stop, drop, and roll

As much as I am an organizational guru and tetris master, packing my bags for a year abroad sounded more difficult than the crossword puzzle of the Sunday Tribune newspaper.

For everyone that’s ever told me to not over-pack, I’ll be billing you all the clothes and shoes that I had to buy abroad because I didn’t pack them.  However, thanks to pinterest and about every blogger out there, I found the most efficient way to pack all my clothes in one large suitcase.  Just a few easy tips to remember: stop, drop, and roll.

Stop and take the time to plan what you are packing, try to stick to a neutral color scheme.  Your bright canary yellow tank will only look good for about 1/4 of your trip.  My plan was to list out everything I was going to pack, then lay it out on my bed and take a visual inventory of what I was going to pack.  Take some time to look around the internet for what’s trending in your country of destination or pinterest for multi-use wardrobe items.  Do some research about the weather for your destination and decide if you need outerwear or beachwear, rain-gear or sunglasses.

Drop anything you don’t think you’ll use more than 5 times.  This is by far the most difficult task and only you can do it.  As much as I wanted to bring half a dozen sundresses, I know that summer is coming to a close and that precious space would be much more needed for a jacket.  Don’t forget that you are going to want to buy clothes abroad that are much cuter than what you already own.  My mantra these past months have been, “hmmm, do I want these sandals or would I want an authentic pair of leather ones from Italy?!” I dropped everything but the basics.  Layering pieces work really well to transition with the seasons.  A variety of tanks, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, and cardigans should allow you to use all your pieces in every season.

Roll everything.  I thought it was a hoax, but I’m driving the bandwagon now.  Roll your shirts, roll your pants, roll your sweaters.  This is the reason I was able to fit so much and be able to overpack a little bit.

A few extra tips

  • Pack as many of the heavy items in your carry on so the weight doesn’t count against you
  • Stuff your shoes with socks, scarves, or gloves to make some extra room
  • There is absolutely no good way to pack shoes, so just play around with different positions.
  • Throw a dryer sheet in your luggage to keep things smelling fresh

Now I am crossing my fingers that some cute Spanish taxi driver will pick me up right outside the airport and offer to carry all my bags.

What are your packing secrets?  Have you ever had to pack for a year? What couldn’t you leave home without? 

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