September 20, 2012

Traveling, Business Woman, Packing Tips and other keywords I'm addicted to...

it has been 4 months and 3 weeks since we moved to our new apartment.  My husband's work area still needs to be organized as I have been focused on my own home office and closets...he rolls his eyes every time I get close to his stuff so it ain't lookin' good...

Japan has been really hot again this summer.  Humidity in the 60s in our apartment was kind of normal and the temperature was on average 30 degrees....IN our apartment...
Yesterday, we caught a cool breeze down here in south western Japan and today, miraculously it has not "rebounded" back to summer...looks like autumn is finally gonna start. (Knock on wood for me will you?)

So, why this post title?
The past 3 years on my current job I've been traveling quite often and already this year since I've moved I've been on some sort of business trip at least twice a month.


I've been organizing what's left in the aftermath of my decluttering...and a lot of things that have been helping me are the awesome videos on youtube and the blogs of some really dedicated organizers.   Some are professional organizers and some are not but I've been pretty successful with finding "help".
My favorite organizer at the moment is Alejandra. You can find her website here:


I thought maybe I could find some cool websites and people who travel a lot on business and will have great organizing tips.

I don't know if my kind of traveling is not normal or whatever...but I can't seem to find the right kind of website.  They are either more vacation oriented packing OR a little drab or basic that I get bored or don't learn anything new OR they are packing tips from guys...who,  no offense guys....pack their shoes WITHOUT putting them in bags...and I'm sorry but that just freaks me out...



that's why I have the weird blog title this time and this is my (lame, I know) version of trying to reach out to people who have similar needs....

Here is my version of packing for a 4 day business trip with one free day in the middle.

Point 1. Bags for everything!

Garment bags (or "packing cubes" depending on the brand you are using) are essential especially if you are traveling by plane.  In the event you have to open your suitcase at customs you DON'T want to have all your clothes POP out (or worse your undies!).  This is not only embarrassing but inconvenient as well because you know it ain't gonna fit back in!

In Japan, I haven't seen the Eagle Creek packing cubes (they might be available but I am too lazy to look) but here we do have MUJI and they have lots of great things for packing.

If you don't travel that much and don't want to invest in a garment bag then get  big plastic Ziploc bags or even a pillowcase will do!

Point 2. No wrinkles with crinkles!

That doesn't make any sense but I wanted it to rhyme so, by "crinkles" I mean Tissue Paper for your clothes that you don't want to get wrinkled. (Mine are crinkly now because I've been reusing them.)

When you fold a blouse or shirt (please do not roll) place a sheet of tissue (the kind you get when you buy a shirt) like so:
This will keep your shirt from getting too wrinkly.  I went on my last business trip via train.  My clothes stayed packed for only about 6 hours and they came out with hardly any wrinkles this way.
*I usually don't worry about my t-shirts and will roll them without tissues..the same goes for my PJs/yoga clothes which brings me to...

Point 3: If you need to take PJs with you have something that is compact!

Depending on the time of the year I will take a t-shirt and shorts or a pair of super thin pants.
Recently I found a super pair at MUJI (no i do not work for MUJI, I am just a little obsessed):
they are 75 percent nylon and 25 percent polyurethane (?!) and they are perfect for sleeping in and doing a bit of stretching/yoga.

I checked the global MUJI site but couldn't find anything that looked this pair...but any pair of yoga pants or that type of pants will suffice...the key is that they are comfortable and that you can roll them up reaaaaaally save space.  You don't want your PJs to take up space on a business trip, that's just silly.

Point 3: Use those nooks and crannies wisely!

My regular suitcase is 46cm tall 17cm "deep" and 32cm wide.  It is small enough to go in overhead compartments on the trains here in Japan AND of course small enough to be a carry-on on any flight.

The handlebars are built into the suitcase so the outside is smooth but the inside is not flat where the handlebars are:
So use those spaces by fitting in things that can be rolled, like towels, handkerchiefs, socks or PJs!

