Have you ever noticed the difference between the perfect, tidy order of your suitcase when you leave your home for a trip and the complete chaos you find when you open it at the end of your journey?
If you have, you’re probably on the lookout for ways that can easily maintain organization while you travel. And there is a secret hack that can help: You can use monogramming in non-traditional ways to label the organizers you put inside your luggage, like your toiletry bags.
The trick to creating a label system that works is that it needs to match the way you think about what you’ve packed. One of these ideas might be the one that can work for you.
Packing cubes are a terrific way to fit more in your suitcase, keep your gear organized, and to prevent creases and wrinkles in your clothes. They only have one downside — because they hide what’s packed inside and they tend to all look alike, you can find yourself opening and closing cubes, again and again, to get to the specific item you need when you’re dressing for the day.
Personalizing your packing cubes so they label the type of thing that’s inside—say, dressy clothes, socks, flannel pajamas or underwear—makes it easy to see at a glance what you’ll find when you open it.
If you’re sharing a suitcase with someone else — or packing for kids who are sharing one bag — a traditional monogram with initials, can be an ideal way to keep each person’s gear separate from the rest. Pack clothing in canvas totes with the owner’s name on the outside. This will make finding what each person needs rather quickly when you get to where you’re going.
For ultra-organized travelers, the kind of people who plan their vacation wardrobe day-by-day as they are packing, a personalized packing cube or drawstring bag that notes the day you’re supposed to wear what’s inside—either by day of the week (e.g., “Monday,” “Tuesday,”) or by day of the trip (e.g., “Day 1” and “Day 2”) — can help you make the most of all that pre-travel thinking you’ve done.
Each morning, simply grab the item with today’s label on it, and you’ll have everything you need — right down to your socks — to make morning prep time go more smoothly.
If you’re traveling somewhere that has unpredictable weather—maybe temperatures rise and fall fast, or rain and/or snow happens swiftly— you might not be able to say when you’ll be wearing specific outfits. But you can label your gear to say why.
Pack all your rainy-day outfits and your rain jacket in one cube, for instance, and all the things you need for hot and sunny days in another. That way, after a quick peek at the forecast (or out the window) you’ll be able to access the right clothing for the day with ease.
When you participate in activities during a trip that requires you to pack a lot of specific gear (things like hiking, skiing, or scuba diving), you might opt to label everything that works together—say, “clothes for hiking” or “tennis gear” with a bag that indicates its use.
This can be an especially handy idea when you’re traveling with a lot of tech gear. For example, you might want to group the gear and accessories for a single piece of equipment in a fanny pack with a monogram that says which camera, phone, or tablet it goes with.
Ask anyone who tends to wear a single color a lot—telling similar clothing apart when it’s all packed up in a suitcase is really hard. Don’t believe it? Just try to distinguish between a long-sleeved black turtleneck and a short-sleeved black turtleneck without unfolding them when they’re folded in your luggage.
You can get around this “I’ll have to unfold it to know” dilemma by making sure your packing cube or tote says what type of object is inside. You can name the actual clothing (e.g., black cashmere turtleneck), or you can highlight the most relevant aspect of the pieces inside, like “long-sleeve tops,” or “V-neck sweaters.” It’ll make finding what you need faster, and keep everything you’ve packed folded just a little longer.
Another easy way to make your labels work for you is to designate a place — whether it’s in several packing cubes or a small duffel bag and label it as the place for the clothing you’ve already worn.
This makes it easy to know where to put things at the end of the day, and it has the added benefit of keeping clothes that may have picked up dirt, dust, or odors along the way from spreading them to the clothes you haven’t worn yet.
Ultimately, which system you choose for labeling your clothing isn’t important. It’s finding the way that makes your days on the road neater and easier that counts.