Packing Smarts

With these tips from Sonja Motley, founder of Clutter Free Closet and expert closet organizer, packing for that next getaway just got easy.

Packing smarts
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Think capsule collection when it comes to clothes.

“A capsule collection is a strong number of pieces that are interchangeable, which will make the most out of your wardrobe and the least out of carrying things. Ten to 12 pieces should be able to get you through a seven- to 10-day trip. If you have an itinerary or have scheduled special events, make sure you have an outfit for each thing on the schedule.”

Curate said outfits.

“Pull out the basics you think you need to bring and then walk away. Once a reasonable amount of time has passed, come back, add to the items, and pack. Look for pieces you can layer on top of each other, but also wear alone. And bring a pair of PJs you wouldn’t mind people seeing you in—just in case anything happens.”

Pack for your skin, not to avoid wrinkles.

“Pick clothing items that are natural and breathable over things that won’t wrinkle— I’d rather be wrinkled and comfortable than not wrinkled and hot as a firecracker. If you are staying at a hotel, get your clothes steamed as soon as you arrive. (Call ahead to check that they offer the service.)”

Pare your accessories.

“I don’t typically pack jewelry with every outfit. On my list: a travel wedding ring (the real thing can stay at home in the safe), diamond stud earrings (which go with everything), and a few pendants and brooches.”

Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

“Otherwise, you’ll hate your trip.”

Ladies, don’t forget a scarf.

“A large scarf in your most flattering color is the best accessory you can bring on a trip. It can be your plane blanket, a wrap to fight the chill, and a wrap by the pool. This scarf is as important as your best pair of jeans.”

Get ultra-organized.

“Pack your capsule collection by outfits in two-gallon, re-sealable plastic bags. Once an outfit is dirty, put the whole thing back in its bag.” To steer clear of germs, “make sure you have coverings for your shoes.”

Split up your toiletries.

“Items that don’t come travel-size go in my luggage; the rest comes with me. I always have everything I need with me, including a small deodorant and a small liquid soap (which you can use as shampoo and facial cleanser). Always be ready to be without your luggage…”

On that note, carry extra underthings.

Some people always have an extra outfit in their carryon. I always have extra undergarments. Double the number of undergarments you have in your actual luggage and always have a pair of socks with you.”

Ship gifts and souvenirs home.

“If you know you’ve used every ounce of space in your suitcase, ship gifts and souvenirs back home. Just make sure you get insurance on your package.”

Go light for weekend getaways.

“Use an overnight bag that doesn’t roll—if you bring a rolling suitcase, you’re packing too much. Pack your favorite pair of jeans and your favorite pair of boots, and then bring changes of clothes for the upper half of your body. My rule of thumb is three tops to one bottom.”

Wear heavy clothes.

“If you are, say, going on a cruise to Alaska, wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane.”

Clutter Free Closet
A Denver-based company by Sonja Motely.