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March 17, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The good news is that you’re going on a trip. The bad news is that you have to pack for it. Because nobody likes sitting on top of a suitcase in an attempt to shut it, and you don’t want to pay overweight luggage fees, travel and organizational professionals have come together to share some of their tips and tricks to making the most complicated part of travel simple.
Pack a lot of neutral-colored clothing so that you can mix and match and minimize the number of shoes you need to bring. (Don’t overdo it, though. The all-black look only works for Ozzy.) — Janine Adams, certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing
You’re not the only person who dreads packing. Check out these websites to get the lowdown on outsmarting your suitcase.
Minimus.biz: If you need it, they have it ... in travel size.
OneBag.com: It’s all about traveling light.
TheContainerStore.com: These organizers are a great way to store your electronics and cords.
TravelSmith.com: This site has invaluable items in the packing world, including compression bags, toiletry kits and packing lists.
FlyLady.net: If you’re really struggling with packing and organization, check out the Fly Lady’s Control Journal for a step-by-step process to get you ready.
Pack your clothes for the last day of the trip at the bottom of the suitcase, and work your way up. — Tracy Hoth, professional organizer and owner of Simply Squared Away
Fold your clothes, and wrap them in separate plastic bags to minimize wrinkles. — Kimberly Williams, organizing consultant and owner of Order Extraordinaire
Use your shoes to pack socks or liquids (only if you’re checking the bag). Wrap socks around good shoes for protection, or even put the shoes in the socks. — Deana Crouch, assistant vice president of leisure sales for Great Southern Travel
Pack valuables, such as jewelry and cameras, in your carry-on. Checking valuables can be risky and potentially costly if your luggage is lost or stolen. — Ty Edwards, professional organizer and owner of All Things in Place
Have a beauty case that is always packed so that you don’t have to worry about toiletries every time you travel. Refill your case with toiletries from the hotel. (Just make sure it’s free or be ready to run.) — Williams
Take laundry bags from the hotel to pack your dirty clothes and hotel shower caps to cover your shoes. (Even a Stepford wife would not want to do laundry on vacation.) — Adams
Don’t forget chargers for your electronic devices. A surge protector for the hotel is a good idea, too. —Edwards
Pack an extra outfit in your carry-on if you check a bag, just in case your checked bag is lost. — Hoth