How to be a min­i­mal­ist packer

Australian Traveller - - Contents -

IRON­I­CALLY, I LEARNED how to be a min­i­mal­ist packer while work­ing at a fash­ion mag­a­zine. I was in charge of or­gan­is­ing trips to pic­turesque lo­ca­tions, both in Aus­tralia and around the world, in or­der to shoot page af­ter page of images of lithe-limbed beau­ties in fan­tas­ti­cal fash­ions. Packing for th­ese trips was a la­bo­ri­ous and all-en­com­pass­ing process of lov­ingly fold­ing and ar­rang­ing layer upon layer of the lat­est de­signer pieces, and adding end­less pairs of ver­tig­i­nous heels and ev­ery it­er­a­tion of ac­ces­sory that could be dreamed up, in­clud­ing, on oc­ca­sion, gems the size of gob-stop­pers val­ued at hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars. All this love­li­ness was even­tu­ally con­tained in a con­voy of gi­gan­tic hard-shell suit­cases that were checked onto flights as part of the lug­gage al­lowance of each of the mem­bers of the cre­ative team trav­el­ling (when I couldn’t beg, steal or bor­row a few kilo­grams of ex­cess bag­gage at no ex­tra cost), leav­ing lit­tle left­over for any­thing else but es­sen­tials. Not sur­pris­ingly, I be­came adept at packing enough clothes, shoes and as­sorted sun­dries to last two weeks into a bag the size of a carry-on suit­case, or smaller. The se­cret lies in a care­ful com­bi­na­tion of fold­ing tech­niques, well-con­sid­ered colour block­ing, and some pre­ci­sion shov­ing when needs must (usu­ally on the re­turn leg of a trip when I have overindulged at a local mar­ket; I once man­aged to squeeze a wooden side ta­ble into my bag on a trip to In­dia). My packing knowl­edge trans­ferred seam­lessly when I even­tu­ally moved from trav­el­ling for a fash­ion mag­a­zine to trav­el­ling for a travel mag­a­zine, whether I am packing for a spell in a frosty win­ter won­der­land or an is­land es­cape in the trop­ics. Granted there are now fewer heels and a few more Con­verse sneak­ers in the mix, and the gems have been re­placed with more bud­get-con­scious baubles, but the ba­sics are the same. So, if you crave the free­dom of fly­ing in and flit­ting out of an air­port with­out watch­ing a pro­ces­sion of her­nia-in­duc­ing cases go­ing around a lug­gage carousel, try th­ese packing hacks: There are those who sub­scribe TO ROLL OR FLAT-PACK? to the rolling method of packing, but us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of rolling and IKEA-wor­thy flat packing is ac­tu­ally best. The se­cret is to utilise ev­ery inch of space: un­der­wear gets rolled and squeezed into the cor­ners of a soft bag or down the mid­dle re­cess of a hard-shell suit­case; ball up socks and pack them into shoes, which then go around the edge of the case; skirts should be folded di­ag­o­nally, trousers hor­i­zon­tally, but only once, then lay­ered;T-shirts are folded hor­i­zon­tally too. And choose ac­ces­sories you can wear on the plane. a be­spoke tai­lor in Shang­hai FOR­GET SUIT CARRIERS; as­sured me that jack­ets will re­tain their shape if they are folded in on them­selves so that the lin­ing is on the out­side and the arms are tucked in­side; then fold hor­i­zon­tally once. and stick to it: ev­ery­thing CHOOSE A COLOUR PALETTE can then be mixed and matched re­quir­ing fewer shoes and ac­ces­sories. My go-to colours are black, white and red. : hang clothes up as DON’T IRON BE­FORE YOU LEAVE soon as you ar­rive and email ahead to re­quest an iron. in your room in­stead of USE TOI­LETRIES PRO­VIDED packing them, and don’t take them home; they’ll just take up room in your bag, and in your bath­room cup­board.

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