Whether you’re a chronic under-packer or a throw-in-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type, we could all improve our packing practices. And who better to turn to for advice than organizing doyenne, Martha Stewart? Here she talks to Jetsetter about her tried-and-true tips. Trust us, you’ll never deal with exploding toiletries again.
Photo by Fadil Berisha
Remember: Dry Cleaners Know Best
“The only folding I do is for my sweaters. Everything else – like blouses and pants – gets hung on lightweight wire hangers, like the ones found at dry cleaners. After I’ve hung my clothes, I cover them with clear plastic garment bags. This reduces friction and allows the clothes to settle into their natural shape."
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Fold Smart, Not Small
"I fold my delicate clothing around cushiony items like sweaters and knit shirts in order to keep them wrinkle-free. Do this by placing the top half of a pair of pants in your suitcase, then a smooth sweater over that, and fold the pant legs up over the sweater. Never fold clothes more times than is necessary to fit them in a bag — once across the middle should be enough for most sweaters and blouses."
Treat Your Shoes Right
"You paid for your shoes, right? So you want to keep them looking nice. The best way to protect them from scuffing and being crushed is to stuff them with tissue or socks and then slip them into shoe bags. Put them in the bottom of your suitcase so they don't press down on your clothes and wrinkle them."
Bag (and Double-Bag) Those Toiletries
"I never pack toiletries in the same bag as my clothes — a single spill can cause huge damage! To avoid leaks caused by pressure changes during air travel, fill travel-size plastic bottles partway, squeeze out excess air and cap them to create a vacuum. And make sure to double-bag them, first in a cosmetics bag or large resealable plastic bag, then in a plastic shopping bag. I also label my toiletries — you wouldn't want to drink your detergent thinking it's Vitamin C powder."
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Be Ready for Anything (Within Reason)
"Before boarding, I always make sure I have a shawl. It's invaluable, whether you're stuck in cold weather or in a chilly airplane cabin. And I never leave home without a bathing suit. Even if I'm going to Alaska, it's better to have it on hand, just in case I get some free time to spend at the hotel pool."
Make Your Suitcase Work for You
"If you run out of space in your bag before you've packed everything, there's always a way to get more in. I like to drop my bag on the floor a few times, then reopen it. Things will resettle, and trust me, you'll find extra room that didn't exist before."