I want to start this post off by saying that I am horrible at packing. There, I said it.
Typically, when I go on a week long trip I end up throwing 60 percent of my entire closet in a suitcase and relying on the principle of quantity over quality. This should mean that I have enough options to be satisfied with my outfits, but usually I find that I still forgot something. Also, I really like clothes — definitely am not one of those outdoorsy backpack-y people that can throw a t-shirt, zip-off cargo pants and some tevas in a bag and call it good.
When I say I throw clothes in my suitcase, I mean it. There’s negative organization in that thing. I arrive at destination and proceed to toss my suitcase like a salad in order to find that one white lacy bralette that I swore I packed.
Tyler and I are taking an 8 day trip to Maui sans-parents which means that our travel costs are also incurred sans-parents. Checking bags is an expensive luxury and we want to fit in snorkel gear! My 60%-of-closet strategy doesn’t work when all my vacation clothes need to fit in a carry-on size bag, so I’m packing smart this time. I’m gonna show you how I’m doing it so you can shoot for quality over quantity next time you pack, too.
The first thing I did to organize my life was make a list. Thinking about what to bring while looking in your closet helps to plan what you’re going to bring. Usually I just think “Oh, I need some shirts” and then proceed to throw in shirts at random until I’m satisfied. Not this time! I picked bottoms and tops that I could mix and match and made sure that I had enough to make up 8 days of outfits.
Some things I tried to include were:
- high & low rise denim shorts (they can be re-worn so I don’t need to pack 7 bottoms)
- plain t-shirts and cropped tank tops (they go with everything and fold up to be super tiny!)
- a dress (we might go out to dinner once)
- workout clothes (can someone say rainforest hikes?! rainforest hikes.)
- BIKINIS! (I don’t sacrifice bikinis for space. they’re all coming.)
I cross things off the list as I pack to make sure it actually ended up in the suitcase.
Lay it out
Next, I laid everything out on my bed to visualize it and to get an idea of how much volume was actually on my list. It was at this point I realized my list didn’t include pajamas. Once I had everything laid out, I tried on my outfits to make sure that I had 8 that I liked and felt good in. Super annoying step, I know, but it makes for less uncertainty upon arrival.
Here it is! My clothes for 8 days of hawaiian paradise. Don’t be fooled, the blue bag in the top left corner is full of bikinis. Having 8 bikinis for an 8 day trip is probably overkill but whatevvvvvs.
I put my socks and underwear in little things called “packing cubes” in an effort to be more organized. Usually I just throw them in wherever and then have a tough time distinguishing clean socks from dirty socks mid-week. I bought the little containers from target here. They’re tinier than I expected but actually turned out to be the perfect size!
Load it up
Something my college roomie taught me as we crammed our suitcases to travel home for our 3 week winter break was to roll your clothes instead of fold them. It makes everything take up less surface area and lets you pack like you’re playing tetris to ensure you get every. single. inch. of that suitcase filled up.
I start like this and layer on top. My bikini bag fits perfectly in this little suitcase!
I keep going until I have everything I laid out (plus some) in the suitcase. I barely made it all fit😬
A super helpful tip is to make sure your jacket (& sweats if necessary) is on the top of your stuff! This is something I always forget and end up freezing on the plane to avoid digging through everything in the middle of the plane aisle. I also threw a dryer sheet in there to keep everything smelling fresh & clean ☺️
Everything zipped and it’s all ready to go! My “personal item” is my backpack and has things like shampoo, conditioner, makeup, laptop, camera, book, chargers, wallet, and a curling iron.
Do you guys have any helpful packing tips? I think organized packing makes a trip so much more enjoyable because everything is easily accessible. Leave a comment to let me know if there’s anything that will make my life even easier!