It’s summertime! Summer often means fun-filled trips to the beach, road trips, summer camp, and family vacations. But with travel comes the need to prepare for traveling.  Packing can be especially stressful when you aren’t organized. Set yourself up for a successful summer vacation even before it starts. Save more of your energy for the trip itself by using these 9 super simple tips to create your packing process.

  1. Use a Packing Checklist

For as long as I can remember I have used a packing checklist to help me prepare for every trip I’ve been on.  This checklist continually gets updated as my needs and the needs of my family change. I usually print this checklist out about a week before I head out so I can slowly gather everything that is needed. You can download the packing checklist I use by clicking here or you could try using a packing app on your smartphone or tablet. Just search “packing list” in your app store to check out and download an app that could work well for you.  Some of my favorites include Packing List Checklist for iOS and Easy Pack for Android.

  1. Store Travel Supplies Together

Oftentimes when I am organizing a client’s home, I find various travel-related items in different areas of the home. I might find a travel pillow in the mudroom, luggage locks in a junk drawer, and empty travel sized bottles in a bathroom.  Store all of your travel related supplies together inside one of your most frequently used suitcases so you won’t have to scramble throughout the house to find them when you are ready to pack.

  1. Create a Staging Area for Packing

Set up a guest room or corner of your bedroom as a staging area for packing. Bring your suitcase in days before you plan to leave and add items you will need as they are ready. This will help keep chaos to a minimum and will make the job seem like less of a chore.

  1. Group Items Inside Luggage

Tossing clothing, toiletries, shoes, and other items haphazardly into one big suitcase is usually a recipe for a jumbled mess once you get to your destination.  Consider using packing cubes to group like items together to make storing and accessing your items a breeze. Having one packing cube for socks another for pajamas and another for underwear will make packing and finding what you need easy.  Travel shoe bags are also a nice way to keep your dirty shoes away from your clean clothes.

  1. Create Outfits & Bag Them Up Together

One thing I started doing when my boys were very young was to group their outfits together in large plastic storage bags when we were packing for a trip (1 and 2-gallon bags work well). I would place a top, bottom, underwear, and pair of socks all inside one zippered storage bag and I would have one bag for each day we were away. Once we got to our destination my boys could just grab a bag and dress themselves which made life very easy.

  1. Create mini bottles of your favorite toiletries

Use generic, refillable travel size containers for items like shampoos, conditioners, face wash, etc. that you can label. Fill these bottles with your usual at home favorites so that you can just refresh them before you go. If possible, buy a travel sized version of your usual go-to toiletry items that you can refill so you can easily recognize them in your bag. This also helps avoid using hotel samples and bringing those samples home to create more clutter.

  1. Have a Toiletry Kit at the Ready

One of the most helpful tips I recommend to my clients is to have a toiletry kit packed and ready to go at all times. I recently had the need to pack up and go for an unexpected overnight visit when a family member went into the hospital, and having my toiletry bag packed up and ready was a huge help in getting out the door quickly.

  1. Pack a pop-up hamper or laundry bag

This is a new trick that has become one of my favorites to keep things organized wherever I’m going. Consider packing a mesh pop-up hamper or laundry bag to use for dirty clothes at your destination. When we are packing to leave we usually put all the dirty clothes in one suitcase so we can take that right to our laundry room when we get home.

  1. Corral the Cords

These days it’s inevitable that you will need to bring a bunch of charging cords on your trip with you for each member of your family.  Cell phones, tablets, laptops, e-readers, gaming devices, etc. all need chargers.  To prevent them from looking like a bowl of spaghetti use Velcro cord wraps to keep them organized and clear zippered pouches to keep them grouped together.

Travel preparation, especially packing, doesn’t have to make you “need a vacation”! It all starts and ends with a customized checklist to capture and guide your packing process.  Using this and these tips will minimize packing AND travel frustrations and maximize travel fun!  If you need help getting your packing process organized I’m here to help, just e-mail me at dawn@dgorganizing.com.