Pack Like a Professional with eBags Packing Cubes

posted in: Travel 37 comments

Packing is an art of sorts, and if you are wondering how to pack a suitcase, I’m here to tell you how to pack like a professional. Tetris is an art too, and they are very much related. Everything has a reason and a place. Planning is key. Are you ready Ninja packer?

How to Pack a Suitcase

How to Pack A Suitcase

Step One: Plan Your Outfits

Determine how long you will be on the road and write down the days with a morning, noon and night column.  Go ahead, be a nerd and make the list.  You will not regret it.  Or use my Handy Dandy Vandy Packing List.  Just print it out and fill it in with the days, the expected weather conditions and your planned outfits.  If you can sport the same duds for the whole day, you will certainly save space.  If you can use layering pieces to wear items more then once, you will save a lot of space.  Simply use the columns you need.  You will have your outfits planned and have an idea what size suitcase you will need.

If you are planning for the family, you can print one out for each member of the family or just use one for you and one for the kids.  I find that with kids I can write down their initial and then simply shorts or dress or t-shirt.  They don’t need quite as much outfit coordination as grown ups do and I use packing cubes to pack them all in one bag.  Mad ninja packing skills here.

If you are traveling for more than a week, you may print out or make 2 sheets or plan on doing laundry.  We do the latter, and find a laundromat that will do our laundry for a reasonable cost.  We drop off in the morning and pick up in the evening.  Check ahead to see if there is a laundromat available in the area you are traveling to.

Step Two: Plan Your Accessories, Sundries, Under and Outerwear

Go as lean and mean as you can here without forgetting anything you actually need.  Ladies, limit your shoes and purses and jewelry to mix and match.  Ideally you should have 2-3 pairs of shoes maximum for a week long trip.  You need comfortable shoes for walking, dressier shoes for work or events and a pair of sandals or flip flops for summer travel or beach travel.  Finding great shoes that work more than one way is key!

Step Three: Lay Everything Out

You can use a bed if you are packing right away or the dining room table or the floor in the hallway or a corner of your room but the key to really ninja packing moves is to be able to see everything together, make any necessary edits (eliminations) and then know what you need to stuff it all in.

Lay out like things together.  Outfits, toiletries and makeup, underwear, outerwear, technology.  Be sure to separate liquids that must be put in a separate bag to clear security at the airport if you are carrying on.

The best things in the entire world for packing well are Packing Cubes.

I swoon a little here.  I honestly don’t know how I packed without them. I use the eBags packing cubes for everything when we travel and I use them around the house too, to keep cords, my permanent travel toiletries and accessories and bags for the kids to keep stuff to take to restaurants and such.  I love them!

Here is the kids’ packing situation for 2 weeks in California.  I used a large packing cube for clothes and a small packing cube for socks and undies and I fit all 6 bags in one duffel.  This duffel easily sits on top of a suitcase or stuffs into the car.  When we get to our destination, the cubes act as drawers for us.  There are never enough drawers!  We can unpack without really unpacking and slide them under a dresser or bed.  Plus, they come in so many colors so everybody knows what is theirs.

eBags Packing Cubes

Step Three: Choose Your Suitcase

I know the temptation is to bring everything but the kitchen sink, but for the love of luggage, hold yourself back.  See above shoe lovers and plan. If you are packing a car, it is not a huge deal, but for an airplane, you’ve got 2 carry ons and then you have to pay big bucks to check unless you are traveling internationally, have status on the airline or are flying first class. If you are traveling with kids on an airplane, it can be worth it to check a bag to make your life easier in the airport and remember, car seats check for free.

I like to have one suitcase that is the maximum carry on size and is expandable as well as one honking big “personal item” that fits all of our accessories, technology and other “stuff”.  I carry on my eBags Motherlode TLS Mini 21″ (link to my review) and my Stella and Dot Getaway (which is also expandable). I fit 2 weeks of clothes in that Motherlode for our trip to California! My husband carries on a pack and whatever else I give him.  Using a backpack is awesome because it is so easy to carry and you would be surprised how much you can fit in one.

If you do choose to check and are traveling as a family, use a giant bag and make sure to weigh it so you don’t end up emptying your bag all over the airport or paying extra fees.  If you don’t have a suitcase scale, you can stand on the scale with and without your bag.  Simple subtraction and you have a very close estimate of your bag’s weight. Check your airline for weight restrictions!

