Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to pack a suitcase...

So I'm off to NYC tomorrow for the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair.  This means another wildly fun OCD challenge for me.  Packing a suitcase in the Wintertime, even if it is just for a few days can be a real bitch.  Packing for a weekend getaway in the Summer is a piece of cake...mostly because all the pieces are small.  Flip-flops, bikinis, tank-tops, and shorts take up WAY less room in a suitcase than sweaters, jeans, boots and jackets.  And I pretty much refuse to use anything other than a small carry-on suitcase to pack in, no matter where I'm going, for how long, and whether I'm driving or flying.  So, just in case you're planning a Winter Wonderland journey in the near future, I'll share with you how I got 4 days worth of bulky items to fit in an itty-bitty bag...

First, prep.  Lay out all the pieces.  For this trip I need enough pieces to make 4 days worth of layered outfits for cold weather.  This needed to include the outfits I'll be wearing while hanging out all day long at my booth at the craft show, as well as an option for going out in the evening with friends, and also something fun to wear for our girls-day in Manhattan before coming home on Monday.  Tip:  Choose pieces in the same color family, and use your accessories as pops of color.  that way everything goes with everything else, and can be switched around to make more outfits out of fewer pieces. 
 I actually have more here than I probably need, and could do this in way fewer pieces, but It turned out that I had extra room, and therefore, why not pack a few extra options?  Just in case you're wondering, the final tally is 3 pairs of casual pants/jeans, 2 casual button-down shirts, 4 long-sleeved t-shirts (2 black, 2 white, in varying styles/necklines), one t-shirt, 2 cardigans, 2 heavy-weight pull-over sweaters, 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 bras, 2 pairs of tights, 2 camis, 1 hoodie, and my yoga pants to sleep in, 2 pairs of boots, 1 pair of dressy shoes, 1 dress, 3 scarves, 1 belt, 1 pair of gloves, 1 handbag, 1 clutch, 1 pair of earrings, 1 bracelet, 2 necklaces, 1 leather jacket, and one big puffy coat.  Whew!     
 Set aside what you'll wear on the way there.  Tip:  This should be the stuff that's comfy for the trip, and also a pain to pack.  I chose jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel button-down, tall brown boots, pink scarf, and my big puffy coat.  Basically it means that I don't have to pack the big boots or the big coat.  If I get hot in the car, I can throw the coat in the back seat.  If I were travelling by plane, it would make a super comfy pillow or blanket, and the boots zip on and off easily to pass through security.
Stop, drop, and roll.  My sweaters, long-sleeved t-shirts, jeans, sleepwear, and scarves all got rolled.  The button-down shirt, dress, hoodie, and leather jacket got neatly folded.  
 And the puzzle begins...
 Step 1)  Shoes and boots.  The bulky (and in the case of the shoes, spiky) parts are placed near the edges of the suitcase.
 Step 2)  Protect your stuff from your other stuff.  If you're lucky enough to not be packing spikes, you can skip this step.  But I kept the foam pads that these shoes came packed with, and reused them here in my bag.
 Step 3)  Stuff undies and socks in shoes.  This not only helps your shoes keep their shape while being squished under your stuff, but also saves space, and keeps tiny items together and easy to locate.
 Step 4)  Put the bulkiest rolled items around, and on top of the shoes/boots.
  Step 5)  Place lighter weight rolled items on top and around the bulkier stuff.  The plastic freezer baggie has my tights in it to help keep them from getting snagged on anything.  
 Step 6)  Put in folded items, layered on top.
  Step 7)  I put my jewelry in the compartments of my clutch to help protect it, and to keep it from snagging any of my clothes.
 Step 8)  My hoodie, leather jacket, and gloves are added to the top.  The hoodie's there because I want to have something cozy to put on when I get there, and the gloves are on the top in case I want them for the drive down (or to slap someone with).  My clutch is in my handbag which is squished flat in the compartment on the lid of the bag.  
 Step 9)  My toiletries will get added to the outside compartment.  I didn't pack them yet because I need to use them today and tomorrow before I go.  I pack them on the outside because, if I were flying instead of driving, it would be easy to pull them out for airport security without having to disturb the rest of my bag.  So I tend to do the same thing on road trips, because I don't want to open my whole bag up just to get eye drops or a lip balm.
 One last tip:  Make sure that your bag closes easily without having to unzip the extension that makes your bag bigger.  This way if you do any shopping on your trip, you have room to bring home your souvenirs.  Done.      

Thanks for stopping by,

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