My Packing Method

Before I left for Nantucket last week, I shared my packing process and a lot of you wanted more information/an in-depth tutorial of how I pack so efficiently. I it's due to years of practice, but it seems to work well for me. I wanted to share it here so it can live forever and help you next time you pack!

Step 1: ~Mentally Pack~
I know this probably sounds dumb, but it's the first step in every packing process. I start to think about the weather, what I'll need, what kind of lewks I'm trying to wear, what our plans are, if it's more casual or dressed up, things like that. I'll think about the items in my closet and what (if anything) is new I want to bring along. It's part of my job to put together cute looks and know what's in my closet, so this part comes super easily to me.

Step 2: Pull Out Anything You Want to Pack
I'm saying pull it all. Every sweater, top, dress, shorts that you want to maybe think about bringing and keep them in a pile. I will go through my closet one-by-one and pull anything that would be a possible option for the trip. Nothing gets left out. 

I'll also pull different options for the same item (like a navy sweater -- turtleneck, cable knit, or cashmere for example) to narrow down in our next step. I only allow myself to pull items once (and not go back for anything else), but since I've mentally packed in my head, I'm pretty good about getting what I need in the first shot.

Step 3: Try On Everything and Make Piles.
This is arguably the most important part, but try on everything in your pile, even if you know you want to bring it. I always do my try-ons for packing while looking rough -- no hair or makeup done, just feeling like a mess. Because anything can look good when you look good. If you like it even when you don't look good, you're good. Should I say good again?

I don't put together full looks, but I do try for versatile items like a top that can go with shorts, a skirt, or jeans. An optional part of this is taking photos of everything you try on. I did this for my last packing adventure, and ended up actually really liking it. I could see at quick glance what I had, what it looked like, and then I could also remember how I felt in in.

As you're trying things on, make a "yes and "maybe" pile and return your "no's" to your closet.

Step 4: Narrow Down and Pack Up
By this point (if you're anything like me) you've said yes to way too much and it's time to narrow down your m"maybe" and "yes" piles. If your "yes" pile is already bigger than your suitcase, put all of the maybes back into your closet. This is also a good time to go back into your photos and see what you can get rid of. Try to only pack one of each. You don't need five versions of blue jean shorts. This is easiest when it comes to bottoms and shoes. Keep your staples!

Now it's time to physically pack, and let me tell you, packing cubes ARE YOUR FRIEND. Why every single person on this earth doesn't use them is beside me. They make it so you can hold 10x the amount of clothing and items in your suitcase. I have a set from Mark and Graham but this set from Paravel is also super cute.

Pack everything -- and I mean everything -- into bags and cubes. Because once you're done it's like Tetris in your suitcase. Everything fits surprisingly well together and there will be no loose items. Note that just because it fits doesn't mean it's within the weight limit. Be sure to weigh it beforehand, or have extra room to take items out and put into other bags.

Step 5: Your Carry On
I try to fit everything I can into my suitcase so I can have a relatively empty carry on. This allows for extra room for items I pick up on vacation, for anything I need to take out due to weight, and room for those last-minute items that I always end up forgetting as I walk out the door. If you're only taking a carry on, bring a large tote bag with you. I like my LL Bean one because you can stuff it under the seat (or above if there is room). 

If you're checking a bag, then I bring my carry on luggage and a smaller bag. The carry on should have at least one change of clothes and a "to-go bag" with all your essentials for a night (in case your luggage gets lost). I also carry on my irreplaceable items like jewelry, electronics (and chargers), and contacts. These are the items that I can't go out and buy if something happens.


And that's it! It takes me about an hour or two to complete. If you end up having a lot of room in your suitcase, you can skip the packing cubes and opt for hanger clothing. It makes unpacking really easy. I rarely am able to fit, it but when I can, it's awesome. 

I'll be back tomorrow to share everything I packed for my stay in Nantucket!

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