Step Four: Time to Pack

This is the point at which I start to pack my cubes up to go in the suitcase, but whether you are using cubes or not, you need to decide to roll or fold.  Really good rolling will give you more room in your suitcase, mostly because the rolled items fit so neatly in and take up all that random space.  However, rolling it will also make it heavier.  This is not an issue for smaller bags, but for those big bags, if you roll all your items and really pack them tight, you may end up over that weight limit.  Rolling plus packing cubes will make your bag look like a perfect puzzle.  Easy to see things, easy to pack and unpack and those TSA agents won’t rifle though everything and crate havoc in your bag.

Place heaviest items at the bottom of the suitcase or back and bottom of your backpack.  Start filling in the spaces with your larger items and fit the smaller items in the empty spots.  See, it is like Tetris!

You can use the insides of shoes to store socks and other accessories.  I also roll up a pair of socks to put in the cup of my bras to keep the shape.  Pack fragile items in the center of your suitcase, but check as few fragile items as possible.

If you are packing toiletries, be sure to have liquids out to be inspected.  You might consider a flat toiletry case for extra space saving magic.

eBags Packing Cubes Suitcase

I love that feeling when everything is in, I can zip up and then sit on it and zip up the expander too.  You can bring plenty of stuff without paying those egregious fees and you will have what you need to enjoy your awesome vacation!

Step Five: Getting Repacked for the Trip Home

Whether you use the plastic laundry bags in hotels or bring your own laundry bag like we do, have a place in your room where you put dirt laundry.  When you are repacking you can re-purpose empty space for souvenirs or for your laundry.  This is where expandable bags are awesome.  Laundry and souvenirs!  If we are traveling as a family I use one suitcase for laundry on the way home.  Because I use cubes for anything still clean, everybody can easily take any clean clothes and other items to their rooms when we return and I can easily throw the dirties in the wash.

The most important thing is to enjoy your trip, and it is always easier when you know you have what you need and you know where you can find it.  Happy packing and more importantly, happy travels!  Now That’s Vandy!!!

Win eBags Packing Cubes!!!

I know you want ‘em and now is your chance to win some!  One lucky reader will win their color choice of the eBags Packing Cubes Mixed Sizes (1 small, medium and large) and their choice of one set of 3 small, medium, large or slim packing cubes.  How awesomely Vandy is that? Use the simple Rafflecopter entry form below and good luck!!!

eBags Giveaway Packing Cubes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: eBags is the Official Luggage of That’s Vandy and #VandyTravels.  I am a huge fan of their products and I honestly adore the packing cubes.  eBags provided me with the packing cubes over a year ago and we use them all the time.  I am a Stella and Dot Consultant so I will get a commission if you purchase the Getaway or other items through my link.  I donate a % of every sale to charity.

I'm Brittany. I believe that simple is best and that smiling can make or break a day. I love being a woman, a wife and a mother. I like to make pretty things and making things with big tools. I am a huge fan of good design. I love to travel. Hugs make me happy. I share my life, experiences, tips and tutorials in the hope that this community can find a whole lot of awesome together.

37 comments… add one

  • August 6, 2013 Alison

    What great timing this post is. We’re heading for a 11-day vacation in a month and I’ve never packed for 4 people before, eek! Will need that printable and I love the idea of cubes. Genius!
    Alison recently posted… I Know This Much To Be TrueMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 Andrea

    These packing cubes appeal to my organization gene so much! I love how they serve as drawers when you get to your destination; there isn’t always enough room in a hotel room for everyone to spread out their stuff.
    Andrea recently posted… A Post of Our Recent Family Vacation in 9 Pictures, Using Only 9 Words. Except My Words Are #prettylongbecauseIliketouselotsofwordsMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 Jennifer

    Those are awesome. I love to keep an organized suitcase.
    Jennifer recently posted… Smooth and ShinyMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 Greta

    No, I’m not in Charlotte. :(

    Lately, I’ve been sort of doing this with gallon size ziploc bags….putting one entire outfit for each child in each bag and writing his/her name on the outside. The grandmas love it! (It was totally not my idea, I got it from AP of I Love You More Than Carrots)
    Greta recently posted… Great Expectations: Rubber Chicken MadnessMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 Donna Drew

    What a cool idea. These would be great for hubbys long business trips.

  • August 6, 2013 Sharon K

    I LOVE packing cubes; been using them for a couple years. I even like them for long car or plane trips for those things you keep at hand.

