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Stress-free packing with Marie Kondo

This Japanese decluttering guru has not only brought the "magic of tidying up" into our homes but into our suitcases as well. Her famous KonMari Method really hits the nail on the head when it comes to packing everything you need - and nothing but that - saving space and avoiding creases. Here are some of her tips for packing the perfect suitcase. Take note!

If you're anything like me, you hate - ABSOLUTELY HATE - packing. The only thing that it makes it bearable is the thought that it's a means to a perfect end - travelling - but on at least three occasions I've found myself packing at 2 in the morning because I just couldn't bring myself to do it earlier. A friend told me that what I probably needed was a method, then she said something about a Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method (I'm not making these names up, honest!). It all sounded quite esoteric to me and I was doubtful about whether a Japanese woman would have anything useful to say about packing, but hey, big problems need big solutions.

So I did a little research and this is what I found out about packing "Marie Kondo style".

1. Do it all at once, not in dribs and drabs.

Once you've started, it's best to finish. Otherwise you'll end up wasting time. And it's fine to leave it until the day before because that way you won't be packing things and then having to unpack them because you still need them.

By the way, don't forget to check the permitted baggage dimensions before you start!

2. Sort and group items by category: clothes, technology, accessories, and so on.

Make neat piles of your shoes, personal care products (categorised by type: make-up, toiletries, etc.), underwear and your other clothes grouped into outfits. Then think about the accessories you want to wear with each look and put them on top of the outfits. Last but not least, put all your electronic devices and chargers together.

3. Forget about the "just-in-cases".

Unless you're going to a desert island where you won't be able to get anything you suddenly can't do without, no "just-in-cases"! Once you've got your neat piles, check them again and for each item ask yourself the following question: Does it bring me joy? It might sound daft, but it works!

4. Put everything in little bags, nice and neat.

Place shoes sole to sole, inside a bag; put your toiletries in one or more toiletry bags; your accessories in another little bag; and then your gadgets and wires in another one. This way, things won't get mixed up when you need to take something out.

5. Place everything inside your suitcase.

And now for the moment of truth! Put everything neatly and in order in your suitcase. If you're taking hand luggage as well, you could put your gadgets in that bag to keep them separate from your clothes and toiletries. Oh, and in the case of delicate items of clothing, roll them (like Chinese spring rolls) to avoid creases. It also means that you'll be able to see everything at a glance.

Tip: Leave some extra space. Imagine how disappointed you'll be if you want to bring something back and you can't fit it in!

I hope you find all these little tricks useful. I've learned a lot myself just by writing this post, and I have to admit that the neat freak in me is clapping her hands in joy. And if you want to travel with just a carry-on bag, we'll show you how to do it and not die trying.

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