Packing Hacks...5 Tips to Ease the Packing Panic

With a traveling resume that includes living in a city with no family and being the wife of a professional athlete with seven children, I’ve spent a good part of the last 15 years traveling with my children all over the country. Through trial and error, I’ve developed a non-fail packing system that is simple and organized. Follow these five simple tips to ease the packing pain.

1.     ALWAYS pack three days before your trip to avoid last minute loads of laundry or missing clothing. Suitcases are zipped up and waiting by the door the day before the trip in preparation to be loaded into the car. Since I travel so much and often early in the morning, I have duplicates of my favorite makeup that I also pack so I’m not reorganizing my suitcase at the last minute.  (I love the new Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Hard Luggage for my kids. I pack two kids in each one.)

 These Pottery Barn Kids hard case suitcases are my new favorites. Buy the big one.

These Pottery Barn Kids hard case suitcases are my new favorites. Buy the big one.

2. USE PACKING CUBES! If you do not own these, do yourself a favor and get a few sets off of Amazon. These are a game changer! Each one of my children get their own color which makes it so much easier to organize their suitcases and get them dressed. I use the larger cubes for clothes, the medium cubes for underwear, socks and bras and the smaller cubes for hair accessories (I have 5 daughters), brushes and hair products. The best part of the bags is that after packing them, I throw two to three in each suitcase which really helps consolidate the number of bags we have to take with us!

 These are  bags from Amazon.

3. For teens and adults, you can also use hanging shelf organizers. I first bought these off a SkyMiles magazine and now they are all over Amazon. These three-tiered hanging shelving systems collapse into your suitcase and open up, ready to hang in a closet. I can fit two to three pairs of jeans, sweaters, multiple shirts…they really are quite spacious despite the collapsing function.

 The hanging shelf packed and ready to collapse.

The hanging shelf packed and ready to collapse.

4. Use a traveling CAR SEAT BAG for bulky items like boots and baby gear. Car seat bags fly FREE so load them up with things you can’t fit into your suitcase. I always stuff bags of diapers, heavy shoes, sweaters and things we buy while traveling in this bag. My favorite is the JL Childress Ultimate Padded Car seat bag. This comes in the backpack version (what I have) or the wheeled bag (which I just discovered.)

 In my JL Childress car seat bag, I have a full sized toddler seat, a large pair of Hunter boots and two packs of diapers with room to spare...and it all flies free!

In my JL Childress car seat bag, I have a full sized toddler seat, a large pair of Hunter boots and two packs of diapers with room to spare...and it all flies free!

5.  After trying nearly 40 different traveling toiletry bags, I always go back to the bag I’ve used since college…the Vera Bradley hanging bag. It has four different compartments with the bottom one large enough for all of my makeup which includes several MAC palettes and full sized bottles of foundation, bronzers and contouring kits. I use the top pouch for my travel sized toiletries, the second pocket for my razors, makeup wipes, oral care and the third pouch for all of my makeup brushes and sponges. With that fourth compartment doubling as a makeup bag, Vera Bradley designed this bag to either fold up or roll up depending on how you need to pack it. Sometimes I even lay it flat out across the top of my suitcase.

 

 

If anyone knows of any other tips or bags, please let me know!