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Last-Minute Packing: A Lesson in Super-Efficient Packing

Leaving for a unexpected trip at the last minute means rushing to pack, but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you use Stylebook’s packing feature! Recently, relatives couldn’t go on a non-refundable trip and were nice enough to offer my husband and me their room. Since we weren’t planning the trip in advance, I didn’t have much free time to plan what to pack. Luckily, because my wardrobe was cataloged in Stylebook, I could use the pack-by-outfit method to quickly put together a packing list.

Stylebook has helped me become a packing superstar - in fact, I fit twelve outfits inside my carry-on one evening after dinner! Even with advance notice, overpacking used to be my number one problem - seriously, I was a “what if” packer: what if it rains, what if it's hotter than I expected (or colder), what if we go to a fancy dinner? I would just toss a million random items in my largest suitcase and pray it was under 50 lbs. The worst part is I usually wound up wearing only a small fraction of the clothes I packed. With current airline baggage fees, this isn’t the best approach. I would definitely rather use the $25 fee on a dinner out at my destination - and skip the wait at the baggage carousel. Thanks to Stylebook’s method of packing by outfit, I can make sure everything inside my bag will be worn .

Start your own packing list now with Stylebook

I can still be a “what if” packer to some extent, but now each item that I pack has a purpose. With Stylebook, it's so easy. I start by creating a new packing list and then I begin browsing my saved outfits. I select an outfit for each day. Then, if I still have room, I allow myself one or two “what if” looks. I always make sure to pack an outfit for dinner at a fancy restaurant, casual looks, and something suitable for an outdoor excursion. Once I've selected the outfits I want to bring, the app automatically generates a checklist of the individual clothes I need to bring. That’s it! It takes just a few minutes to select what I want to pack. Here are some things I consider while looking for outfits:

Outfit Packing Method - Choose Outfits First

  1. Is the outfit in season for the destination? Is it weather-appropriate?
  2. Have I worn this outfit on previous vacations? Did it work out?
  3. Can I use any of the items in this outfit in other looks as well?
  4. Are any of the clothes included easily wrinkled or uncomfortable to wear?

Number three is the most important. If I choose multiple outfits that use the same item, I can save space in my bag and have more options. It's easy to find outfits like this inside Stylebook by viewing the “Used In Looks” screen on the notes page of a clothing item. This will show a list of every outfit that you ever saved that uses that clothing item.

I allowed myself one “what if” outfit, which was a look for a rainy day. I checked the weather report before we left and there was a chance of rain. Thanks to my well-planned packing list, I was able to squeeze it in!

Other advantage of packing with this method is I can reference my outfits while on the trip. Stylebook’s packing list doesn’t require an internet connection, so you can use it even if you don’t have any cell service. This makes getting dressed fast and easy and ensures I won’t forget why I packed something. Below is an example of an outfit I planned in advance on Stylebook - and how it looked while traveling:

Finally, I want to share how I actually fit all 12 of my outfits inside my carry-on, along with my shoes, accessories, and toiletries. Below are my suitcase packing tips and tricks!

Suitcase Packing Tricks

  1. Use a large packing cube to pack your clothing items into one flat container - Basically, you fold your items to the size of the cube and velcro or zip it shut. This prevents clothes from flying out if you need to take anything out of your bag in transit and it compresses everything so you can fit more items.
  2. Use a small packing cube for undergarments and swimwear - I layer three pairs at a time, roll them up and place them in my narrow packing cube.
  3. Use negative space - Stuff the crown of your hat with extra clothing items that didn’t fit in your packing cube to help the hat keep its shape and to use the space more efficiently. I also filled the space around my hat with bags of toiletries. If you don't bring a hat, you can also fit your toiletries into your shoes or next to your packing cube.
  4. Consider flat shoes - Flat shoes can fit right under the packing cube and basically don’t take up any space. Plus, you know you’ll be comfortable wearing them.
  5. Minimize your liquids - To minimize and prevent prevent any unwanted spills, try to substitute solid sticks or wipes for liquid toiletry items (deodorant, makeup remover, face wash, etc)
  6. Use your Stylebook checklist - As you pack your bag, check off each item inside Stylebook so you don’t forget anything!

My Favorite Packing Tools

Using your virtual closet and packing by outfit makes it easy to pack confidently and quickly. You'll know that everything you're packing is there for a reason, and can be used as part of a well-planned outfit. And once you've made your choices, the checklist feature will help you quickly pull together the different clothing items you'll need on your trip. Try Stylebook the next time you travel!

NOTE: Posts in the Style Guides series include affiliate links to some of the products discussed. Stylebook receives compensation for purchases made through links to affiliates.

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