I am a freak for organization and planning and I LOVE to pack. I think packing is so fun and I’m confident I have perfected my method. In honor of an upcoming trip, I thought it would be fun to share my packing process, from start to finish! Hopefully you can pull a tip or two from this list to make your own process easier… and more enjoyable! And please, if you have any go-to tips, please share with me below!
I’ll go into my entire process in more detail below, but I’m starting with a quick bullet list, for those of you that like to get right to the point!
MY PACKING PROCESS… IN 6 EASY STEPS
- Book a trip
- Make a list | I create a note of items I think I’ll want to bring (i.e. beach trip = packable straw hat)
- Pull items | One week before my trip, I’ll start pulling clothes from my list and grouping them together
- Edit items | I always start big and pare down my pieces as needed
- Begin packing | Typically I like to begin packing about two days prior to my trip and I always use packing cubes!
- Finish packing + last minute list | The day before a scheduled trip, I finish packing and make an updated list of last-minute items to add (ex. phone charger, curling wand, etc.)
- Bonus | See below 😉
STEP ONE – BOOK A TRIP, STEP TWO – MAKE A LIST!
Immediately upon booking a trip, I create a note in either my Notes app using voice-dictation or in the AirTable app and begin to list items I think I’ll want to pack. Its important to consider the destination, weather and plans (will I be outdoors/active, beachside/relaxing, etc) . I use Airtable for organizing & planning my blog post and video ideas. Because I like to include packing guides on my blog, using AirTable to keep this list is kind of like killing two birds with one stone.
Note: AirTable is such a great tool for planning anything – literally. Its a free app and also has a desktop version. There is a paid option as well, but I get by perfectly fine with the free one. Let me know if you have questions on it, I’m happy to answer!
STEP THREE – PULL ITEMS
Ideally, I like to start the official packing process about a week before my scheduled trip. I’ll begin by going into my closet and pulling items that are one my list. Other pieces that catch my attention will also be pulled at this point. My closet is set up in a way that makes this process really easy for me.
I keep my closet organized by color, and within each color block I organize from short to long sleeves. This is personal preference, but it makes choosing an item much quicker and easier! The upper left side of my closet has all of my activewear tops blocked together, followed by all of my tops. The bottom left side has all of my activewear bottoms grouped together, followed by jeans and then other pants (like dress pants). The right side of my closet holds all of my dresses, jackets and miscellaneous pieces. In the middle is a small rack where I group everything together.
STEP FOUR – EDIT ITEMS
As I pull my desired items, I’ll hang them in the center portion of my closet so they are separate from the rest of my clothes. From here, I’ll weed out items I don’t need or add something I’m missing. I always pack in the same luggage, the Away Bigger Carry-On (you can find my review here). Because I always use the same luggage I know how much space I have and that helps me to really minimize my items.
STEP FIVE – BEGIN PACKING
I like to begin packing about two days prior to a trip. This gives me plenty of time to get everything organized and ready to go without being rushed waiting till the last minute.
I swear by packing cubes, they are life changing! Usually I’ll use one for tops and one for other items like dresses, pants & pajamas. I do a mix of rolling and folding, as I really don’t think one way is better than the other. For certain items, like a silky cami for example, I’ll roll to prevent creasing.
STEP SIX – FINISH PACKING
After finishing step five, I make a list of the remaining items I need to pack right before taking off. For example, my phone and my headphones (always charging those up until the last minute). I’ll usually make this list on my phone and set a reminder alert for an hour before I need to leave for the airport. This gives me ample time to grab last minutes items and ensure I’m not missing anything!
STEP SEVEN – BONUS!
Unpack within 24 hours of returning home! While I LOVE packing, I HATE unpacking (and doing laundry). But it really makes life so much easier to get it done within 24 hours.
On a similar note, refill any toiletries/makeup items you used. I have a dual-sided cosmetic bag full of toiletries & makeup that I never unpack that’s just for travel. When I get back from a trip, I always refill everything so when it’s time to leave again I don’t have to worry about taking care of those little things.