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i hate packing, help! 10 steps to packing bliss

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Dear Tori,

Packing for me is a nightmare, how do I go about it? – Petrified of Packing

Dear Petrified of Packing,

Packing is nobody’s idea of a good time. Okay, I’m not going to lie, I love it but I understand that others don’t. Below you’ll find 10 simple steps to packing paradise!

1. Set the stage: Clear off your bed or another flat surface to lay out the items you’ll be bringing with you.

2. Temperature check: Before we go to phase two of operation, pack and maintain sanity, check the weather for the entire time you’ll be away.

3. From bottom to top: I like to use my body as a guide and go from bottom to top. Let’s start at the bottom. How many pairs of shoes will you need for the trip? Feel free to take out more than is necessary at this point. Keep in mind that whatever you don’t end up using you’ll have to put back, so maybe try not to go buckwild.

Let’s move our way up the bottom and make sure to hit all the important zones: (don’t feel the need to read this exhaustive list) shoes, socks, pantyhose, leggings, pants, skirts, shorts, underwear, bathing suits, belts, undershirts, pajamas, camisoles, bras, purses, tank tops, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, blazers, jackets, scarves, bow ties, ties and hats. Make sure to put everything in separate piles so that we can make cuts.

4. Bathroom products: Lotions (if you’re flying and using only a carry on, liquids need to be in 100 mL bottles), feminine products, package of Kleenex, soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair products, brush, razor, jewelry and medications.

5. Decision time: You should now have on your bed everything you could possibly ever need and it’s time to pare it down. We’re going for usefulness here, people. As a wise hippie once told me: there are those who pack light and those who wish they’d packed light. Think about the purpose of your trip, the weather, and how well the shoes you have chosen will go with your outfit. You’re going to wear your biggest/ bulkiest pair on the plane to save space so don’t worry so much about that. Moving up, let’s do the same with socks, pants, shorts, etc.

Once you’ve reached the top, you should have significantly less in the take pile and more in the ‘to put back’ pile.

6. Choose your vessel: A carry-on should always be the goal. Keep in mind that the bigger the bag, the more you’ll have to carry. Also, take out smaller carrying cases and Ziploc bags at this point.

7. Pack it up, pack it in: Now that you have decided on your bag and clothes, it’s time to begin the (now significantly less painful) process of packing. Take out the clothes you’ll be wearing on the day of and try to make it the bulkiest clothes that will still be weather appropriate.

Start by putting your shoes in plastic bags because (according to organizer husband, it’s gross if you don’t). Then let’s roll your clothing, yes all of it, it saves space

(see photo above from, originally from this awesome article). I like to put my underwear and socks in their own packing cubes to keep them separate. Think utility when you’re packing; put things at the top that you’re most likely to use.

8. Final decision time: Does it all fit? If not, time to purge more. Do you really need two bulky sweaters? Take out an extra pair of shoes that you could easily do without.

9. Carry me away: Now let’s focus on the carry on. You’ll want to keep all the important items close to you; documents, passport, expensive jewelry, your watch, medication, chargers, snacks, etc. Choose a carry- on that will be big enough to fit your extras but can also be used during the trip. Put all the miscellaneous items into a gallon Ziploc bag so that it can easily be transferred into your suitcase once you reach your destination.

10. Away you go!

Today’s blog is part of our new series, AMA – ask me anything. If you have a question you’d like me to answer, send me an email at

Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.


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