  • August 6, 2013 Jenn Cornelius

    I would use these for all the trips we take to see the grandparents.

  • August 6, 2013 Alan Limke

    Can’t imagine what we did without them…

  • August 6, 2013 Tammy Dalley

    I would use packing cubes when I go on the road for work, to keep my suitcase organized!~

  • August 6, 2013 Julie Bolduc

    I would use it while I go on my trip

  • August 6, 2013 Maren

    I love this bags. I’ll buy some for my vacation this year. It’s so easy to put all together in it and you have a lot of space.

  • August 6, 2013 Jessie C.

    These would be perfect for our family trips.

  • August 6, 2013 Tonya

    You are a packing ninja and these are great tips!!
    Tonya recently posted… Why I Hate Clothes ShoppingMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 jessica

    These would be awesome for when I pack for my next Avon Walk adventure in September!
    jessica recently posted… The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer + MeMy Profile

  • August 6, 2013 Keely

    Need. Need need need.
    Keely recently posted… KinderCare, Or Why We Don’t Eat The Dry Ingredients.My Profile

  • August 6, 2013 May

    I would use them on my next getaway!

  • August 7, 2013 Wendy

    I’ve never seen these packing cubes! So cool!
    Wendy recently posted… Wheels UpMy Profile

  • August 7, 2013 Anna

    Genius! I have the eBags flat toiletry case and LOVE it, but the packing cubes are amazing!
    Anna recently posted… Meditation Day 5 | Before and AfterMy Profile

  • August 7, 2013 Steph Calvert

    How would I use packing cubes… can I say put Phil in one and shove him under the bed so I can have a tiny bit of quiet time?


    Ok – what I meant to say was I would totally use my packing cubes for hitting up the Type A Conference in September!!
    Steph Calvert recently posted… Shady Octopus SketchMy Profile

  • I love these! What a brilliant idea. Pick me, pick me!
    Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) recently posted… More than wordsMy Profile

  • August 7, 2013 Peppin

    These would be great for our family trips because we usually all share one big suitcase.

  • August 7, 2013 Sharon Kaminski

    on our weekend excursions

  • August 7, 2013 Robert

    I have one set of these, and they are amazing. You can get so much more space out of your suitcase using these than when you don’t.

  • August 7, 2013 Debra S

    MUCH much to my surprise, I have become a traveler! I rather like it. Seeing our wonderful USA. And flying! Never thought I would fly, but I did and I love it.
    YES I would use these little bags would solve some of the packing woes!

  • August 7, 2013 Aimee T

    I’m a boarding school girl and doing a great packing job is critical to boarding school life. These little cubes are awesome! For family road trips, we will be sleeping well and packing tight with these guys!

  • August 8, 2013 Melissa {momcomm}

    I LOVE these cubes! I only have one set but wish I had three. We use them every time we travel!
    Melissa {momcomm} recently posted… Blog Page Critique: Moneywise MomsMy Profile

  • August 9, 2013 nicole

    The packing cubes are awesome! I would use them for all our sport traveling weekends

  • August 9, 2013 PFSweepstakes

    I would pack them into a large suitcase and take it on a trip.

  • August 9, 2013 sandra

    to help organize eveyrone’s belongings when packing for more than one person in one suitcase

  • August 10, 2013 MC Chau

    I already have a set of packing cubes but I’d love another set to help keep organized on those long overseas trips!

  • August 12, 2013 Carolyn Berg

    I would use the cubes to store sweaters & blankets.

  • August 13, 2013 tina reynolds

    When we go on trips I have little packing space especially packing for 5 so some organization would be nice

  • August 16, 2013 Maegan Morin

    They would be great to organize make up and beauty products. My husband and I always share a suitcase so it would be nice for that as well. I would also use a few in my kids’ suitcase to keep their stuff figured out lol.

  • August 16, 2013 Stacy

    We travel frequently, especially cruises, and we usually take two weeks or longer. These bags would be great for both of our upcoming cruises (7 day Caribbean and 14 day Panama Canal).

  • August 17, 2013 Sharon Jones

    We are planning a cruise this fall…absolutely perfect!

  • August 18, 2013 Linda W.

    For the weekend hockey tournament trips.

  • August 18, 2013 Laura11

    I would use packing cubes to compartmentalize and organize the contents of the suitcase. You can do this in different ways… I love that they are different colours so that you can colour-code – for example: recreational clothes; formal clothes; underwear and PJs… what an awesome idea!


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