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?