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Tips for Efficient Packing
In the olden days, people used to embark on a journey with steamer trunks full of clothes. Even a generation ago, people could throw multiple suitcases in the back of the old station wagon. But those days are mostly gone.
Today, when many people travel by air, it is becoming increasingly important to pack efficiently. Depending on the airline, you might have to pay for checked luggage, especially if it is heavy or oversized. Even if you don’t have to pay, you have to maneuver it through the airport until you can check it. Then when you get to your destination, you have to deal with all that clothes.
Real Simple magazine offers some suggestions for packing more efficiently. They suggest you start by laying out everything you think you might need – then putting half of it back.
As you make your final cuts, choose items that can work together. Knits, wools and cottons are less likely to wrinkle. Also, consider clothes that might have multiple purposes, such as a cardigan that you can wear if it gets cold or to dress up an outfit.
Next, roll soft items -- such as underwear, T-shirts and workout clothes -- as tightly as possible, and put them on the bottom of the suitcase.
On top of the rolled items, place folded clothes, including dress clothes or other items that would wrinkle too badly if rolled. Place these carefully over the rolled items. Then cover this with a dry-cleaning bag.
Put things you need first, such as pajamas or a swimsuit, on the top. Then run your belts around the perimeter of the suitcase.
You should not need more than three pairs of shoes: dress shoes, sneakers and casual shoes or sandals. Wear the heaviest or bulkiest pair, and stuff the two pairs you are packing with small items such jewelry or sunglasses. Then put them in resealable gallon bags, and place them along the sides of the suitcase.
Transfer your favorite toiletries to smaller bottles. If you are checking your bag, don’t fill the bottles all the way to the top, because the contents can expand in the storage compartment of airplanes.
If you are bringing jewelry, you can put small pieces in a plastic pillbox. If you decide to bring expensive jewelry, wear it; that lessens the risk that it will be lost or stolen.
Finally, if you are checking luggage, keep things you might need immediately – such as prescriptions or travel documents or information – in your carry-on.