Never Check a Bag Again: Packing 101

I’m the queen of overpacking. But, I have NEVER checked a bag in my life.

Most of my friends look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I’ve never checked a bag at the airport. Basically, this means I cram my closet into less than 22 x 14 x 9 inches of suitcase.

Whether I’m going to New Hampshire for the weekend or Italy for weeks, I fit everything into my carry-on.

Here’s my packing strategy: 

Make a pile of EVERYTHING you’d ideally want to pack


Take all of the clothes out of your closet that you could see yourself wearing during the trip.

If I’m going somewhere for 5 days, I’m finding outfits for 10 days. Lay it all out!

Separate by dresses, tops, pants, shorts, outerwear, bras, swimwear and underwear

Next, I begin to separate the clothing not only by category, but also whether or not they are jeans or leggings, T-shirts or nice tank tops. You’ll notice some items have more weight to them, like jeans or long jackets.

Make cuts to the heaviest items first. No need for two pairs of the same jeans. I like to keep it to 3 pairs of jeans maximum and 1 or 2 nice jackets that can fit any outfit on a chilly day. Also, make lots of cuts to impractical clothing, such as T-shirts or things I won’t really wear outside of the hotel.

Arrange your clothing according to weight

My heavy jackets, jeans or big maxi dresses are going in the bottom of my suitcase. This helps smush them down, increasing room for other items.

Next up are the T-shirts, shorts, or anything I would wear in a going to the gym situation. Your casual clothes. Those can afford to get smushed as well.

The top lair is for the more lightweight items and nicer items. They should be able to rest easliy on top of your other clothing– no rolling required!

Underwear, bras and swimwear always go in those little zipper compartments/pockets and I’ll stuff in as many as I can fit!

Limit your shoe selection

Personally, I don’t believe in taking more than one pair of shoes of each type. I’m also not a shoe junkie, so I understand if this part is a little more challenging for some.

Say I’m going to Florida… I usually take one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of nice flat sandals, one pair of not-so-nice beach sandals, and one pair of heels that can fit almost any outfit. That’s 4 pairs and it’s more than enough.

The tennis shoes I will wear to the airport. So this leaves 3 pairs to turn  upside down and place on top of the clothing in the suitcase. If a pair doesn’t fit, I put it in my personal bag.

Choose a large personal bag (the one that goes under the airplane seat) with a zipper

In my personal bag, you’ll find all of a makeup bag, wallet, a small purse, my laptop, chargers and a book. That’s it! Just the essentials.

I always choose either a large purse or a backpack that zips shut to make sure everything is safe. I pack lightly here so that I can bring back ALL the souvenirs.

These tips should have you well on your way to wherever you’re going. You totally can bring more than enough fabulous outfits to get you through any vacation! Safe travels, xoxo.

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