This blog post was updated on October 12, 2018.
Most people loath packing to the point where they wait until the very last moment to do so. In the process, travelers make mistakes, miss flights and experience frazzled last minute errands, stressing and wearing the adventurer out long before jetting off. I used to pack in this manner. After growing tired of the mistakes, the forgotten items and hours off of my life, I figured out how to pack not only effectively but also efficiently. To expedite your packing practices, here are four steps to follow to pack your suitcase in 15 minutes.
Start With The Necessities: If you forget a necessity, a trip can quickly turn into a disaster. Before I start packing, I round up the items that I can’t live without or those necessities that would be hard to find where I’m going. I go through my daily routine of what I put on and use, making it easier to pack quickly. In terms of necessities, you should also consider where you are going. Now is the time to think about what you will be doing and the weather at your destination. Such information can guide you as to what should go in the rest of your suitcase.
Always Have Your Toiletries Set To Go: If you are anything like me, you collect travel-sized toiletries of any kind. However, when it would come time to pack, I usually spent hours upon hours looking for every item that I needed. Packing toiletries is often a clock eater for someone trying to pack quickly. In order to combat this packing time waster, you should have a bag of toiletries with your necessities already packed, so you don’t have to search for these items. The only step necessary is merely tossing the bag in your bag. After every trip, I try to make note of what I have used up in my travel toiletry kit and need to replenish. I can add it to the shopping list, rather than the mad-dash, my flight leaves in an hour list.
Color is Key: I learned a long time ago, specifically from my Mom, in order to pack fashionably but also with little effort, you have to pack according to a set color palette. If you are the type that spends hours trying to decide if one shirt with go with everything else in your bag, you are wasting your time and approaching packing in the wrong fashion. I usually pack by color, selecting two main colors for each trip, accompanied by neutrals. My clothes all match and remain interchangeable when I need them to be. I also spend less time trying to figure out if everything will work well together. If you have two colors in mind, you can grab those colors out of your closet and pair down from there rather than from the entire closet.
Cube It: Many travelers don’t pack quickly because they aren’t organized. You start to lodge shirts in one pocket, only to mix in socks and shoes. You run out of space and have to go back to square one of figuring out what you need and don’t need. To make quicker decisions and to stay organized as you pack, packing cubes can help separate items and force you to stick to a set limit. I fill up a cube and once I am out of room, it goes in the bag. I don’t overpack or waste time weeding out what to bring.