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The Art of Packing

In just a few short hours I will be in New York City, to attend ThrillerFest (a conference for writers). I’m so excited I can hardly stand myself. For one thing, I’ll get to meet a lot of people I’ve only known through social media. For another, I’ll get to play tourist in one of the best tourist attractions in the world. For a third… maybe I’ll learn something too! Talk about a win!

To get ready for this fun fest, I’ve spent the afternoon trying to figure out what I’m going to wear. Have you ever tried to get an entire wardrobe into a carry-on? I’ve tired various packing methods over the years, and have yet to find the perfect one.

My mother is fond of SpaceBags for packing. I have to admit, squeezing the air out of things definitely allows for more things to fit into the carry on. They get all wrinkly, but you can cram 70 pounds of stuff in a 20 pound bag. Which is great until you get to the airport and they weigh your luggage and you end up paying extra money for over-weight bag fees. They also slap an “overweight” sticker on the suitcase so your shame is visible to everyone in every airport. It’s the scarlet letter for travelers.

My husband likes the neatly folded, placed by size method. I swear the man worked retail in a former life, because he is an expert folder of clothes. When I need things folded for traveling or to put away in drawers, I hand them to him. If I attempt to fold them myself, he snatches them out of my hands with a heavy sigh. “You have a folding deficiency.” I’m not sure I mind having something like that because it means he always folds my laundry. That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

My usual method for packing involves an attempt at folding, followed by a wad-and-stuff approach. I shove large things in first, then wad the smaller ones like underwear and shove them into the nooks and crannies. I usually have to attempt this three or four times before I get everything to fit.

I’ve also tinkered with the roll method. We did this when we moved from Dallas to Philly, and it involves taking each piece of clothing and rolling it into a tight bundle. I filled half the car with clothes this way, plus they don’t actually get that wrinkled.

Recently, though, I saw this packing method online:


Does it work? I’m here to report… Yes! I was able to pack everything I wanted to take, in the carry-on, by myself, without any husband intervention in the folding department because they aren’t folded! I had room to spare, even. Three pairs of pants, two skirts, two pairs of shoes, six blouses, a jacket (lightweight), plus jewelry (why do men never think of that?) and toiletries. And none of it was wadded up or stuffed or in any other way maimed. Mom would be proud!

Now, where am I going to stash the cat?


13 comments on… “The Art of Packing”

  1. Very cool method for packing! I have done something close to this in the past, but I’ve also tried all the methods you mentioned, plus some. Let us know how wrinkled or not, the clothes are when you get to your destination. And, have fun!

    • I’m happy to report, everything came out wrinkle free! I’m amazed at how much room I had and how neatly everything fit. I re-packed the same way and even managed to bring home 4 books on top of everything else. Hardcover books no less.

  2. Thanks for the packing tips, Melinda. I really need to get one of those organizer for undies and socks.

    Have fun at ThrillerFest. I hope you have time to take some photos in New York. And I’m looking forward to hear your epiphanies 🙂

  3. Very cool, Melinda. I pack very similarly. Really helps keep the wrinkles away, too.

    We’re on the same wavelength on our blogs this week, and I know why. 😉 Can’t wait to see you soon! Have a safe, happy trip.

  4. Ugh! My internet connection is so slow I can’t watch the video. I’m saving it for later though when I get the problem fixed because I really need to know how to pack more.

    Have a great time at Thrillerfest! Can’t wait to hear all about it. 🙂

  5. This is excellent, Melinda. I’m not a thriller writer, but I would love to be going! However, I am going to a writing retreat in Taos at the end of the month, so this is so timely. Thanks! P.S. I’ve got two tabbies. I can’t even lay out my clothes for work daily, ’cause they’ll sleep on them!

    • A writing retreat sounds awesome. That would be hard to choose…retreat or conference. Hmmm. And yes, Jasper definitely “helped” me pack by inspected each item before it went in, laying on top of anything I left out, and guarding the suitcase inside and out. He wanted to go on the trip I think 😀

  6. So cool! I’m going to try it when I fly to the UK next month. Thanks! Good luck at Thrillerfest! I expect a full report when you get back.

    • You’re going to the UK? I’m so jealous! I met someone from London at ThrillerFest…someday I hope to cross the pond and visit her and everything else. Would love to spend a month just touring.

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