Updated on September 4, 2016
Updated on September 4, 2016
I have a pet peeve that I know is totally trivial and shouldn’t annoy me, but it just does. It’s essentially this: for some unexplainable reason, I have always been kind of annoyed by “how to pack” articles that include the little bit about “rolling instead of folding” and things like that. I know, I know, it’s totally trivial. I warned you.
But today, I finally discovered why these articles annoy me.
As I was glancing over this infographic about packing efficientlty (HT: TravelBloggerBuzz), I realized that these articles are annoying to me because all the little details that are helpful for packing more things into your bag, are actually unhelpful for unpacking and repacking frequently, a necessary part of pretty much all of my travels. In other words, these tips may be great for someone who needs to pack once, unpack once, and then stay put somewhere for a long period of time before repacking and heading home.
But for someone hotel hopping, it’s just not helpful. At least not in my opinion.
For those of you who don’t know, that’s when you roll your clothing like a sleeping bag instead of folding it.
Intended result: Pack your clothing more tightly and fit more in! Also avoid wrinkles!
My result: No noticeable increase in space and clothing is a disorganized mess after just two days of needing to actually use or access any of the articles of clothing. Also…lots more wrinkles.
Why? Maybe I suck at rolling my clothes. But rather, I think that shuffling through a stack of folded shirts is less mess-making than shuffling through an assembly line of rolled up clothes. For whatever reason, I just find that actually accessing items in my bag causes less disorganization to a plain old folded stack than it does to a little bundle of rolled up stuff.
And I have no idea why, but my clothes always end up more wrinkled if I roll them. This is probably my fault, but I take half an hour to repack during a hotel transition as it is. I am not going to add ten minutes to that process just so that I can make sure my clothing rolls are chipotle-grade.
Intended result: Again, more space!
My result: I’ll admit, these are a good idea if you need to pack a coat that you will not actually need to wear most of the time. Otherwise, it’s just tedious and time consuming.
Hotel hopping is entropy at work. Everything will move towards chaos within your bag as your travel time goes on. I guarantee it. The nicely rolled shirts and jeans will fit snug as a bug on day one, but as you use these items, unpack them, repack them, or (heaven forbid) as you purchase items to add to that nicely packed bag, it will turn into a mess.
Ultimately, the best advice I can possibly give regarding packing, is to be space efficient in an entirely different way. Instead of using your space efficiently by packing things to their smallest, most tediously compacted size, do so by choosing truly versatile articles of clothing, and leaving out anything you won’t need.
Or to put it another way: Don’t pack smart by fitting a lot into a little space, (because as much time and attention as you put into packing it the first time will be the amount of time and attention you have to put into it each and every time.) Instead, pack smart by selecting your items wisely and minimizing as much as possible. That is attention you won’t have to repeat every time you change hotels or hop on a flight. You do that once when you leave home and don’t worry about it again until your next trip.