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10 Packing Tips From a Professional Organizer

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The Audrey Rolling Travel Tote by Mark and Graham, via Mark and Graham

Sarah Nelson is the Chicago-based professional organizer we introduced you to this morning. The founder of Less is More, Nelson happens to know a thing or two about getting organized to get out of town. So, we asked her for her 10 best-practice packing tips. Read on to learn what you should always pack first, which fabrics fly best, and which carry-on suitcase wins best in class (or, as the case may be, cabin.)

1. "Be intentional when packing your suitcase. Rather than trying to pack your closet and bring a completely different outfit for each day, aim to create an edited, multifunctional wardrobe."

2. "Plan your travel wardrobe by first laying out all the clothes and accessories you think you will want to wear. Use the floor or your bed to spread everything out."

3. "Select bottoms whose colors and styles are versatile enough to be worn with a variety of tops. Solids in neutral colors work best. Make sure tops can also be worn with more than one bottom. Also consider fabric. Heavier fabrics like denim and jersey will look better right out of the suitcase than will silk."

4. Create outfits from this selection. Select only accessories, including shoes, that will do double duty. Try on outfits to make sure it all works together."

5. "Pack shoes first, as they are heaviest. To save space, socks can be tucked into shoes."

6. "Since toiletries can be bulky and heavy, pack only the essentials. If you find you have forgotten something, more likely than not you can purchase it at your destination. Put bottles that could leak in Ziploc bags. The Highland Knot Perfect Travel Case by Serena and Lily is a stylish way to contain toiletries."

7. "If you are checking a bag and bringing a carry on, put heavy items, like shoes, in the checked bag to lighten the load you have to walk through the airport. The Audrey Rolling Travel Tote by Mark and Graham (pictured above) is a smart standout from the rest of the carry-on suitcase pack."

9. "Keep large carry-on totes organized by putting smaller items in pencil pouches. Some of my favorites include the nylon Barcelona Zippered Pouch by International Arrivals or the Montauk Perfect Clutch by Serena and Lily."

10. "Don't forget to pack an extra bag for bringing home gifts or souvenirs. The Go!Sac Duffle is a full size bag that conveniently folds into itself to store as a small zippered pouch."
· Less is More Organizers [Official Site]
· Mark and Graham [Official Site]
· Serena & Lily [Official Site]