Packing Part 1: What To Know Before You Go

I love to travel, but I hate to pack. Perhaps I inherited my severe dislike for packing and unpacking from my mom (she blames my grandmother). Whatever the reason, traveling equals packing and knowing a few time-tested strategies can go a long way in helping make packing more tolerable and your next trip more enjoyable.

1. Martha Stewart swears by it and I must admit I tried it and it works. It’s tissue paper and it works especially well on delicate items (like a sequined dress or blouse). Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper.

2. When packing your clothes, you don’t want to neatly fold each piece as you would in a dresser. If you do, they will crease when compressed. However, if you have an extra large suitcase most shirts and skirts will fit without having to be folded. This is especially true for children’s clothes. I place all of my daughter’s clothes, including her pants and dresses face down and never have to deal with creases.

3. Rolling your clothes. Most people are familiar with this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up. If you don’t want to employ this method for all of your clothing items, you can choose a few items, roll and stick them in the sides of the suitcase so that they frame the items you have already packed using the traditional method.

4. Fold clothes together. Take two or more clothing items, for example trousers, and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it on the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded it so it’s less likely to crease or wrinkle in the folds.

5. Place shoes on the sides of your suitcase or in the outside pockets. I was a staunch believer of the “pack heavy items on the bottom” theory. However, I have learned the hard way that when a large suitcase with wheels is stands upright the “bottom” becomes a “side.” I ended up at my destination with shoe indentations on an entire layer of clothing.

Look for my next blog, Packing Part II: Packing Tips Post 9-11.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.