty good at limiting toiletries.  I hoard mini shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, and other fun stuff from nice hotels to bring with me when there aren’t going to be any products available, and buy all my favorites in travel sizes.  I also have a pretty comprehensive makeup palette from Lancome (exclusive to Duty Free stores) that streamlines the beauty situation.

I let myself use a large suitcase for trips longer than a week and/or wintertime trips that require bulkier clothes.  I suppose forcing myself to carry on would be an interesting challenge…

I’ve been getting better at packing versatile clothing.  It’s been particularly helpful to pick one neutral color and then build my whole wardrobe around it – for me, usually either navy or black.  Then it’s easier to ensure that every pair of shoes and piece of outerwear goes with everything else.  I used to bring 6+ pairs of shoes on every trip, and now I can generally keep it to about 4: a sneaker, a ballet flat, a pair of heels, and either a pair of boots or a pair of sandals depending on the weather.

I tend to pack shoes, clothes, and accessories about a day ahead of time, and then put my toiletry bag together at the last minute.  This tip is right on though: the times I’ve left packing until the last minute have been the times I’ve arrived at my destination thoroughly confused about what exactly I’m supposed to wear.

I’ve actually never used a packing cube.  I’m pretty good at folding and playing packing tetris, and you know my thoughts on acquiring extra stuff, so I’m somewhat skeptical that this would improve my packing.  I would love to hear from anyone who has been converted to packing cube use!

My most frequent travel companion is my husband, and we do coordinate as much as possible, but that does tend to start and stop with toiletries.

Overall, I’d give myself about a B on this particular article’s packing strategy.  There’s room for improvement, for sure, but I’m still not entirely sure of the root cause of my overpacking disease.