When I first moved back to New York, I inadvertently (and desperately) took a job as a celebrity personal assistant. While I certainly didn’t expect that I’d be tasked with untangling the world’s most delicate medical mysteries during my tenure as the real life Annie Saks to a well known reality starlit, I didn’t anticipate that I’d be acting solely as a professional packer within the confine’s of someone’s closet either. . mostly because… well, I never knew that such a position actually existed.
During my short stint as a professional packer, the stakes were painstakingly high — so much so that the inclusion of one high wasted skinny belt could catalyze a full blown meltdown, prompting me to have to navigate the manic, frenzied circumstances by taking slightly more than my recommended dosage of Xanax and questioning where I went wrong in life heeding the advice of Steve Jobs and ensuring that I made the most out of the experience for the sake of acquiring a new skill set that might one day come in handy.
And so, I became the best pro packer that I could possibly be, ensuring that no garment would ever be haphazardly wrinkled or left behind and that all essentials were pristinely displayed/easily accessible.
At the outset of 2015, I found myself morphing into somewhat of a bonafide globetrotter; as such, I concluded that Jobs was correct in his advice about embracing every opportunity throughout one’s career trajectory with the utmost zealousness. When I’m on a seventeen hour flight to somewhere that’s utterly foreign to me, and I want to ensure that all of my outfits are pre-styled and photo op worthy, a thoughtfully stuffed suitcase affords me the opportunity to use my mental RAM for something that’s decidedly more important – like figuring out where I want to eat, shop, and spa hop upon landing.
After spending a total of, like, twelve days at home in New York since January and professionally packing for the aforementioned reality TV diva upon my initial move back home, friends, this might be the only bit of pragmatic advice that I’m ever able to offer you, but trust me, it works:
1) A mini traveling steamer (which retails at about 30 US Dollars at the Container Store) is unquestionably your new BFF. Despite whatever preventative measures that you choose to take, your items of clothing will emerge at your given destination baring a striking resemblance to Forever 21 sale rack garments, save for a few pieces of Alaia-esque wool, which I’m fairly certain can withstand even the residual effects of trench warfare.
2) Keep two small bags somewhere in your home that are pre-packaged and ready to go at all times. One should be used for the storage of toiletries, while cosmetics can be kept in the other. I use trifold bags that have plastic coated, zippered compartments because I like to see exactly where my products are rather than having to dig around for them in a dark abyss of blushes, bronzers and eyeshadows.
3) Ensure that the boring stuff is always packed first – that is, whatever your hygienic/”I absolutely need this eye makeup remover to feel human” essentials are. When I used to pack for aforementioned celebutante, I would also be tasked with styling her outfits. And although the most important items to include always appeared to be dresses, skinny jeans, bags and shoes (especially due to the fact that paparazzi were sometimes present), truthfully, anyone would be uncomfortable without their basic necessities and a couple of the comforts of home nearby.
4) If you’re a personal style fanatic (which is probably the reason that you’re visiting NoteBrooke.com right now – hello!) pre plan your looks. I always benefit from creating an itemized list of the outfits that I want to photograph and wear in advance; it generally includes a description of the articles of clothing that said look will require (i.e. JBrand shorts, orange/billowy blouse, Panama hat, light brown belt, Chanel flats) and a quickly snapped IPhone pic alongside of that. This list ensures that I won’t have to style, or even think about, what I want to wear while I’m in transit.
5) Carry your largest purse with you on the flight so that your smaller bags/clutches (which should ALL be placed in their original protective coverings) can be stowed in your suitcase instead, consuming less space and thereby avoiding unnecessary bending, creasing and scratching.
6) Hair care products (including but not limited to your hair straightener, curling iron, and blow dryer) should also be placed at the bottom of your suitcase. Not only are these items completely cumbersome, but if you forget any of them at home, well, you don’t need me to tell you that you’ll probably need to turn around and fly back. Kidding! (Kind of?!)
7) The vast majority of the space in your luggage will, by default, be reserved for clothing, so it’s important to ensure that all of your apparel is organized in an orderly, systematic manner (E.G. by color, fabric, or some other logical method which you use as a form of mental compartmentalization). When I travel, I keep all of my denims, linens, and leathers in their own neatly folded sections, stacking them from darks (on the bottom) to lights (on top). By doing this, I can ensure that nothing will be lost and that the process of unpacking takes no more than ten to twelve minutes.
8) Situate your shoes alongside the edges of your bag after everything else is already packed – like slightly oversized pieces to a puzzle. Disclaimer: you’ll probably have to fluff and restructure them to perfection upon landing. Unfortunately, that’s the best I’ve got for you here. There’s no magical way to guarantee that Loubs will remain scuffless after living in a luggage for more than thirty minutes.
9) Bring a separate cloth bag (most suitcases come with one upon purchase) to place your dirty laundry into after its been worn. You’ll want to keep it totally separate from all of your clean goodies, while still ensuring that nothing gets left behind. When you return from vacay, you can simply take that bag and place all of its contents into the wash/send it out to dry cleaning.
10) Make sure that you stop for a shellac mani the day before departure. Trust me on this — it’s the only way to go when in transit.