Whether you’re flying somewhere for a business trip or packing the trunk for a family holiday vacation, suitcase space is at a premium. It’s invaluable to know how to maximize valuable volume and minimize your luggage total. As self storage and space-saving gurus, Total Storage Solutions is here to offer tips for packing your suitcase with all the necessities (and then some) without breaking the zipper.
Think and Plan Strategically
Think about all you need to bring along for the trip. Then, think about what you could leave beind. The less you pack, the less you’ll stress when lugging around your suitcase and when you have to unpack it later. It’s OK to bring along some “just in case” items, but if it’s something you can afford to buy at your destination if needed, consider leaving it behind.
There’s also a handy trick called the “clothing countdown” to help streamline your travel wardrobe––or the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule” for weeklong trips. It’s a reminder to try and limit yourself five sets of socks and underwear, four shirts, three pairs of pants, two pairs of shoes, and one hat. Of course, this is just a quick rule of thumb; you might need additional attire, in which case you can adjust this strategy to your needs.
Buy Yourself a Holiday Gift: A New Suitcase
If you need it, getting a proper suitcase that suits your specific travel habits is the first step to successfully packing it. However, keep in mind that the bigger the suitcase, the greater the potential for you to bring items you don’t really need.
A good way to prevent yourself from packing too many things is a shell suitcase suitcase; not only do they make great, sturdy carry-ons for flying, but the rigid dimensions doesn’t allow much flexibility for fitting in unnecessary extras. On the other hand, soft-sided suitcases can offer more external pockets or flex room inside.
Traveling with Family and Kids
Even if you’ve got a good handle on your packing process, you’ll need to think differently if you’re going with family as opposed to flying solo. Particularly if you have children, it’s wise to have a first-aid kit wherever you go. From scrapes to stomach bugs, you never know what might happen or how kids might react in a new environment––not to mention yourself!
Packing cubes could help with family trips. These small bags can help your clothes stay compact and separated from other family members’ stuff if you’re sharing a suitcase. You may even use them to plan and organize outfits for the trip. Another smart way to save space is to limit the different colors of clothes you pack. Coming prepared with articles of clothing that can easily be mixed and matched allows you to re-wear some items while preserving a versatile wardrobe––whether you’ll have access to laundry or not.
After all, is there really a reason you can’t wear the same color scheme to different Christmas parties?
Make Packing into a Game of Tetris
Although most video games don’t transfer well to real life, Tetris is one exception. When you want to fit everything into one bag, you’ve got to fill in all the gaps, leaving no extra space. But this requires strategy, especially if you want to avoid damaged belongings or spilled and leaking liquids, like shampoo and lotion.
For example, shoes come with built-in extra space. Stuff them with socks, undergarments, and other smaller items. Place all footwear together, laying them heel-to-toe at the bottom of the suitcase wrapped in a plastic bag or shower cap to protect the rest of your clothes from dirt.
When it comes to clothing, rolling it is another popular and effective strategy, as it both maximizes space and minimizes wrinkles. You can also try a bundling technique, where articles of clothing are wrapped around a central core, such as undergarments and leisure T-shirts, with larger and more sensitive clothing serving as the outer layer.
In general, you should pack the heaviest belongings at the bottom of the suitcase––but think of the “bottom” in terms of where items will fall when the bag is standing or being lugged around (which, for rolling bags, would be near the wheels). An off-balance or top-heavy suitcase doesn’t make for a happy or efficient traveler.
If You’re Passing Through Airport Security
Pack electronics on the top layer of your carry-on, and keep liquids, aerosols, and any food in front pockets for screening accessibility. It’s also ideal to wear easily removable shoes for quickly passing through security and your comfort during travel.
Once you get past security, you want everyone to be comfortable so you can start out the vacation right. Make sure your family members have a jacket, satisfying snacks for the flight, and a neck pillow or other fabric for optimal sleeping comfort.
If you are traveling via airplane, the best way to ensure you’re properly prepared and packed before the flight is to review the TSA travel checklist and list of permitted and prohibited items.
We Are Your Space-Saving Storage Solution
Packing your suitcase in a compact manner while not forgetting anything is a science, an art, and perhaps even a game that pays off in any travel situation. Doing it wrong might not be the end of the world, but you could end up misplacing valuables, dealing with messy spills, paying overweight baggage fees, or becoming frustrated when searching for something specific.
At Total Storage Solutions, we understand the value of staying organized and taking advantage of space-maximizing methods––not only during periods of travel but also throughout your daily life. That’s why we offer self storage units of all sizes for your belongings, whether you need to store some overflow items while downsizing or all your earthly possessions in between moves. Find a storage facility near you today and discover how we can be your go-to storage solution!