If there was a contest for the world's worst packer, I'm confident I'd rank pretty high near the top. At some point, I gave up even trying to get my suitcase to close and started packing the same three outfits anytime I had to go anywhere. For minimalists, that might be great. But for a fashion editor? Not so much. Because if I’m not under-packing, I’m overpacking. I get caught up in the idea of needing options — "What if we go to a nice dinner?" — and the possibility of being stuck without something that matches each and every scenario can feel paralyzing.
So, when I took a week-long trip to Europe last month, I decided to put a few products meant to make my life, my poor suitcase's life, and my packing, easier to the test.
The Roll-&-Go Eyeglasses Case
Disclaimer: I love sunglasses. Probably much more than the average person. Maybe it’s the Southern California girl in me, but my collection is well over 20 pairs. (If you're about to ask whether I wear them all, the answer is yes — and while I don't bring them all when I travel, I still like to have a decent assortment.) Though this glasses organizer from Eyebobs isn't the largest of their bunch (patting myself on the back for a subtle display of restraint), it features a magnetic closure and well-padded outer shell.
One of my concerns, of course, is keeping my sunglasses safe from being squashed and broken while on-the-go. This sleek roll-up pouch cut down on the space glasses cases usually take up, while also offering protection. And if sunglasses aren't your thing, it can be used to store jewelry, too. Oh, and the cute pull-out hanger means prime hotel room organization.
The All-In-One Cosmetics Bag
I'll go ahead and air out my shame. I live in the gross camp of throwing all of my makeup into a large zip-up bag. By the time I reach my destination, there’s often a layer of loose powder and leaking foundation covering everything I own. Yet for some reason, it’s never even crossed my mind to search for a better organizational system. Kusshi caught my attention while doing my weekly rounds through recently-funded indieGogo products (an obsessive thing I like to do to stay up-to-date on the latest product inventions). Not only did it claim to be a revolutionary way of properly organizing all of our crap, but the product was actually cute. The company even makes a mini clutch you can button snap your brush roll into.
Within one trip, however, my two Kusshi bags were used and abused. They were a true space saver both in my suitcase and at my destinations. European bathrooms aren't known for having the most counter space, and having a makeup bag with segmented compartments made for easy access and easy clean-up. The duster sheet over the brushes also helped to keep them as clean as possible for an eight day journey. 10/10 would recommend.
The Mom Travel Wallet
I need to give a quick shout-out to my mom for this one. Please forgive me for the years of ruthlessly mocking the unstylish card-holding lanyards and velcro multi-pocket wallets you wielded on every family trip. I was so very wrong. Are they still far from chic? Yes. But its usefulness triumphs its lack of millennial-approved aesthetics.
My level of organization when it comes to travel documents is at most, inept. There's a lot of hand juggling between holding a passport holder, wallet, necessary pre-flight coffee, and a suitcase or two. To find a resolution, I called my mom. Just kidding, I was too proud to admit I was wrong. So I turned to the next best pillar of advice: Amazon reviews. After obsessing over price points and making a deal with the devil to sacrifice expectations for anything remotely stylish, my cheapskate self won out on this 4-star item. If you’re willing to invest, there are a few cuter options out there (like Bellroy), but my under-$30 buy was good enough.
Did it work? Absolutely. It was like a mini Mary Poppins bag. The staggering amount of zippered-pockets, card slots, and hidden outer compartments made me a believer. My passport holder, bulging wallet, and folder of papers were all able to merge into one easy-to-find place, and never again will I underestimate the power of a wristlet. Hands-free is the way to be.
The Packing Cubes
Packing is a game of stubbornness and sheer will between me and my suitcase, and only the strongest survives. I was very skeptical at first when I came across the "packing cube." In the past, I’ve felt like I’ve tried it all — the rolling method, travel vacuum bags (which I swear have never worked; I always end up with a hole or two), and strategic stacking.
Upon hearing that plain old nylon bags were going to be my fix, I was ready to say pass. I now would like to eat my words. I fell quickly in love with these little guys, because even during the stressful process of packing, I felt so much satisfaction and relief into how much could actually fit into these deceptively small pieces. Everything was capable of being organized into a proper place.
I chose to sort my clothing by type: pants, tops, bras, underwear, and a couple of extra bags for dirty laundry. I'm still trying to wrap be head around how...but they work. My clothes went from looking like multiple bulging piles to being tamed and compressed into these eBags. It’s pure magic.
I never quite realized how much trouble it was to find selective items in my suitcase before, but being sectioned off like this, I was able to slip out one bag at a time without messing up the rest of my packing. Hopping from hostel to hotel to a friend's couch and back again made this a supreme lifesaver.
And voila! The Tetris-packed final product. I think the saying goes: If the cat fits, it sits. And this cat definitely fits.*
*No animals were harmed in the process of trying to close my suitcase.