Summer is just around the corner, and we're already counting down the days until our long-awaited vacations. The one thing that is not so fun about our upcoming plans, though, is packing for them. So we asked the experts how to make the whole process a little less daunting. Whether you’re taking a flight or setting off on a road trip, our pros share easy ways to lighten your load and stay organized on the go!
Prevent wrinkles by packing like a hero.
Military cadets are taught to roll their clothes — a method that not only maximizes space, it also minimizes wrinkles. To do: Fold blouses and pants in half and roll from the top down as tightly as possible. Says organizer Bryan Stoddard, “Pack heavier clothes on the bottom and lighter items on top, then stuff the holes between your ‘clothes rolls’ with socks and under-garments to fill of every nook and cranny.”
Cut down on liquids with a bar soap.
You can lighten your luggage by ditching heavy beauty and personal care products, says organizer Darla DeMorrow. “Everything from shampoo to toothpaste comes in lighter bar or powdered form,” she says. “And because they’re not liquids, these products also let you skip the long lines for checked bags and go with carry-ons instead.” Find beauty products in bar or powdered form at your drugstore or on Amazon.com.
Free up your suitcase with the 3:1 rule.
No need to buy pricey compression bags — plastic storage bags give you the same results for a whole lot less, says DeMorrow. “Just grab the zip-top type of bag,” she suggests “It allows you to squeeze air out once it’s packed, then quickly zip it up to create a vacuum effect, helping make your items even more compact.” In fact, you can pack nearly double the amount in the same space with this simple trick!
Make road trips easier by compartmentalizing.
The best way to stay organized for a road trip? Divide the clothes you’ll use along the way into mini bags like totes or beach bags, says organizer Sarah Giller Nelson. “There’s no reason to lug a heavy suitcase into a hotel each night when you’re already carting everything in your car. You can also pack dirty laundry right back into the bags, and they won’t mess up your clean clothes.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.