How to streamline your suitcase

woman kneeling on floor while packing suitcase

A stuffed, unorganised suitcase can be a pain to lug around and makes it almost impossible to find things. A combination of careful planning and ruthless purging will help you get rid of items you don’t need to bring on your travels.

Here are eight simple steps to streamline your suitcase and lighten your load.

Deep clean before you start
We’re used to cleaning out our suitcase after every trip, but do you ever give it a good clean?

First, use a small vacuum attachment to suck up any crumbs stuck in the lining. Then give the inside, the bottom and the handles a good wipe over with disinfecting spray. Finally, spritz some deodoriser over the fabric to freshen it up.

Read: How often should you replace your suitcase?

Set a goal
Decide on the type of suitcase you’re taking – whether it’s a compact carry on or the biggest you can find. Set clear intentions for the number of items you want to bring on your trip before starting the packing process.

Consider things such as luggage fees, length of your trip, the weather forecast, the activities you’ll be undertaking and the weight you can comfortably manoeuvre.

Make a plan
Rather than picking out random items, try packing outfits for each day so you can mix and match items. That way, you’ll likely wear everything you’ve packed and avoid lugging clothes around unnecessarily.

Evaluate your choices
Write out each thing you need to pack, with the most essential items at the top of the list. Evaluate the bottom of the list and ask yourself if you can travel without each item. Some good questions to ask yourself include:Can I buy this for an affordable price on the road? Will this take up a lot of space in my bag? Have I packed this on a previous trip, and did I use it?

If you are strongly questioning whether an object will be of use during your travels, it’s probably best to leave it at home.

Use packing organisers
A well-organised suitcase leaves little room for junk. There are multiple organisers available to purchase such as packing cubes, packing envelopes and storage bags.

If you want to avoid buying something, look around your home and get creative. It could be as simple as rolling each item of clothing and popping an elastic band around it to minimise wrinkles. Pillowcases, sandwich bags or lightweight Tupperware can also all work well.

Read: Wrinkle-free packing tips

Organise and arrange
Now that you have your suitcase organisers, decide how you want to arrange your things. Creating space for each set of items will help reduce those last-minute suitcase additions. 

This could be as simple as putting pre-planned outfits in separate packing cubes. Putting all toiletries in a spill-proof bag. Or even just grouping like with like.

Create a place for essential items
If you’re only packing a carry on, you might want to pack another small bag with all your important items. A dedicated spot for your passport, wallet, keys boarding pass, medications and other essential items will help prevent any hassle at the airport.

Keep your umbrella in an easily accessible zippered pouch on the exterior of your suitcase. Pack an extra jumper right on top of your carry on in case you get cold on the flight.

Consider things you’ll accumulate
A decluttered suitcase should be enjoyed throughout your trip, not just when packing.

Consider what you might add to your bag during your trip: receipts, souvenirs, dirty laundry, newspapers, spare change, postcards, snacks and more. Then set aside a space for anything you intend to keep.

Designate a packing cube as a laundry bag, or bring an envelope to store receipts and postcards to transport back home. This will help keep your bag neat while on the move.

Read: 10 best travel tips of all time

How do you streamline your suitcase? Do you have any packing tips you can share in the comments section below?

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Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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