Laura Sutherland

February 12, 2015

Put Yourself on a Packing Diet!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura Sutherland @ 7:26 pm

Eat a handful of almonds or peanuts every day for a month and you’ll put on a couple of pounds. Toss them in for a year and you’re going to be spilling over the top of your skinny jeans.

It’s the same with packing. The smallest items start to add up and before you know it, you’ve got a serious muffin top bulging up and out of your suitcase.

The formula for dieting is pretty straightforward: eat less, slim down, lose weight. Same goes for packing: pack less, slim down, lighten up.

But the benefit of packing light isn’t just about weight, it’s about convenience, too. It’s so you don’t find yourself pawing through your overstuffed suitcase hunting for your mini umbrella. If it isn’t jampacked in the first place, everything is easy to find and easy to put back.

Think back to the last trip you took – most people admit they wore the same few items over and over again and left many articles of clothing folded and unworn in the suitcase. The trick is to anticipate — and use self control.

1. Think small portions. Every item needs to go with absolutely every other item in your suitcase. No blouse going rogue, no skirt with an independent streak. All must happily hang together.

2. Make friends with dark colors. Or think patterns. Or even better, think dark patterns. Of course you’ll want to sponge off the red wine spill or ice cream drip, but you won’t see what you couldn’t get out if it blends into a busily patterned blouse or dark jacket.

3. Handwringing works. Test clothing to see how much it wrinkles by twisting it in your closet or crushing it in the store…the sales girls might wince, but you shouldn’t buy it if it creases badly.

4. Shoes are the chocolate cake of the suitcase –if you don’t resist you’ll pay later. Wear your biggest and heaviest pair of shoes on the plane and pack one other pair. One pair of walking shoes and one pair of dress shoes that you can easily walk a couple miles in if there’s a subway strike and you can’t find a taxi.

5. Think double duty. Flats can be bedroom slippers, a raincoat can be a bathrobe, a dressy tank top can be worn out to dinner or under a shirt for warmth if the weather turns frosty. A straightening iron can smooth out wrinkles in a pinch, and hey, a hair drier can even toast a bagel.

6. Forget all the tips about tucking small items in your shoes and the corner of your bag. Instead, throw small loose items like chargers, transformers, straightening irons and mini umbrellas and in a zippered mesh or plastic bag. It becomes your “junk drawer” and you won’t have to dig around and mess up your suitcase.

7. Pack strong deodorant – I once went on an African safari where one guest had a clean white t-shirt for every day of the trip – that was 14 different white shirts, plus dressy tops for dinner. I packed a total of four all-purpose tops for the entire trip. She might have looked pristine every night at dinner, but she was miserable lugging her enormous bag while I could practically lift my bag with my pinky.

8. Pack like a French Woman – Learn to wear a scarf. On a recent winter trip to London and Switzerland, I wore the same black sweater for eleven straight days. Different scarves saved my companions from screaming with boredom, a tank top added a light layer of warmth and cleanliness and gobs of deodorant kept the sweater fresh.

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