6 Ways To Maximize Your Suitcase Space

I’ve just zipped a carry-on-sized suitcase that holds all the contents necessary for me to look presentable (maybe even good!) for nine days. Bow to me, gods of efficient packing, because my days of checking two huge bags for a one-week trip are dead and gone. Read on to learn how to pack like an OCD organizer a pro for your next vacation.

  • Choose pieces that complement one another both in color and in style. That means choose a color scheme and stick to it, but also choose a general look so that pretty much any and every piece can be mixed and matched. This should be easy for those of you who are more consistent in your dressing, but for those of us who are fans of dress-up days and odd outfits, it can be more of a challenge.
  • You get one statement piece, so choose wisely. Something like a great skirt or jacket is better than a dress because it can be mixed in with a handful of the other pieces you’re bringing, in case you need to repeat.

  • Lay clothes out as flat as possible in your suitcase instead of folding small.
  • As far as toiletries are concerned, you don’t need your entire medicine cabinet. Either grab the travel-size version of your favorites or buy small plastic bottles and transfer shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. into them. And you’ll be gone for a week, so packing three different face masks is officially ridiculous. Along the same lines, you will not be asked to compete in an impromptu beauty pageant, so leave behind the three different foundation bottles and just bring the minimum makeup you actually wear on a daily basis.
  • Be reasonable with shoes and purses. For a shoe whore such as myself, this is hard. But I promise you’ll be happier carrying on one compact bag than checking a huge one weighed down with your 254 favorite peep-toe pumps. As a rule of thumb, try to stick with one pair of heels, one pair of flats and the shoes you wear on the plane. With purses, bring one as your second carry-on and pack a smaller bag for nighttime.
  • If you average five books a year when you’re at home, you’re probably not going to read 15 novels while on this trip, so be realistic about your reading list.