Whether it's a spontaneous weekend getaway, a visit to friends, a city adventure, or a family reunion, the last thing I like to think about before any trip is what to pack. This means that I inevitably find myself with an empty suitcase half an hour before I have to leave for the airport. The one good part of this procrastination is that it has helped me hone a foolproof 10-minute packing routine. And being the zero-waster that I am, the resulting suitcase is far from messy or overstuffed.
Here are my top tips if you're in a packing frenzy this weekend:
1. Make a packing list (ahead of time!).
Making a list ahead of time is essential if you want to speed up the process. Once you generally know what you need, the process of actually packing becomes a whole lot easier. I can usually make my entire packing list during the five minutes I spend waiting for my bus, so timing is no excuse!
2. Keep a travel drawer.
I have a travel drawer that houses all the things I always bring on a trip: a passport, travel adapters, chargers, packing cubes, and my swimsuit. It's a lifesaver.
3. Travel with a carry-on only.
The more suitcases you bring, the longer it takes to pack—and the more stuff you have to worry about losing. Traveling with a carry-on means easier packing and a less stressful experience at your destination, so I'd highly recommend doing so whenever possible.
4. Pack outside your suitcase.
If you have only 10 minutes, the most efficient way to pack is to lay everything out before putting it in your suitcase. That way, you'll have a clear overview of what you're bringing and you won't have to rummage through your suitcase looking for something you might have forgotten.
5. Roll your clothing.
I started doing this once I started traveling with only carry-ons and have found it to be a great hack. I I tightly roll all of my clothing—trousers, T-shirts, shorts, you name it—which also minimizes wrinkling, makes everything look neat, and makes it easy to choose outfits. You can even stack a few shirts on top of each other and then roll them.
6. Don't forget about packing cubes.
I strongly believe that everything should have its own place in our homes, so I extend this philosophy to my suitcase too. Using packing cubes makes it easy to pack and unpack clothes quickly and neatly and keeps things from flying around everywhere. I usually use one cube for tops and sweaters, one for bottoms and dresses, and one for socks and underwear. Bonus: They keep things from wrinkling!
7. Quickly run through your outfits.
I like to plan my outfit combinations before packing to avoid bringing unneeded items. And when I have only 10 minutes to pack, I make sure the clothes I do bring are versatile and similar in color so I can mix and match as needed.
8. Make sure your beauty products do double duty.
I don't believe in buying travel-size items. Instead, I keep my beauty routine minimal so my toiletry bag is small enough to use at home and on the road. Here are the double-duty beauty items that I never travel without:
- a soap bar, that I use for my body, hair, and laundry
- my homemade body oil (a mix of almond, argan, and jojoba oils)
- baking soda (which makes the best deodorant and is also a really great face mask)
- mascara and lip liner (that I also use as a blush)
- a little bottle of my favorite essential oil that I use as a perfume, bath oil, clothes refresher