What’s Your Packing Strategy?
I’m in the process of moving, and this past week, every ounce of my free time has been poured into packing. But now, sitting on a throne of taped-up boxes and disassembled furniture, I’m wondering how effective my packing methods really are. I’ve got that organizational madness that makes it hard for me to put so much as a spoon in the wrong box, which is great when you’re finally unpacking. On the other hand, I’ve seen friends move entire apartments in garbage bags and fare just as well.
So, in tribute to a week of box-stuffing, laundry-folding, and glassware-wrapping, I’m handing down three different ways to stuff a suitcase:
I’ll call the first method the Laundry Bag Method, although I could just as easily call it the “every single college student ever” moving method. All this “strategy” requires is that you open your battle-bruised suitcase, dig through a laundry pile, and chuck in whatever catches your fancy. There’s no “Oh, maybe I’ll put the socks on the left” or even, “Perhaps I should pack an iron to smooth out this tangled horror.” Nope. It’s the packing strategy that says, “If it smells clean, I’ll take it.” And hey–smelling clean is a pretty good priority, if you ask me.
Taking it a step up is the Swiss Roll Method. I’ve heard it lauded primarily as a space-saving method, although it’s also supposed to prevent your clothes from wrinkling. This method involves rolling every article of clothing into a tight little tube, and then stuffing those cigar-style bundles in rows across the width of the suitcase. With all those cotton dolmas in hand, you may feel a little like a baker lining a tray. But if the method’s claim is true, you’ll be able to stuff more clothing in per square inch. A great idea if you don’t want to vacation at the laundromat.
The Card Deck Method has to be the most common of all. You know–the one where you fold your blouses and your slacks into dull little squares, stack them up like a linen Dagwood, and have your kid sit on the top of the suitcase while you fumble with the zipper. It works, it’s easy, and it’s familiar, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. For instance, grouping like items together (socks with underwear, warm-weather clothes on one side, cool-weather gear on the other) will save you a bunch of muddling around in your suitcase, and it’s always a good idea to bag loose items like nail clippers and q-tips.
I’ve employed all of these methods at least once in the past, and they all have their charms. But I’ll admit–given the time and the energy, I go for surgical suitcase precision every time.
Got your own suitcase packing strategy? Post it in the comments!
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.