How to pack your suitcase the KonMari way – and leave out the stress

I must admit two things before I even begin getting to the bottom of this joyful topic! I used to be absolutely terrible at packing. For years I used to pack too much, every single time, only to return home and realize I only wore roughly half of what I packed! Secondly, my closet used to be made up of somewhat neat piles, and I couldn’t believe people were actually folding their clothes, the KonMari way. Becoming a certified KonMari Consultant literally changed my life. Now I swear by file folding because it’s simplified my life, as a mom enormously. Therefore also packing has gotten a complete revamp. My kids travel with only a carry-on suitcase each and both of us adults have a mid-sized suitcase in addition to one piece of hand luggage each (for any trips longer than a week). Traveling light is such a game-changer, for both packing, traveling and unpacking!

If your closet is organised, your mind and suitcase can be too!

Travelling is an amazing adventure but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. I’ve put together 12 tips to help you pack intentionally and take the mental stress out of the equation. Enough time and an organized closet will be your best friends in preparing for your trip. If you in addition love to fold your clothes the KonMari way it will help you get a complete overview of what you have, at all times!

Some closet prep work tips include:

  • When you fold and see everything at a glance it saves you time when choosing what you need
  • You save even more time by only owning favorites
  • If your wardrobe has a common color palette you don’t have to worry about items not matching
  • Are you a list person? Having a packing list might be helpful, especially if you pack for kids too

Where shall I start?

1. Plan ahead, mix and match and pack only the essentials

Start planning early to avoid any last-minute stress and potential wrong decisions. Try to plan outfits in advance if possible – take with you only what you need. If you know what kind of events you will be attending, plan the outfit and check if it can be mixed and matched with other outfits too. Be honest, if you’re not sure if you’ll really wear it, leave it at home. Avoid overpacking

2. Lay everything out on a flat surface

You will need space to fold and get an overview of all your items to pack. Whether your closet is readily organized or not you should simply just pick out all the chosen items and hanging clothes and place them next to each other.

3. Categorise all clothing by type

Put all same category items together on your surface and evaluate honestly how many items of each category you will be needing. Maybe it’s enough with 3 white T-shirts instead of 6? Think about your destination and any particular local circumstances: will you be able to do laundry at your destination? Do you need to prepare for all weather conditions?

4. Fold what you can as small as possible

Vertical folding saves a lot of space, also in a suitcase! Roll thinner fabrics, for example, summer dresses, to prevent wrinkles. Delicate items and potential suits might be better off laid flat on top of everything else or carefully folded in the special hanging/folding compartment included in many suitcases. If you need any help with folding, please reach out!

5. Use packing cubes (optional)

When I found packing cubes a few years ago, it changed my family’s whole packing business for good. Packing cubes come in different sizes and are usually ca 10 cm high which means you can simply transfer your readily file folded items from your closet directly into a packing cube and the clothes stay neat for the whole duration of your trip. They protect the clothes and are see-through so you will easily be able to see what’s in them too. For this reason, I tend to keep storing the clothes in the cubes during the whole holiday! If you don’t want to use packing cubes you can of course also place your folded items directly in the suitcase.

My Swiss Story: How to pack your suitcase the KonMari way – and leave out the stress.
Pic credit: Helena Zachariassen

6. Make up, toiletries and jewellery

Use your usual makeup pouch, leaving out the non-essentials and any old or expired products. If useful, exchange it for a smaller travel pouch. Jewelry can be packed in a small jewelry pouch or any tiny pouch you might have at home. Pack all toiletries together in a toiletry bag, if possible pour the original product into smaller reusable travel containers to save some more space. Leave the hairdryer at home, in most places you will be able to borrow one anyway 😉

7. Devices and electrical cables

Pack all electrical devices in your chosen piece of luggage/hand luggage, together or separately. All cables and chargers are best packed together in a dedicated pouch. Finalize by wrapping each of the cables individually with a rubber band, hair elastic or velcro band to prevent tangles.

8. Shoes

Shoes are bulky, so be mindful of how many pairs you will really need. On holiday we tend to first and foremost dress comfortably and pretty similarly, so go for comfort and practicality when choosing shoes. Use separate shoe bags for all your shoes to keep everything else clean in the suitcase. Pack the shoes facing each other, like they are placed in new shoe boxes, so they can easily be used to fill the small gaps that tend to emerge on the sides of a suitcase.

9. Underwear & socks

Underwear and bras should ideally also get a separate pouch – you can even put your panties inside the bra cups if you want to save even more space! A tiny sock pouch might also come in handy, except if you travel somewhere hot and don’t need any.

10. Bulky items

Try to wear any large items when traveling. The bulkiest shoes or boots in winter, that thick winter jacket, etc. The more you wear, the less you need to fit into your suitcase.

11. Hand luggage

Organize your backpack/handbag so that everything has its own home and can be easily found. I love using a bag organizer inside my bag so that when I change handbags I just easily move the organizer from bag to bag. Win-win

12. Unpacking

Unpacking couldn’t be easier if you’re folding your clothes the KonMari way also prior to your return trip back home. Using the same process as when packing – simply lift out your neat packages from the packing cubes or straight from your suitcase and return them to their home in your closet or place them in the laundry basket. It is seriously as simple as that.

Remember to give everything it’s own place also in your suitcase and hand luggage,
just like at home!

I hope I have managed to inspire you too to find ways to pack smarter and lighter and transform your travel experience with these tips! If you have any questions or need help, don’t hesitate to reach out. I too will soon be busy packing for our holidays in the Finnish archipelago, my childhood paradise.

Happy summer travels and stay healthy!
xx
Helena


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