May 26, 2024
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Organized and Clutter Free: What’s in Your Suitcase?

It’s the beginning of July and your travel reservations have been confirmed. You called the Star Ledger, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal to cease delivery during your absence, as well as contacted the Post Office to hold your mail while you are away. Congratulations, you got through all the planning for your vacation. Now what? It’s time to pack the dreaded suitcase.

In my past corporate life, I did a lot of business travel all over the United States to locations outside of my time zone and season. I learned the hard way to never check a bag. Twice I arrived at my business destination and my suitcase was still in Newark or LaGuardia. In both cases I was in big cities that were serviced by our regional airports so I was able to receive my delayed bags by dinnertime.

Some travelers are not so lucky. A couple of years ago, I met a colleague in Boston for a one-day meeting. I flew up in the morning and returned home later that same day. She decided to fly up the night before so she could get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our big client meeting. It turns out her suitcase never made it on her flight and it ended up being delivered in the wee hours of the morning. The airline promised to get the suitcase delivered to her hotel within a reasonable amount of time. It was delivered at 3 a.m. Since she had none of her clothing or beauty products, all she could do was wait in her room for the front desk to alert her that her suitcase had arrived.

Mostly everything I know about packing for business travel I learned from the George Clooney character from the movie Up in the Air. If you have not seen this movie, I will briefly describe a wonderful scene that took place in an airport terminal with George Clooney and his travelling companion (played by Anna Kendrick). She is schlepping along behind him with her clumsy suitcase that needs to be checked. George is strutting along the terminal with his compact 360 suitcase. At one point he insists that she open her suitcase and he is astounded by what he finds. For example, he pulls out a full-size pillow and he makes her toss it in the garbage. He then goes on to lecture her about how to get through the security line quickly by following tourists and business travelers who are wearing slip on shoes.

After seeing that movie, I immediately went out and purchased a 360 suitcase and completely changed my style of packing for travel. My gels and lotions are stored in approved 3-oz. plastic bottles and fit into a quart-sized bag. I am prepared to remove the quart-sized bag from my personal bag and place it in a bin so it can be scanned and examined if needed. Many times I see travelers slip off their flip flops and walk barefoot through the security line. Personally, I would not do that because I admit that I am a bit germ phobic and the thought of all those bare feet walking on those floors is a bit of a turn-off.

I plan my reading material for the flight so it’s stored in an easy-access pocket in my luggage. Before I hoist my bag into the overhead bin, I take my books or magazines out and put them in the seat back pocket. My handbag serves as my personal bag, and that goes on the floor in front of my seat for ease of access.

During a recent trip to Los Angeles for the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Expo, I brought very lightweight dresses that pack easily and do not require ironing. I had one pashmina shawl that I used on the plane to keep me warm, and I layered it during the day as the room temperatures dictated.

Most important tip, enjoy the trip and your travelling companions. And when you call home to speak with your loved ones, tell them that you love them.

Happy Organizing!

For more information about Eileen Bergman go to www.eileenbergman.com or check out her profile on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/eileenbergman/. Eileen is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®).

By Eileen Bergman

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