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Travel Smart: How to Pack an Organized Suitcase

Ahead of her appearance at the BC Home and Garden Show in late February, Jane Stoller gives us the dish on four organized-packing essentials.

In the wake of Marie Kondo’s popular Netflix show Tidying Up, well-organized spaces seem to have become the zeitgeist of our time. But for Jane Stoller of Organized Jane, being organized has been her lifestyle since she was a child—lining up her pet cats by size and stuffed animals by colour. Compartmentalizing and colour-coding is more than just an aesthetic: it reduces stress and saves time in the long run. So, I caught up with Stoller for tips on how to organize suitcases, and—as someone who leaves their packing dangerously and cold-sweat inducing-ly last minute—I was eager to hear what she had to say.

Compress to De-stress

Samsonite 2 Sided Packing Cube ($19.97)

When it comes to packing a suitcase, compartmentalizing is key. Insert the packing cube: small, rectangular or square-shaped zipped bags meant to compress and organize your clothes, save space and reduce wrinkles all in one. “They keep your items nicely sorted together so they’re not all jumbled in your suitcase,” says Stoller. Using packing cubes means you won’t have to upend your entire suitcase just to grab a single item anymore. You can separate your beach clothes from your going out clothes or dirty clothes from clean clothes in no trouble.

Samsonite or Amazon are Stoller’s go-to online stops for her packing cube needs—at least until she has her own branded packing cubes ready.

Weigh-in

Escali Velo Portable Luggage Scale ($24.99)

Anyone who has ever had to rummage through their luggage at the airport, playing a less dramatic version of Sophie’s Choice with their shampoo bottles understands the struggle of being over the weight-limit only too well.

Stoller’s solution? A handy little travel scale (like the above pictured from Bed, Bath and Beyond) to carry along with you in your suitcase. These functional little tools will keep you on top of your baggage weight to save you from the nasty surprise that you’re just above the weight limit once you’re already at the airport. Just hook the scale around the handle of your baggage, lift up and read the weight on the scale (if it’s digital it will have a LCD screen, if it’s analogue it will be a traditional pointer).

Be Prepared

Sephora Beauty On The Fly Bag ($5.95)

The stress of going through airport security is enough for anyone to want to down one of those mini-bottles of airplane wine in one go. Simultaneously trying to put back on your shoes and belt while hastily stuffing all your items into your bag and being prodded along like cattle is no fun.

Organizing your toiletries with toiletry-specific bags will save you loads of time and keep your liquids together in one handy place, says Stoller. Sephora’s Beauty On The Fly bag is a first choice for the professional organizer: these TSA-approved bags are sturdy with see-through material specifically made for travel needs. (And for only $5.95 you really can’t go wrong.)

Sweater Weather

The North Face Women’s Venture 2 Jacket ($149.99)

If you’re travelling from a cold destination to a warm one—or vice versa—packing can be tricky. Heavy jackets take up a lot of room and if you’re not going to use it the entire time, it can be tempting to just ditch the coat completely.

Foldable jackets are the answer to the dilemma, says Stoller. Light to carry but practical for warmth, these jackets fold up small and usually come with a little bag to be compressed into. The North Face carries a selection of these handy, but stylish, jackets. “These are for the Canadians,” Stoller laughs.

Catch Jane Stoller at BC Place for the BC Home and Garden Show from February 20th to 24th for in-person tips on the magic of organization.  

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