Monday, December 29, 2014

Tips for the overpacker

After posting on instagram the above picture and bragging about the amount of clothing I fit into a very small amount of space a few asked for tips; ask and you shall receive! 

My name is Emily and I am an over packer. I also like a challenge. I am off to The Netherlands for three weeks and our packing space is limited. Our professor told us that we would be better off to not wash our clothes often. It is common there to re-wear your clothes often, which I would totally be fine with if I did not A) Always spill/stain my and B) Sweat...a lot (gross, I know- but it's TRUE) To avoid appearing overly high maintenance I had to pack efficiently for optimal space in the small amount of luggage we are allowed. Challenge accepted.    

Before you start:

*Know how much space you have. I have a carry on sized suitcase that I am checking, a back pack an a purse.

Side note: If your goal is to avoid checking a bag- then skip the back pack step and fit it all in your carry on (oh and good luck!) 

*Make a list of everything and anything you will need. Down to every pair of underwear and roll of 
Chapstick. If you want to maximize space there is no room for last minute additions! Write it all down!

*Plan it all out. Plan every outfit socks, underwear and undershirtincluded. Know that you have enough outfit combinations that you will actually wear. If you have access to laundry- re-wear and mix/match. Lay out what other non-Clothing items too (important documents, laptops, Chargers, etc) Have everything planned and laid out and then organize it by which bag will hold which items.

Now it's time to pack! 


*Roll your clothes to save space. I always roll EVERYTHING except bulky sweaters and sweatshirts. 

*start with the essentials* Pack the important outfits, underwear, sock cosmetics you need etc first. That way- if you run out of space you do not have to unpack everything to take out something you don't need. 

*Pack your underwear/socks in your shoes to save space*

*Lay your shoes on the bottom of your suitcase and pack around them.

*Limit yourself to 2 pairs of shoes.* I'm traveling in the winter so I'm wearing my black boots and packing my brown ones. If you can- pack flats or flip flops (you get more options this way)

*After your shoes pack solid items* i.e. blow dryers, cosmetic bags, jewelry bags, etc creatively pack rolled clothes around the solid items and then shove any extra socks/underwear around the edges.*

*Lay sweaters or thick un-rollable items on top* 

*Pack undershirts, shorts Etc rolled in the front packet or around the edges*

*If you still have room pack non-essentials on top or around edges (scarves, etc)*

*I made sure all of my cosmetics fit into one easy bag and packed around that*

Back pack

I'm checking my carry on- so I have extra space in my back pack. My pack back has 12 outfits in it. 

*roll everything- lay it across the bottom and continue to stack up.* I fit as much as I could into back pack. Bonus points because it's extra light and will be way to carry.

Note: If you wanted to pack just in your back pack, pack halfway up and add in your cosmetic bag and you're good to go!


I saved this for last- that way anything left over, extra or deemed non essential may still have hope to tag along in your travels 

*All fragile, important or necessary documents items should be in your purse or carry-on bag*

*Folder with important documents, passport, trip itinerary, birth certificate, etc*

*Books, Journals, things for the flight, etc*

*Laptop, cell phone, camera, etc*

*All of your chargers and electronic accessories*

*EMPTY water bottle (until you go through security)*

*Wallet, Credit Cards, ID, etc) 

*Make sure there is nothing sharp, all liquids and medications are packed according to TSA regulations*

A few extra tips

*Be sure to have at least one full outfit in your carry on in the event they lose your checked bag*

*Make sure to weigh your checked luggage BEFORE you go to the airport. That is the worst time to realize your bag is over weight*

*Do not put anything in your checked bag you are not willing to go without. Including ID, wallet, keys, medications*

*Wear your bulkiest outfit on your flight there and back- it will save space in your luggage*

*If you have more than one thick sweater or jacket that will not fit; wear one and carry one over your arm. No one will notice and it will save space*


  1. Great tips! Plan on taking a few trips this sumer and I don't want to look like the bag lady this time.

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  3. Awesome post!!! I might be taking a trip this summer and I always over pack. I will use your tips :)