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May 05.13

Packing 101

Posted In: LUSH Life

LUSH is a global business, and our North American branch of the family tree covers Honolulu to Halifax, and Prince George to Miami.

There is a lot of ground to cover - and just as much water! Many LUSH professionals travel widely and for as many various reasons as you might imagine…and then some. As well, LUSH events might call for any number of costumes, or at least wigs and other gag finery not to mention props, ingredients, and random materials; as a LUSH Trainer for over 7 years, I had all sorts of unusual, precious or just downright outrageous items packed in (and out- by security-) of my suitcases.

Good packing became an occupational requirement for me. Years of planning my self-expression into carry-on-sized collections for particular events have honed a few tried-and-true favorite packing tips. I use them for trips ranging from overnight to over-the-globe, and time and again they come in handy. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

Know Thyself, And Thy Destination

Where are you going and what do you need while you’re there? Sounds simple enough, but if you’ve ever lugged clunky shoes around you never wore while away, a moment’s reflection now can save additional baggage fees later. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require understanding your bare essentials for personal style, as well as possessing a clue about where you are going. The first one can take years to get right, but thankfully for the second one at least, there’s an app for that.

Let’s go back to the first point - the bare essentials you need to enjoy the trip.

• Gather up the components of the outfits you need. I like to choose a color palette to work in, so things are complimentary to each other and easy to mix and match.

• Put your imagined outfits together, for the occasions you have to attend. This is where you can have a lot of fun. Add a bit of music, a tasty drink, and even company from a good friend can turn this task into a blast.

• Each piece in your outfits should have a specific purpose, and at least one other use. I call these Chameleon pieces, since they adapt to wherever you go with a few tweaks. Here’s one of my favorite Chameleon dresses to travel with. Key characteristics of a Chameleon piece are its comfort, versatility, and pack-ability. Aside from being low-maintenance cotton, this dress has an easy A-line that plays well with others: In colder weather, I pack a striped tee to wear underneath, and pair it with leggings and boots. Or knot a white collared shirt at the waist. Or toss on as-is with a jean jacket and Mary Jane’s... You get the picture!

• Pay attention to fabrics and features that can save you space, too. I am rarely without my Patagonia jacket because it provides the perfect non-bulky layer of warmth. If I don’t wear it while traveling, it gets tucked inside itself, (a genius design perk), and used as a travel pillow on the plane.

• Toiletries can be the easiest thing to over pack! Before you even start packing, take a few minutes to select the ones that can get you through. Use small containers to take enough for what you need without adding bulk. Choose products that have multiple uses - No Drought works as my dry shampoo and on-the-road deodorant, for example, while Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipsticks and LUSH Lip Tints work great for color on cheeks, too. And there is no end to the uses for products like Ultrabalm, a must-have on any of my trips.

PRO TIP: What you wear to get there is just as important as what you pack! Count the outfit and shoes you are wearing when you are on the move as part of your overall wardrobe for the trip. It’s a great time to wear other Chameleon clothing like yoga pants that double as pajamas or a pair of jeans you can wear a few times. Wear anything bulky, like boots or your starlet sunhat on your way there. Don’t travel with precious jewelry, but if you do, stash it close to you in your carry-on, or just wear it there!

It’s All In The Bag You Choose

This is my vintage American Tourister. This bag only travels on weekend car trips - anything without wheels or a sturdy shoulder strap isn’t coming on a plane with me. This is perfect for anywhere a lot of walking around isn’t involved, like a weekend at a lake house. Size-wise, it’s the same as a large tote bag.

For anything involving a boarding pass, forgo fashion for function and make sure you can walk with it comfortably. One thing a lot of people overlook in packing: How much room is needed for the return home? Leave additional room for mementos gathered en route, or tuck a collapsible tote into your bag to fill with your booty later. If you have serious shopping on the agenda, pack your items into a bag, and then pack that bag itself into a slightly larger, empty one.

PRO TIP: Once your trip is through, and you’ve unpacked (a whole other story), sprinkle a bit of your favorite dusting powder in your suitcase. Leave it for a few minutes to help absorb any dirty laundry odors, and then wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth and air dry. You’ll be a step ahead for your next fabulous trip.

Packing It All In--Step by Step

Once you’ve honed in on your specifics, and your bag is ready to be filled - there is still some strategy at play. Start by preparing your items:

• Some people might advise folding certain items like collared shirts, but I roll everything. It’s easier to maneuver and fit into pockets of space snuggly. Anywhere a pressed shirt is required likely has an iron where you’re staying.

• Bag up shoes to separate from your clean clothes. I re-use bags from a bed sheet set, with a drawstring top that fits several pairs nicely. Tuck any socks you bring into your shoes to maximize space. Fancy shoes deserve their own bag to avoid scuffs.

• Perfumes and jewels hitch rides in old LUSH black pots, and can also be wrapped up in a scarf. Remembering the multi-purpose rule, scarves are excellent multi-taskers for the wardrobe, and can be folded around individual pieces and tucked neatly away in the edge of a suitcase or bundled up and nestled between rolled clothes, cushioning jewelry.

• Now all you have to do is put it in the bag! Build a base at the bottom of the bag, a foundation layer for other items. Bagged shoes should be tucked as compactly as possible into corners or side. If you have a tote bag, tuck them into a bottom corner. Other foundation layer candidates are bulky items like sweaters, pajamas, or a coat.

• Build up another layer with smaller items. Fill gaps with your bundled underwear, swim suit, or belt. Tuck in black pots containing your treasures, and coil your rolled scarf around the edge, or into another pocket of space. Anything else essential to your travels, find a spot for as you move upward in your layers. If you are traveling with anything liquid, add it to the TOP-most layer, for accessibility.

PRO TIP: If your bag has bars that lie horizontally inside the lining, lie items in between - not across them. This creates even more space in the foundation layer.

Effiecient packing will save time and angry fist-shaking later. When your getaway is underway, time is precious. Getting to where you are going is often not the highlight of any trip, but by not lugging around extra stuff you won’t need once there, your trip is already off to a good start!