How to Pack Your Bags the KonMari Way

I am a terrible packer; a certifiable over-packer of all things useless with a penchant for forgetting to pack what I truly need. On a recent weekend trip, I arrived at my destination with no less than five shirts, two dresses, four pairs of leggings, and zero sets of certain unmentionable items. Clearly, I need help.

Having recently discovered Marie Kondo, the renowned tidying expert, best-selling author, and star of the Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, I decided it was time to change up my packing skills. With a beach holiday over Chinese New Year coming up I decided that this time I was going to bring ‘joy’ to my suitcase, and studied up on how to pack the KonMari way (with some trial and error), for my sake and yours. 

Here’s how we can take our suitcases from crazed to tame:

Keep positive. It’s not easy for us unorganised folk to suddenly become organised.

Make a list of what you need. Try to imagine your trip and what you’ll likely be doing.

Make sure you are happy with your suitcase. If you don’t love the package, you probably won’t take care of what’s inside. I ditched my case with the one deep pocket for luggage that has two sides. It makes it so much easier to see everything.

Sidenote: Duffle bags are terrible; you will never find your favourite shorts ever again. 

How to pack your bags the KonMari way
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Read also: The Luxe List: Fendi x Rimowa suitcase

Pack according to the list and only take what brings you joy.  Start by separating everything into the categories on your lists – pants with pants, shirts with shirts etc. Once you have your items together, look at them one by one. Everything that goes into your suitcase should ‘spark joy’. The idea is that you will look into your suitcase and love everything in it.

Don’t bring extra just because you can. This applies to everything from clothes to shoes to toiletries. Eliminate anything you think you “might wear”. We don’t need three extra outfits just in case (unless, of course, you’re dealing with a vomit prone infant or are a mud wrestler) and you certainly don’t need that extra tube of lip balm you once received in a complimentary hotel amenities kit. 

Use pouches and packing cubes to keep things separate. Packing cubes and pouches are so much more useful than I imagined. You can use them for keeping your shoes away from your clothes, and all your chargers and cords neatly tucked away, so they don’t get tangled. Most importantly they keep your toiletries sealed off so that your facial moisturiser doesn’t decide to mate with your socks. 

Packing with Pouches
Photo by Sea of Shoes

Read also: How to pack a capsule holiday wardrobe

Fold your clothes tightly. I admit this was a surprisingly cathartic exercise and I soon found myself organising the rest of my closest. Here is a video on folding with the KonMari method.

Stack your tightly folded clothes. Keep each item upright in your suitcase so that they are all easily visible. Heavier things should be packed closer to the wheels or bottom of your luggage.  I opted to arrange everything in my case by colour because it ‘sparked joy’ in me.

Pro Tip: Leave at least 10% of your bag empty. With your things so well organised, it will be hard to make room for all your ethically-responsible souvenirs if it’s fully packed.

There you have it! The real challenge now is keeping your suitcase this organised!

How do you pack?

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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