A Packing Tutorial: 7 Easy Steps!

Do you guys remember this post from last spring? Well I thought it was time to update my packing tutorial a bit!  Over the years, since I often had to travel back and forth between the East Coast and West Coast, I’ve gotten much better at packing.  To avoid baggage fees, I’ve learned to consolidate enough clothes for 1-3 weeks in just a carry-on suitcase and a “personal item” bag.  Of course, depending on the season and where you’re traveling to, this can be a bit of a challenge!  However, with these 7 easy steps, I think you can learn how to pack a little better and/or pick up some tips that you didn’t know before!

This may seem like a fairly obvious step, but it’s helpful to know the weather conditions of the place you’re visiting.  You don’t want to bring a ton of sweaters if it’s going to be blisteringly hot, and vice versa.  For example, looking at the weather for Bakersfield above, with highs in the upper 90s, I knew I needed to pack lots of lightweight dresses, skirts/shorts, and tops.

First I go through my closet and pull out all the clothes I think I want to take with me.  This includes items that I’ve been saving for a special occasion or just items that I just really like and want to wear on my trip.  Not all of these clothes will make the final cut, but it gives me a base to start from.

Now it’s the time to actually put together full outfits for each day of your trip.  Count how many days you plan to be on your trip and pick out an outfit for each day.  If you need an outfit for a special occasion and know that you’ll need to make an outfit change on one day, don’t forget to pack that additional outfit.  Putting together outfits like this prevents you from bringing an item of clothing and then having nothing to pair it with!

Pick out your jewelry once you’ve put together your outfits.  Often, I forgot to pack my jewelry until after I’ve put all my clothes in my suitcase, but then it’s difficult to visualize what jewelry I want to wear with a particular outfit.  I just find it much easier to choose my jewelry once I’ve settled on my outfits.

You need something to wear on your feet, don’t you? For this trip I brought a few pairs of shoes: sandals, flats for the airport, and wedges for when I wanted to be a little dressier.  If you’ve got a small suitcase, you can probably only fit 1-2 pairs of bulky shoes, while flat shoes like sandals are easier to pack because they take up less space.  Just something to keep in mind when choosing which shoes to bring!

Now we’re actually putting everything in the suitcase! I start with my shoes on the bottom and I like to tie them up in plastic bags so that they don’t dirty up my clothes.  Then I roll up my clothes one by one into tight little cylinders.  Take my word for it- rolling up your clothes is definitely a space saver! Place your clothes in one after the other, then when one layer is complete, start another layer of clothes on top of those ones.  Keep going until you’ve added all your clothes to the suitcase.

These are basically the finishing touches.  If your suitcase comes with straps, they are useful for keeping your clothes from shifting about too much during your flight.  Make sure you can zip up your suitcase!  If you have to sit on it to close it, you might try to see if you can roll any of your clothes tighter or if there’s something that you can take out.  Also, in a sea of black/gray/neutral colored suitcases, it might be helpful to have some sort of colorful marker or tag so that you can easily identify your suitcase.  Last but not least, I try to leave a little bit of room in my suitcase if I can.  I don’t know about you, but I do some shopping when I travel, so the smart thing to do is to consider that in advance and leave a little extra space!

If you have any packing tips or tricks to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments below! :)

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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. If I’m bringing sneakers, I like to put my socks or undies in them to save space. I love my sample subscriptions because then I get sample size beauty products that I bring with me on the plane :) I try not to bring more than two pairs of shoes. Wear your heaviest stuff for the plane to save room.

    Great tips! I’m often flying back to Cali to visit family so I feel I’ve mastered the travel on suitcase method :)

    Posted 6.22.12 Reply
    • Nnenna wrote:

      Such a good idea to save your beauty samples for traveling! Thanks for sharing your tips Kim! :)

      Posted 6.25.12 Reply
  2. Lyddiegal wrote:

    I always put my makeup/toilitires in my personal bag because it’s easier to get in and out of through security. I also always wear a scarf that can double as a blanket or pillow on the plane, and bring a big drawstring gap bag to stow my dirty clothes in.

    Posted 6.22.12 Reply
    • Nnenna wrote:

      Yes, I usually do the same with my toiletries before going through security, then after security I may switch them to my carry-on so I have a little more space :)

      Posted 6.25.12 Reply
  3. Aya wrote:

    Wow! This post would have been so helpful to me two weeks ago when I made my move to NYC. You pack so neatly and I’m sure its great to avoid those baggage fees! Great post, dear. xo


    Posted 6.23.12 Reply
    • Nnenna wrote:

      Thanks so much Aya! Hope your settling in nicely here in NYC! :)

      Posted 6.25.12 Reply