Ten tips for packing like a sophisticate..

We girls are often guilty of overpacking, be it a weekend at the coast or six in exotic destinations. Can’t help ourselves, however dragging heavy bags up stairs and across cobbles sans baggage carrier is not fun, hence my last post sharing ideas for getting the most out of a minimum wardrobe selection, essential for packing light.

Now to pack that carefully selected series of outfits into a suitcase with minimum wrinkle, weight or worry. Suggestions brought to you by the trials and tribulations of a woman who will one day have a ‘Jacques‘ doing the work for her. Jacques the butler. He will also provide fabulous massages and stroke my…but I digress…

Some swear by wrapping items in tissue paper to minimize creasing. Tried this once but the tissue quickly became annoying or I became lazy, actually both; for I left a long trail of ratty paper in my wake. Good for giving slippery items grip, not so for patience. “Jacques darling could you…?

Others vouch for the ‘bundle’ method; where items are laid half in the bag, the other half across the inside of the open lid, followed by smaller items to form a ‘barrel’ over which the lid side half is then folded back into the bag. Tidy. Tried that too. Yes the whole lot can be easily lifted out and hung, or items slipped out and the bundle restored to wrinkle freedom as extolled however, just one silken shirt turned my bundle into an ugly explosion. “Jacques! Jacques! Please restore my…?

Have also tried those clever little zippered light weight fabric cubes; one for knits, another for shirts, another for undies, travel power gadgets and so on. My tidy mind adores them but they do leave a lot of empty air in between and around the sides.

My solution? Roll with a tad of fold. Why? (a) makes 100% use of the space (b) is perfect for soft weekender bags or backpacks (c) doesn’t shift when the bag is placed upright and contents drop (d) you can see everything at a glance (e) almost zero creasing if done well and (f) well Jacques’ time is better spent pouring your G&T than pawing your delicates. Which brings me to the point….

How to pack like a sophisticate.

1) Choose the right 20140202-201652.jpgsize bag to ensure contents will pack firmly enough to prevent movement and zips close without effort; then tie a brightly colored tag on for easy carousel spotting

2) Pack rolled socks, undies, scarves and ties inside shoes. Pop shoes in cotton drawstring bags and place at the bottom end of a wheeled bag. Saves space, prevents shoes from soiling clothing while keeping their shape and the weight balances the bag itself when upright

3) Roll jeans, knits and t-shirts and all things crease resistant and place them on the floor of the bag. Jeans at the wheel end next to the shoes, lighter items to the top.

How to roll jeans and long pants:
• lay out flat, lengthways, front side up
• fold front of one leg over front of other leg
• fold the crutch point in to even the width
• roll upwards from cuff to waist taking care to smooth out ridges as you go

How to roll t-shirts and shirts:
• lay out flat and fold sleeves in (long ones in then down, parallel to side seams)
• take outside edge and fold 1/3 in, lengthwise
• take second outside edge and fold this over the first, edge aligned with the fold
• now roll from hem to neckline taking care to smooth ridges as you go

Easily crushable delicate items should be rolled inside their dry cleaner plastic bag to buffer creases, then placed at the top end. (When bag is upright the contents sink and items at wheel end will absorb the crush). Alternatively, like suit jackets, delicate items can be left unfolded and layered on top.

4) Fold suit jackets ‘backwards’ and place on top

How to fold a jacket:
• Holding the jacket with front away from you, turn the shoulder pads back towards you, then fold the suit into the bag so that the inner lining is facing outwards
• Pop a rolled-up t-shirt on the inside corner of the fold to turn the sharp, wrinkle-prone fold into a less wrinkled curve around the shape of the rolled-up t-shirt

5) I like to keep delicate undies and silk scarves together in small soft weight zipper cubes and slip these in around the edges

6) Snake belts around the perimeter

7) Slip power adapters and other technical gadgetry into bags of their own and pack around the perimeter near the shoe end

8) Layer toilet bag at the shoe end, cosmetic bag and jewelry roll around the perimeters

9) What else? Depending on destination:
• A large empty zip lock plastic bag for wet swim suits and dirty laundry
• Small laundry kit for bathroom rinses
• Mini torch for finding your way without lighting up the neighborhood
• Mini good quality WiFi speaker to blue-tooth and share your iPhone/Android music
• Mini manicure set for ripped nails, cutting labels off clothing etc (or Swiss Army knife)
• Mini sewing kit for when you catch that damn hem
• Small selection of medicinals for hangovers, sore eyes, throats etc
• Paperwork for any prescription medication

10) Stash a photocopy of Passport, license and critical documents in a pocket in case carry on bag is stolen.

Easily crushable items are the first you’ll hang at your destination, followed by bathroom dwellers. The rolled goodies below the removed item will be visible and readily accessed direct from the bag.

Minimal unpacking! “Jacques, pour another G&T then come ‘exploring’ with me…?”

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