Nicki Mayfield’s Organizing Guide #1: Packing for a Trip

Welcome to the first post in a series of Organizing Guides by your favorite professional organizer, me, Nicki Mayfield!

While I didn’t quite build my organizing empire as I had planned, I still have a lot of organizing knowledge to share, and what better place to do it than right here!

As many of you will soon discover, my time as a professional organizer has never been dull. I’ve organized everything from shoes, to paper, to art collections. I know all the secrets to a successful move and I can pack a suitcase like nobody’s business. I’m what you would call a well-rounded organizer!

Having recently traveled overseas myself and with summer quickly approaching, I thought I’d kick off my Guide to Organizing series with packing tips for your next trip.

Nicki Mayfield’s Organizing Guide #1: Packing for a Trip

  • Start early. Unless you’re packing for a spur-of-the-moment getaway, it’s always best to start packing early. Giving yourself time to pack means you’ll be less likely to forget anything important (like your passport!) as well as providing you the opportunity to make any changes if needed (see next point).

  • Pack accordingly. Before you pull out any shirts, pants, or shoes, you’ll want to pack with the weather and your activities in mind. Heading to a conference? Pack a sweater as conference rooms are always cold. Will it be rainy, cool, or on fire at your final destination? Knowing what to expect can ensure that you are ready for whatever conditions may blow in. Is a gym available at your hotel? Whether it’s a hotel amenity or a last-minute adventure added to your itinerary, it’s always good to know what options you’ll have available and pack accordingly.
  • Have a checklist. A packing checklist is a great tool to have! You can use it before you leave to make sure you don’t forget anything. Later you can use it on your return home to make sure you packed up all the items you’ve spread around your hotel room or Airbnb. Since I love a great checklist (what organizer doesn’t?), I asked my friend and travel guru, A Traveling Broad, to share her awesome packing list with you. You can grab it for FREE, here. No worries, you can thank me later 😉

  • Know your limits. Airlines are funny these days. Some let you travel with multiple bags at no charge, some charge a fee for every checked bag and some require that you only have one personal carry-on item. Before you load up your suitcase, make sure you know what your airline’s policies are for luggage including size dimensions (for both check-ins and carry-ons), weight limits, number of bags allowed, and any associated fees or additional charges.
  • Be original! Suitcases come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Yet it never fails that when you’re traveling the odds are in your favor that someone will have a suitcase that looks just like yours. To guarantee that you pick up the right piece of luggage at baggage claim, add some ribbon to your bag’s handle, strap a colorful band around your suitcase or use a distinctive luggage tag to differentiate yours from everyone else’s. Not only will your suitcase be easy to spot, but you’re also ensuring that you don’t open grandma’s suitcase when you arrive at your beach resort!

  • Track your luggage. If you check in your bags, you’ll receive a claim receipt from the airlines. It can be tempting to throw this tiny piece of paper away, but don’t! If you arrive at your destination but your suitcase doesn’t, you’ll need that claim ticket to process your missing luggage or prove that it actually belongs to you. If you’d prefer a more digital option, you might want to consider using a Tile Mate Locator Tracker instead!
  • Pack smart. Food, appliances, swords, and animals. Yes, people really do pack weird things in their luggage. And while it may seem like a good idea at the time, make sure you know what you’re actually allowed to bring in your suitcase and what you’re not. In doing so you can avoid a lot of time and trouble.
  • Keep it simple. While you may be inclined to pack your entire clothes collection for your next trip, the best advice I can offer is to keep it simple. Plan outfits that can serve double (or even triple!) duty, pack clothes in neutral colors or only one or two colors so it’s easy to mix and match (thus requiring less clothing) or be willing to do laundry during your trip so you don’t have to pack as much.

Taking a trip can be exciting. However, if you don’t pack right your dream vacation can quickly become a nightmare! Use these 8 tips to ensure that you are ready to take off and land with exactly what you need.

Oh, and don’t forget to download your FREE PACKING CHECKLIST (courtesy of A Traveling Broad).

It’s a great resource you won’t want to travel without!

Be on the lookout for more of the Nicki Mayfield Guides to Organizing series coming soon, including:

  • Preparing for a move
  • Shoe organization
  • Paper piles
  • and more!

Most importantly, don’t forget to get your copy of my full story in Perfectly Arranged, releasing October 26, 2021!

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