Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's Get Organized --
Otherwise Known as "Save This Messy Traveler"

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently found myself struggling to find things in a messy suitcase. Though I had packed in what I thought was an orderly fashion, my system of order was no match for the following:

1) During part of our trip we had no room to hang things or put things away in drawers.
2) I packed around the "core wardrobe" theory, which meant that I needed to use key wardrobe items more than once on the trip. So, even though I packed in approximate order of when I would wear outfits, it was impossible to do so completely.
3) We stayed busy (a happy busy), and I fell into bed at night without taking the time to tidy my suitcase each night.
4) My husband and I ended up re-distributing things between our two suitcases a) to make room for a very few gifts we brought back and b) to avoid a baggage charge going back. We incurred on coming down because we were one pound over the limit.
So, what could I have done to have improved things? I'll suggest a couple of ideas. If you have some tips for me, please comment, as well.

1) I could have used dividers, travel bags, packing cubes, or even pieces of cardboard to separate the layers in my suitcase. That way, when I needed to retrieve a garment from a lower layer, I could have set the top layers aside. I could have taken out the item I wanted. Then, I could have simply lifted the top layers back in. Everything would have stayed in its place.
2) Even though I was short on time, I could have found five minutes here and there tidy my suitcase and other cases. When traveling, tidying one's travel bags is the daily routine of life that tidying the kitchen and other daily chores are back home.

Some things that do work well for me:

1) Some time ago, I bought pink flannel and sewed several shoe bags. I use those to not only protect my shoes from scuffing, but also to protect my clothing from shoes. My luggage does have pockets specifically for a pair of shoes, but not enough for a second or third pair.
2) Some experts suggest rolling clothing rather than folding items. I use a combination system in which I roll some knits and fold some other things.
3) I make a packing list for each trip. I plan by the day. I consider what items of clothing I will need, what accessories, shoes, outerwear, etc. I think through what I will likely be doing each day of the trip. If I do not know what I will be doing, I pack items that can be dressed up or dressed down. Of course, I also consider climate, whether we will be outdoors or indoors, etc. I also consider the trip as whole and work each day into a core wardrobe. In that way, I can mix and match key pieces and take as few items as possible.

Happy Traveling!


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