The Luggage Fight: Proper Packing Techniques

Tina Aldatz, renowned entrepreneur, co-founder of Foot Petals  in 1999, tells us how she packs for up to 30 trips per year.

Packing a suitcase should be a fairly straight forward procedure, but somehow putting your personal items into a suitcase can turn into a frustrating ordeal. Some people take the ‘just stuff it all in’ approach while others spend a day just deciding what to put into the suitcase. Organization is the key to successfully packing everything into a suitcase with the minimum amount of bother. Packing a suitcase can be simple, and it can be done in a way which makes finding what you need when unpacking stress free..

“I like easy rituals: They’re a way of liberating time when you’re stressed for time”

  • Choose the items of clothing that you want to pack. Consider choosing outfits rather than individual items. Think carefully about what you need to take, and make a pile of things that you intend to pack. Do not put anything in the suitcase until you have selected everything you wish to take.
  • Once you have your pile of items ready, go through them again and remove any items that you are not certain of using. It is important to avoid over-packing, so anything that is not essential leave at home.
  • Separate your light garments from your stiff ones. Light garments like T-shirts, underwear, knitwear and jeans in one pile, stiff items like blazers and starched cotton in another pile. Tightly roll up the light clothing and fold the stiffer items.
  • The first items to place inside the suitcase are your footwear and wash bag. Then place the light rolled up garments in the suitcase, followed by the stiff folded garments.
  • Use a dry cleaning bag to cover the pile of clothing as this helps to stop the items from creasing. If you want to separate particular layers of clothing dry cleaning bags can be used to do this.
  • Any other items, like books, travel chargers, belt, jewelry or first aid kit should be placed on top of this pile.
  • If there is anything that you will need immediately once you have reached your destination it should be the last thing to pack in your suitcase

When I moved to New York in the 90s’, I was introduced one more morning ritual that made getting thru hectic days and near impossible schedules seem more reasonable and manageable. With airlines becoming increasingly restrictive about the size of baggage you can carry on and check during a flight. That means travelers must be increasingly efficient with the space inside their suitcases. When items are haphazardly tossed into a suitcase, much of the interior space is wasted. Items that do not fit together well create air pockets and fill up the volume faster. If you follow a few space saving tips you can fit more things in less space.

Another one of my rituals is going to a Audible and downloading a book every few weeks, so there are always books everywhere: on my tablet, smartphone, laptop, even at my home office. There are at least 15 of them in my electronic devices at any one time.
proper way to pack luggage

I spend quite a lot of time in hotels. I was a buyer for a major designer brand in the ’90s and traveled the world living a haried existence. When you’re basically never home, you start thinking about space and packing differently. I’d always have magazines and books on the latest business trends, and I love hotel stationery: It gets put in a suitcase, goes to the next city, then to the next city, and then ends up at home. I sometimes even go to a hotel to work in my own city because I can get distracted if I’m surrounded by too many things in the frenzy that can sometimes be New York.

Wherever I am, I always seem to have roll-up bags nearby. Space saving is about making your travel and life less stressful and bringing things, people and objects together in the easiest way possible. You may find this hard to believe, packing helps me to sort out my own thoughts. When I started writing my book From Stilettos to the Stock Market,  I record myself for 10 or 15 minutes on a voice recorder, so I always energized wherever I was in the world.

Apart from that, I have very little next to my bed when I travel. I don’t have a specific reading light, but I do enjoy small smart lamps that tend to be more efficiently designed.

I’ve always try to have a good work-life balance because I’ve always done the work I’ve wanted to do. But it’s not all about work. There’s a lot of liberated time in the day.

Special thanks to Savvy Travelers. 

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