I’ve finally unpacked! It only took me….a month.
It’s not that it was difficult – I just wanted to procrastinate. Unpacking would mean that I’ve ‘settled in’ and I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet. When I finally rolled up my sleeves, I realized it was actually pretty easy. I don’t own that much stuff anymore! I give all the credit of an expedited un-pack to these vibrant packing cubes! Can I get a round of applause, please?
Getting organized before you need to organize!
While planning my trip to Asia, I cornered one of my well-traveled coworkers for his ‘pro tips’. First thing out of his mouth was “get packing cubes”. Don’t tell anyone, but I had to go Google what those were later on. I’d never heard of packing cubes before! He said that I’d thank myself while I was on the road.
Since these weren’t too expensive, and I hold my friend in high esteem, I went for it. Daniel was right – I’m so glad I did.
You know how it is – especially the ladies. You have a bag or a purse that you carry around, right? Even though you don’t put anything in there except your wallet, phone and keys, over it time it magically gets infested with dirty gnomes that seem to never pick up after themselves! A few weeks later you’re all like “where did all these receipts/gum wrappers/suckers/extra keys/small animals come from?!?!”
This problem does not go away while you’re traveling. In fact, it gets worse.
The pockets of my bag were constantly cluttered with all kinds of things. Random coins from countries I haven’t been in for months, small papers, beetles, chopsticks, notes to myself, receipts in languages I can’t read – it was madness! (not Sparta)
Until you live out of a backpack, it doesn’t really sink in how many times you grab things throughout the day. When you have all of your possessions in one place, you realize that you reach for chapstick 100x/day (that might just be me though), have to touch your passport 4x/day to make sure it’s still there, and need to change your underwear 3x/day (so hot in Asia).
There is A LOT of getting in and out of your backpack. Instead of rummaging through the darkest depths of a mussed up pack, I simply pulled out the packing cube that I needed. Voila! There was my item.
Don’t just take my word for it
Within the first two weeks of being on the road, I knew the packing cubes were a smart investment. By the time I got to Singapore, I may have been taking them for granted. Until one night, I was sitting in my bunk, and this girl comes up to me (this happens to me a lot). “Can I ask you about your orange bags? Did you get them on Amazon?”
In fact, I did! She had looked at the exact same ones, and was going to purchase them herself. But, because she was only traveling for two weeks, she held off. How bad could it be for two weeks?
She wanted to know if I was glad I got them and about the quality. Were they ripping? Do the zippers work okay? Was the mesh tearing or picking? These were better questions than I had asked before I made the purchase myself lol!
I let her inspect them, explaining that I was very happy with them so far. The mesh is high quality, zippers work great and they have been soooo helpful to have along with me. She agreed they looked top notch, and confessed that she regretted not buying them. Keeping her pack organized has been a struggle, even for “just a two week trip”. She then thanked me, and went back to reading her book.
I went back to watching Harry Potter, feeling smug that I was so well prepared.
How to use the cubes
I organized my organizers because I’m a nerd like that:
- Smallest Cube: Toiletries (medicine, deodorant, sunscreen etc)
- Medium Cube: Scarves, bandannas, headlamp, extra sunglasses and other things I wouldn’t need to get to very often
- Medium-Large Cube: Bras, undies, socks, bath towel, and thigh-saving Bandelettes
- Large Cube: Shorts, shirts, skirts and dresses
- Drawstring Bag: Dirty laundry / wet clothes
Having this system was such a time, and sanity, saver. Again, instead of digging for days, I just had to pull out the right sized bag. From there, it was always a snap to find what I was looking for!
Between you and me, my favorite one of these was the drawstring bag (though I swear I love all my cubes equally). My mom and grandma always put dirty or wet clothes in plastic bags while we vacationed. Having a dedicated canvas bag was so much better!
Much sturdier, easy identifiable when getting your laundry done, and it held exactly a weeks worth of clothes. This was when I was changing clothes twice a day too because of the heat, mind you! It was also nice to know I could shove my swim suit or bath towel in there without it getting the rest of my stuff wet.
Year Round Cube Use
As I finished unpacking, my cubes laid empty and sad on my bed. Initially, I put all of the small ones into the big one and was going to just leave them in my backpack until the next adventure (South America! more on that later).
As I got more settled at home, I noticed a distinct lack of organization tools available to me. I need a little place for my travel documents, somewhere to put all these extra extension cords, a place to keep my travel things for the next adventure….wait a minute, I’ve got cubes for that!
I bust the cubes back out and they’re now being put to work, like holding fake birds and flowers to wear in my dreads. I love getting your money’s worth out of stuff! 🙂
The cubes that aren’t being used right now are on call for my family’s trip to Amish country in a few weeks, and for my first camping trip of the fall. They better not get used to just sitting around. It’s time they earn their keep!
In closing, if you like to take little trips, or big trips, or short trips, or long trips, or have ever experienced the disorganized-shit blues, I really can’t speak highly enough of these packing cubes.
Added perk: if you lay them, your cat will come.
If you’re thinking this might be good for your next adventure, I’d love it if you’d order them using this little button below. Full disclosure: I’ll get a [small] referral bonus for the sale, but I promise it won’t be enough to go to my head and make me all hoity toity and too good to keep on blogging!
If you do decide to purchase these, please come back and leave a comment about your experience with them for other readers!
What gives you the biggest problems while you’re traveling?