In the upper left hand corner I have a MUJI bag that has all of my on the go office supplies (tape, glue, paperclips, extra biz cards etc.)

going clockwise....the white and black plastic bag has a towel and 4 handkerchiefs.

the clear plastic bag has my t-shirt and MUJI PJ pants AND a scarf.

the colorful bag has all my cords and chargers for my iPhone, iPad and Blackberry
as well as my WI-FI and its charger.

the last baggy on the lower left hand corner is:

an extra pair of shoes...again....from MUJI but there should be other brands that do something like this IF NOT, then flats with their soles together IN A PLASTIC BAG will be fine.

I am not a major shoe person...I don't have a gazillion shoes although I understand why many people do...I generally go on business trips with my black or brown business pumps (well they are more like flats as I can't walk in high heels).  This pair was for a day I had to wear casual clothes to an event and my black shoes would not have gone well with the beige pants I was wearing.

Once you've filled in the spaces between the handlebars (if that's the kind of suitcase you have) then you can finally start filling up with things that you want to keep leveled, like papers and delicate clothes etc.

I forgot to take a picture of the "finished product" but I had another business trip in between my draft so here is what the second layer looks like:

This was on my way home when I wasn't going to need my scheduler and some papers.
The Cath Kidston bag contains all my toiletries.

Then in goes the garment bag with all of my delicates and slacks:
and on top are my papers and ANOTHER pair of the same pants from MUJI (because I just like them so much now) that I bought at the last minute... see how small it rolls up?!

Believe it or not it all fit, yes I was able to zip up my suitcase with no problem!  
The only other bag I carried was my business tote bag with my PC, a scarf, makeup bag, first aid kit, wallet and notebook.

OK...that was long and I apologize...I might think about becoming a "Youtuber" the next time to hopefully explain my packing system a bit easier but have no idea if there are other business travelers or vacationers out there that would be interested in that sort of thing...

And now for a quick look at my small closet and how I organize at home which actually makes packing easier for me too:

The stripes are from the curtain I put in place of the accordion doors that were just annoying...
I fold and place sticky notes so that I know from where goes what...(thinking about changing to pretty index cards).
The yellow and blue stripes on the right are my scarves.  They are on a rod that I also placed in my closet so that I could use every bit of space I have in there.

Scarves and pashminas are must haves when you are on a train or airplane because it can get chilly no matter what time of the year!

Maybe not a general topic about living in Japan but thank you for reading and
happy travels whether you are a road warrior or a commuter!


donna baker said...

Sounds like you have it down to a science. Only thing I do different, is to pack my things I don't want wrinkled individually in plastic dry cleaner bags. This does help immensely.

Frances said...

Tulsa, every time I see a post from you, I know that I will soon be reading something special.

MUJI...I am also a big fan. I love their pencil/pens, graph paper tablets, and various plastic storage containers with moving drawers. We are lucky to have their shops here in New York.

I like all your travel packing tips. Before I ever begin to pack, I always want to make that important decision, which shoes will I wear, and will it be possible to pack only only one more pair? I always want to minimize the volume and weight of what's going into that suitcase!

My apartment's clothes closet is filled with black clothing, and so I use various colored plastic hangers to sort of keep the different styles easier to find in a hurry. My other tip is to only keep clothes that I wear a lot. Anything that doesn't seem to get much attention or wear gets promptly donated to a neighborhood charity thrift shop.

Travel light, travel well, travel safely. xo

I_am_Tulsa said...

Donna, Thank you, for the tip! I think the individual plastic dry cleaner bag is a great idea! I will try this with a dress or my suit the next time since I don't have tissue paper big enough for those kinds of clothes.

Frances, Muji plastic storage and their pens are some of my favorites husband is afraid to go to Muji with me Because I can't stop chucking things into the basket...

And minimizing what goes into the suitcase is IMPORTANT isn't it? I have seen some good websites that talk about that but they are so basic and no fun at all to read and them some of them are all for guy stuff...

I love your idea with the hangers! I took a more colorful angle of my closet but if you look closely it is mostly, navy blue, beige and black.

I'm so glad I posted this, I got some awesome new ideas to try out!

iffatali said...

Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.
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Lucas O'Doherty said...

Impressive packing tips! Rolling items to save space is such a practical idea. Thank you so much for sharing.