suitcase with luggage

Your flight and hotel are booked, you’ve pre-ordered your Uber, and you’ve checked the weather at your destination. There’s just one thing left to do… and it’s a biggie. It’s time to pack for your vacation. While some ladies relish this job, most of us mere mortals find it strikes fear into our hearts. It can so easily go wrong. Luckily, we’ve got your back. Want to learn how to pack a suitcase efficiently? Here are some killer tips to help you get the most out of your luggage.

How to Pack Efficiently

Choose Your Colors First

If you’re the kind of lady who sticks to one color palette (oh hello, monotone wardrobe!), you can go ahead and skip this tip. You’ve got it covered. However, if your wardrobe looks more like a festival of colors than a black parade, you’ve got some thinking to do.

Since you can’t take your entire closet of clothes, you need to pick out pieces that work with one another. Before you decide what you’re going to take, choose a color style that works for your trip. It may help to select three complementary tones you can weave throughout all the outfits you choose. Simple.

Select Your Vacation Staples

vacation outfit

Next, it’s time to select your vacation staples. These are the items you will rely on when you’re away. For example, you might choose one flattering pair of jeans, a jacket, a simple yet chic dress, and a decent pair of sneakers.

Having these in your case means you’re ready for almost any situation. Stick to clothes you tend to wear frequently as you’re sure to need them while you’re away.

Pick Out “Double Duty” Items

Clothing items that serve “double duty” are a blessing. For example, you might have a simple black dress that can be worn with flats and a sunhat in the day and dressed up with heels and accessories at night. When you’re choosing the pieces you want to take with you, consider what situations you can wear them in and whether they are versatile.

Take a Few Key Accessories

Accessorizing might be your secret weapon but taking a million necklaces on your next vacay isn’t the way to go. Keep things simple. Just as you chose clothing staples, you need to focus on key pieces that can be used in a variety of situations.

When it comes to your jewelry packing, you should take one necklace, one pair of earrings, and perhaps a bracelet. Sunglasses and a large hat are essential items whether you’re heading to the beach, the pool, or on an exciting city break. However, you only need one of each of these items in your suitcase.

woman wearing a hat

Be Lean When it Comes to Shoes

Love shoes? Sit down – we need to have a little chat. Yes, you might want to take 10 pairs of shoes so you have variety but that’s not a smart move. The main problem with shoes is they are likely to be the heaviest items you pack. Keeping things lean might sound like zero fun but it will open up a whole load of room in your case.

Let’s go through the basics. You need one pair of sneakers (for walking), one pair of heels (for style), and one pair of flats (for comfort). If you’re lucky, your sneakers and flats can be the same shoes, which means you only need to take two pairs in total. Wear your flats or sneakers on the flight and simply pack the heels.

Ditch 20% of Your Packing

By now, you should have gotten to a good stage with your packing. You’ve likely pulled a whole host of items out of your wardrobe and laid them out on your bed, ready to put in your suitcase. Now comes the hardest part. Take a deep breath. It’s time to edit down your luggage.

The sorry truth about packing is that the majority of us get it wrong. We over-pack. It’s only natural you’ve slipped in a few items a) you won’t wear on vacation or b) you might wear but you could do without. Get rid of them. Aim to ditch around 20% of the items you’ve picked so far. You’ll thank yourself later.

Fold it Up (the Right Way!)

stack of folded clothes

If you’ve already read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, you’re one step ahead of the game. While her folding advice is meant for your drawers, you can easily apply it to packing a suitcase. It’s pretty simple.

Fold your clothes up and – instead of laying them flat on top of one another – put them upright. The thin edge of the folded item is all you should be able to see in the case. This technique means your clothes will be compact and you can fit more in. When it comes to your socks, you can’t fold them, but you should roll them up into sushi-type shapes.

Leave No Space Unfilled

Finally, it’s the packing golden rule: leave no space unfilled. Before you zip up your case and slip on that padlock, you need to check out your luggage. There could be spaces inside you’re letting go to waste.

For instance, you should check the corners of the case to make sure they are full. Equally, the inside of your bras and shoes can be used to store smaller items like briefs and socks.

Ready, Set, Pack!

Now that you’ve read our tips, what are you waiting for? Packing doesn’t have to be a chore. When you follow this advice, it can be pain-free and quick. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can “switch off” and start looking forward to your trip.