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Catching Rae

How to Create a Packing List

Continuing this month’s travel theme, my client and I thought it would be fun to share one of the services that I provide for her: The Ever-Dreaded Luggage Packing. 

Most people do NOT enjoy packing for trips, but it has actually become one of my favorite things. Since I help design well-oiled wardrobe machines for a living, I take it as an extra challenge to essentially create a teeny-tiny, one-use wardrobe that my clients will take with them on their adventures. People love when I do this for them, because I can do it very quickly and even without their presence in most cases - they just wake up the day of the trip with a bag ready to go. But! Here are all my secrets so that you can do the same at home. :)


1.Assess Your Itinerary

You can’t decide what to wear if you don’t know where you are going and what you are doing. Physically writing out your itinerary helps you get an easy visual of how many of each outfit type you will need (e.g. business, casual, travel, gear, etc.). You can even highlight each type of dress code with a different color to better see how you might distribute the space in your suitcase.


2. Choose shoes by event - be versatile yet appropriate.

Shoes are heavy, and most places won’t let you in without them, so it’s best to start planning your packing list by selecting shoes. You can do this physically, of course, but it is also a snap to do if you use a closet organization app (my favorite is Closet Space, because it lets me log into my clients’ closets from any computer and/or anywhere my phone gets reception). 

First go through your itinerary, starting with your travel plans, and take note of your Best Choice Travel Shoe for your mode of travel. If you are driving and can’t drive in heels, then chose your best driving flats. If you are flying, choose something you can remove easily at the airport and that is comfy for fast walks on slick floors. 

Nest, take a look at the next major event you have lined up. Before you add additional shoes, ask yourself if the shoes from your previous outfit would do. If the shoes already in your packing list are serviceable for the next event, then move on without adding another pair. If your travel shoes can’t do double duty, do you have a different shoe that can? If the events are profoundly different, then simply note your Best Choice ______ Shoe and repeat the process, moving down your itinerary from event to event. ONLY add a different shoe if you absolutely cannot reuse an existing shoe or replace an existing shoe with one that offers repeat use. If you happen to get to the end and only have one shoe on your list, add another one of similar comfort to switch up the pressure points on your feet. 


3.Fill in the Blanks

Now that you have the highly important question of footwear out of the way, repeat the same decision-making process with the rest of your outfit items. Go one-by-one, choosing bottoms, tops, and accessories - only adding a completely new item if an existing item can’t be reused or edited for reuse. And again, if you reach the end of your list and have only planned to pack one lonely tee shirt, add in some duplicates to account for laundry issues/stains/fun/variety.


4. List the Rest

Go through your itinerary again, and write down all the non-clothing essentials your trip might demand. Toiletries? Sports bras? SD cards for the camera? Briefcase? Sunhat? Sammiches? Add everything to your packing list... then leave it alone. Hopefully you have at least a few hours to wind down before you have to get packed, because it always seems like I think of something I can’t live without way after the fact, when I’m zoning out in the Lyft or at some equally-inconvenient time. Give yourself a sec, and add anything that pops into your head to the list.


Now you are ready to pack! Stay tuned for my answer to the next burning question: how the heck do I fit all this stuff on the plane with me?

Rachel KlewickiComment