The Process of Packing

As I type this up, I’m sitting on a plane to San Francisco enjoying the benefits of in-flight wi-fi.  Since I knew that my Spring Break itinerary includes 4 flights, my goal was to avoid checking any luggage during this trip.  Normally I bring at least one suitcase, which I can fill to my heart’s content, but this time around I knew that wasn’t going to be the case.  My challenge: could I fit all I needed for two weeks in three different locations (San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Bakersfield) into one carry-on and one “personal item”?  The answer is yes and I figured I would share with you guys my packing process!

Step 1:
On my bed, I lay out all of the clothes that I think I want to take on my trip- this part looks like a hot mess!
Not all of these will make the final cut!
Step 2:
Separate clothing into piles by category (such as dresses, cardigans, pants) and eliminate any redundancies.  For example, sometimes I’ll see that I’ve pulled out 4 pairs of jeans for a short trip, in which case I’ll eliminate a couple because I know I won’t wear all of them!  Also, at this point, I can see the sort of color scheme that I have and bring in more color/patterns if I want- I gravitate towards black and then I self-correct!
Here are the basics, including some camisoles, regular tees and tunics and pajamas.  I have basics in so many colors, but I only selected the ones that were complementary to the tops I brought.
I have some silky and sheer shirts that I can wear to go clubbing in Vegas as well as some more interesting tops that are still casual enough for daytime.
Shorts and skirts! In the back are the nighttime skirts (all black- see what I mean?) and towards the front are more daytime appropriate skirts- a few with prints and a few solids so that I can remix them.
I limited myself to three pairs of pants- a black pair of jeggings that can work for day
or night, and a light and darker pair of skinny jeans.
Dresses:  All of the ones I selected have spaghetti straps or are strapless, so I can wear them as is if it’s delightfully sunny or layer a cardigan over them if it’s a little chillier.  I didn’t want to bring any of my thick sweater dresses because I figured it would be too warm for those!
Step 3:

Gather the jewelry and shoes!  Looking at the outfits I made up, I grabbed matching earrings from my jewelry frame, as well as necklaces from my revolving stand.  Then I also grabbed the pairs of shoes that I thought would be most versatile- one pair of flats, one pair of wedges, one pair of boots (which I’m wearing on the plane because they’re the bulkiest), and what my friends have termed “the stripper shoes” for Vegas.  And of course, they’re all black! :D

like you saw yesterday, but filled up with most of my earrings!
Step 4:
Pack everything into the carry-on.  I put the shoes on bottom and wrapped them up in plastic bags so that they don’t get my clothes dirty.  Then the rest is like putting together a puzzle- I roll them up as small as I can and I fit them together in layers in my duffel.  This involves a lot of moving things around as I discover that something fits better elsewhere.
things that are too bulky when rolled go on top, layed out as flat as possible
Other things that I packed that aren’t picture here are outerwear (faux leather jacket and trench), toiletries, homework, makeup, and computer, all of which went into my other bag- my “personal item.”

And there you have it- that’s how I pack!  I’m definitely not saying that this is the best method out there, but I do I know that I am able to fit a great deal of things into a small amount of space and packing only carry-on items for a two-week trip is definitely an accomplishment for me (my roommates almost made a bet that I wouldn’t be able to do it because they know how I am)!

So tell me, what’s your packing process?  Do you use any of the techniques that I mentioned?
headshoot, bookstagram headshot, my headshot


I’m Nnenna and this is my online journal where I write about the books I can’t put down, my personal style, the places I’ve traveled to, the products I love, my favorite spots in NYC, and more!

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  1. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks Zarna, it's been a learning curve over the years! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  2. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you Chelsea! :D

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  3. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you D, I can't wait to share my pictures with you guys! And thank you for your comment about my jewellery frame, I really like being able to see most of my earrings at once! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  4. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you so much for your comment Jos and for following in both places! :D

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  5. Nnenna wrote:

    Good luck with your packing as well!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  6. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks Madeline! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  7. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you very much Ashley! =)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  8. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks Laura! So far, so good! :D

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  9. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you! You're so right! I was lucky I was packing for mostly warmer temperatures! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  10. zarna wrote:

    i'm VERY impressed by your packing!

    my packing process is horrible, i always pack too much and my luggage is always overweight!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  11. Simplychic08 wrote:

    o nice! what are you doing in my neck of the woods?

    that is some efficient packing i must say.

    i normally lay my entire look out by day and pray that it all fits.

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  12. Chelsea wrote:

    hope you have fun! I love packing for vacation :)


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  13. jos xx wrote:

    Just found your blog right now!! So cute! I love it! Following via google and twitter! hope you do the same!

    jos xx

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  14. Krystal/Village wrote:

    I thought this was great!!! I love your methodical process, very helpful to know! I'm impressed :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  15. the white cabbage wrote:

    hoooo , I'm packing just now ! trying to do a good job!

    come for a visit , and if you like sign as follower ,,,I'll do back

    ciao ave

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  16. Fashion Rehab wrote:

    Wow you really know how to pack em :). I would have used two luggages for sure. Really impressed.
    ps, hope you have a great trip.

    Fashion Rehab

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  17. The Laugh Slut wrote:

    you're a way more efficient packer than i am, i'm a mess! i hope you're having fun traveling all over the place you jet setter you!


