Packing Problems? A Quick Fix

114/365: April 24 2007

Photo by ::d::’s photostream via flicker

It is that time of summer when we all travel back to our homes overseas. Many of us are getting our kids ready for the new school year. We’ve bought new school clothes, maybe even some supplies that are hard to find in the country we are now living in.

I have just returned from such a trip and as I re-packed our belongings I realized I had a problem.  I have this same problem each time we visit family. It doesn’t matter if it is in the US or in Germany, I struggle with this.

The Overstuffed Suitcase Dilemma                                                          

Please tell me I’m not alone in this. I followed my own tip, “Stash It”, when I packed to go to the US this summer. I thought that having that extra bag would be enough. I even packed clothes to take that I knew I’d leave behind and not take back, which would leave more space for the new clothes and gifts that we acquired while there. Sadly, I still had the Overstuffed Suitcase Dilemma. Fortunately, though, I found a solution.

Plastic Storage Bags

I have used these oversized shrink-wrap storage bags to help me pack up winter clothes and blankets in our apartment, but I’ve never used them for packing suitcases. If you’ve never used one before, they are really great. You simply put the desired clothing or other clothed-based material into the bag and zip it up. Unscrew the cap, and then place the hose of your vacuum cleaner on the opening. Turn your vacuum on and let it do the work. Once the air is out, put the cap back on. It usually shrinks it down to at least half the size. Take a look at what I did for packing.

Before

After: One blanket wouldn’t fit.

The Important Tip 

The one thing you must remember is that the weight doesn’t change. My pile of lap quilts my sister made still weighed five pounds after I bagged it, but I had a whole lot more space to use.

Your Turn: Have you ever used these storage bags for packing suitcases? Do you have other tips to share on gaining more space (I know, don’t buy anything to bring back. HA!) Please share in the comments below.

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7 thoughts on “Packing Problems? A Quick Fix

  1. Great idea! Know the bags but have never used them. I sometimes roll stuff to create more space. I always take spare soft bags too. Good point about weight – That’s usually à problem anyway when flying … We have to come up With something to reduce weight ;)!

    • Thanks!
      I roll, too! Good point to remember. And about the weight…think they’ll ever come up with something to reduce weight other than reducing the maximum weight limit for flights. LOL.

  2. Doesn’t really work for us. We never run out of space, we run out of the baggage weight allowance! And it’s all because of books. Every time I go back to Poland I buy loads of books for kids and for myself, and book are HEAVY, very heavy. We always end up sending 20kg of books by post, and still have more in suitcases. Too bad can’t shrink wrap the weight 🙂

    • Yes, if only there was something we could do about books. We used to bring over tons from the US each time when we lived in mainland and it was hard hitting the limit.

  3. I think rolling is the way to go. As you said 5 lbs still weighs 5 lbs. Rolling seems to optimize the use of the space. Also, somrthing that has been helpful for some is to share/mix the luggage so if some luggage is delayed or misplaced at least everyone has a better chance to have something to change into when arriving (I hope I’m explaining that so you understand the train of thought).

    • I totally get your train of thought, Jan! Thanks for stopping and taking time to write a comment. I agree that rolling is probably the best option, but I think the bags are great for bulky items like sweaters and, in my case, fluffy blankets and quilts. I love the idea of mixing and matching the bags so that if some bags get lost then it there are some clothes for everyone. I usually just put it all on the bed and start packing, not taking that into account. That will definitely be something I do the next time because you know when the bags get lost it is always my stuff. HA!

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