On the eve of my long weekend trip to Calgary/Banff, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite packing tools.
Picture this: London, 2007. It was the middle of October. I was sitting in the living room of the flat that I shared with my Australian expat flatmate. She was telling me a story of her coworker (they call them “colleagues”) who had a strange interest in talking about poo.
Bare with me… I totally have a point in telling this story!
She said, “I told him that there are two kinds of people in this world [when they use the toilet]: scrunchers and folders. He was so surprised to hear it and started to ask everyone in our office which one they were.”
At a loss as to what my flatmate was talking about? Read all about it here in this lovely article written by my flatmate’s ex-colleague turned my best friend and Man of Honor. If that wasn’t enough, don’t miss out on the entire blog my friend has dedicated to this topic. (Some may think he has issues. I may be one of them.)
Alright. All up to speed? Good. Let’s return to the flat in London in 2007 where I was having a nice little chat with my flatmate. Almost to the point, I swear!
I dared to ask my flatmate during that conversation, “Do you think I’m a scruncher or a folder?”
She needed to think only for a brief second. “Folder.”
She was right, but I had to know how she was able to guess it since we only had been living together for two weeks. Her reply? “The way you pack your suitcase.”
* * * *
I’ll always remember that conversation for a number of reasons.
- It was really funny.
- It evolved into the first contact I made with my future best friend. (I had yet not met him at the time of this conversation.)
- It made me see the way I pack my suitcase was definitely noticed.
- Apparently, to this day, my flatmate still spreads the gospel about my packing skills to everyone she knows, some of who only know me as “the girl who packs really well.”
Specifically, my flatmate was referring to the packing cubes I used. She had never been introduced to them before. Admittedly, I had only been using them for three months up until then, but had quickly fallen in love with them.
Packing cubes are such an excellent tool in keeping your suitcases organized when traveling. I come from a family who folds everything into neat stacks and piles them at random in their large suitcases. They also overpack. I had to learn a different method of packing when I set out to backpack in Europe for a year in 2007. (That’s how I ended up in London.)
I use packing cubes for any length of trips, even my weekend jaunts to Seattle. I like how packing cubes keep everything together, so I’m not throwing out piles of clothes and toiletries as I’m searching for a specific thing. When I’ve found that specific item, the packing cubes make it so easy to repack again. It also helps me find exactly where that item is located as I treat my packing cubes like a well organized closet.
Here is an inside look of how I pack with packing cubes.
I roll my clothes whenever possible. I’ve tried my parents’ way of folding and stacking, but it’s really true that you can fit more by rolling your clothes! I was hoping to try bundling on this trip, but I sort of ran out of time to experiment with a new method. In addition to my in-flight outfit of a pair of jeans with a sweater and hiking boots (I plan to do some light hiking aka limping on a recovering broken foot in Banff and Lake Louise; you can read about how I got my broken foot here), these clothes in the packing cube will create a minimum of five outfits; one for each day of the trip.
This is my underwear and socks cube. It also holds two sports bras and a padded bra (not shown). Even packing cubes have a place for Scrunchers! This is my version of items that have just been tossed in (a la Scruncher).
I also put together a separate cube for the bathroom trips. Oh, I should have mentioned that I’ll be staying in a hostel with a shared bathroom for a couple of nights. I’ll be able to quickly grab this cube for all my washing needs.
I love signing up for free product samples. The trial sizes are PERFECT for traveling! My Neutrogena sample pack came in just in time for this trip. I needed a new pack of makeup remover wipes.
After all is packed away within these cubes, I stick them into my suitcase.
These three cubes only take up half the depth of my suitcase. Still have to pack shoes and an extra sweater.
This is the suitcase all packed up! I added the following items on top of the packing cubes:
Laptop and charger
A pair of Toms
In the outside pockets, I keep items that I need to have readily available during check-in, security screening, and things I need for the plane trip (i.e. iPod Touch, earbuds, scarf). This photo shows:
Liquids and creams in a quart size bag
In the past, I’ve also created cubes dedicated to:
- Electronics (chargers, power adapters, camera equipment, etc)
- First Aid Kit
- Dressy clothing
- Casual clothing
- Tops only
- Bottoms only
- Hair products
How else would you organize your packing cube?
Whether you’re a Scruncher or Folder, Roller or Bundler, keep your items contained within packing cubes. Your sanity will love you for them!
Size of suitcase: 19″
Weight of suitcase, unpacked: 3.4kg / 7.5lbs
Weight of suitcase, fully packed as shown: 10.3kg / 22.7lbs