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  18. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you Kathryn! :D

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  19. Kathryn wrote:

    I'm definitely impressed! I have to work really hard not to just pack it all :) Have fun on your trip!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  20. Nnenna wrote:

    Glad to hear it, thank you Giselle! =)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  21. Giselle wrote:

    I'm not such a great packer, but this gives me hope that I can just organize everything to fit inside a carry on bag. Have a great Spring Break! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  22. Nnenna wrote:

    You're welcome! I think this has been a good experience for me, forcing myself to pack lighter than I normally do! =)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  23. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you Jen! And yes, I think rolling definitely saves space! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  24. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks Megan, I thought it was about time! :D

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  25. Nnenna wrote:

    That's such a good tip! :D Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  26. Tazz_yerr wrote:

    criiiiikey, that is dedication! i take so much away with me, it's ridiculous. i had a holiday which involved many flights, from the uk to las vegas, then many a drive to the grand canyon, palm springs and la, and then further flights to new york and then back home. i took 13 pairs of shoes with me and wore about 3… i hope i take in some of these tips, so thank you!


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  27. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks!! Yep, I think it's the best method I've come across so far! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  28. Nnenna wrote:

    Thank you!! Yes, my best friend got me into my earrings obsession :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  29. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks Courtney!!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  30. Enamodeuse wrote:

    I must do something like this in my wardrobe…^^

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  31. Jenarcissist at TCN wrote:

    Great guide; I'll be coming back to this post next time I travel! I recently traveled for three days and was totally impressed with myself that I managed to fit everything into one carry-on and my purse – but you, my dear, have outdone me!!! Two weeks' worth?! Now I'm really impressed! Very smart and well-done. And, oddly, I never thought of rolling my clothes, but next time, I will!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  32. Crisyjavi wrote:

    hii!!!thanks so much for your comment!!!nice blog¡¡ :)

    now following¡¡

    kisses from madrid :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  33. Megan wrote:

    have a fun trip!
    can't wait to see pictures!
    great connecting on twitter too! xo


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  34. Laura Tenshi wrote:

    Wow, that was impressive. You've packed so much in that little carry on. I would have never pulled it off. I always packing when it comes to packing, I just want to take everything with me, even the mirrors on my closet.
    I have no tricks, has you probably noticed from what I've said earlier, but I will give your tutorial a try.

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  35. Itrystuffon wrote:

    I pack in almost the same way! But after I lay everything out I start putting the clothing into plastic bags. Undergarments in one bag, lounge/PJ items in another bag, tops in a bag, etc. That way when I need to find something I only have to look in one plastic bag and know what is inside without having to push everything around in the duffle or suitcase.

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  36. Styleshewrote wrote:

    You are so highly organized — very impressive! I usually pick a color palette and stick to it. Makes it easier to mix and match and you end up packing less. xo style, she wrote

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  37. Roxy Heart wrote:

    Great post! I pack the same way. I think it's the easiest way to do it.
    Thanks for your comment :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  38. Mirela wrote:

    Thank you! I thoughtthat to :)
    nice blog you got here :)

    maybe we could follow eachother?

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  39. Leah R wrote:

    Thanks for the comment on my blog! :)
    You have IMPRESSIVE packing skills! I can't believe you were able to fit all of that into a carry-on. Hope you have a great time on your spring break!! :)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  40. followpix wrote:

    oh NNENNA !!
    I love your collection of jewerlly!
    All that earrings! :-)
    I collect them too :-)

    thank you for your comment on my you want to follow each other!
    p.s. I love to put things in order of colour in my wardrobe..maybe i'm too mad :-)

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  41. Marloes wrote:

    Wow great job! Hope you enjoy your spring break.

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  42. Gertrude wrote:

    Great tips! I'm horrible at packing lol, so generally I write a list of items I need, and every time I remember something I jot it down on this list. Then the night before I actually leave I find the items from the list and cross them out. Your technique is much better than mine though! x

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  43. Courtney Thomas wrote:

    You're an expert packer! I spent the better part of last year living out of a suitcase while I was away researching and never got it as finely honed as you.

    xoxo ~ Courtney

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  44. Laura wrote:

    seriously, perfect. i'm so impressed you got all of that into your carry on! i pack almost exactly the same way, but maybe don't edit quite as well as you do haha. have so much fun in vegas!!!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  45. Madeline Weber wrote:

    i must say, you are an EXPERT packer! i am very impressed


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  46. Lindsay wrote:

    this is such a good system! i'm so bad at packing! have fun on your trip!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  47. Ashley Rae wrote:

    Wow Nnenna! I'm impressed! That's a lot of stuff in that one bag. And I absolutely love your earring display!
    Have fun in SF and I know you'll have the best time in Vegas. Happy spring break!


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  48. artfullyawear wrote:

    This was so helpful! I'm going to a two-week, three-city vacation in a couple weeks, and didn't think I could ever manage fitting everything into a carry-on. However, you've inspired me to try!

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  49. Laura wrote:

    hello, my dear! hope you're having a great trip and that your perfect packing is serving you well (:

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  50. Plami wrote:

    Hey you! Enjoy your trip and make lots of pictures to share with us :) It's interesting that I have the exact same packing process :D I normally want to take way too many clothes and it takes me quite some time to narrow it down to a… carriable amount :D


    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  51. The doll on fashion wrote:

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope you stop by again soon.

    Great packing tips – Im now following you!

    The doll on fashion

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  52. Rosie wrote:

    You're a machine! I could never do that, haha.
    Loving your stripper heels,

    Rosie x

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  53. ondressingup wrote:

    O my goodness! So methodical. I'm very very impressed. It's so much easier packing for a summery, hot destination rather than a really cold winter one. The bags get so heavy and bulky then.

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  54. Josie wrote:

    I'm super impressed — you're a much better packer than I am!
    xo Josie

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply