It’s that time of year once more. We’ve saved up our time and money, the kids are about to explode with excitement and the call of the open road it tickling your ears. So, we load up our luggage, we cram in the beach toys or camping gear, fill up our bellies and empty our bladders.
One of the biggest headaches in prepping for any vacation tends to be the packing process. By the time you’ve decided exactly what you want to bring you find that you didn’t have as much space as you first thought. In this installment, I’m going to share some packing tips that will not only save you an immense amount of space, but they will also help you get more life out of your garments. These techniques have been tested and proven by Sailors for decades. If we can cram months worth of clothing and uniforms into a small bag and live off of them for months, then using them to get your family on the road for a couple of weeks will be a cinch.
(For plain white tees and printed tees) Lay the tee-shirt face up and flat on your bed or floor. Make sure that you smooth out the wrinkles and get the sleeves flat on your folding surface. Fold the sleeves into the chest of the shirt and crease. Next, take the top of the shirt and fold it all down to the nipple line of the tee. This should be roughly 1/3 of the full shirt. Next, take the portion that you just folded, and fold it down again so that it’s even with the bottom of the tee. It should now be a long narrow slip. Using your right hand, give the center a good karate chop, and fold the left half over the right. Turn it so that the final folded crease faces the bottom. Stow it away with the crease facing you. Stack as needed.
For Printed tees, just do the exact same steps as above, but start with the front of the tee-shirt face down. This way when it’s folded, you can still see the print to know which tee it is.
Shorts, Boxers and Boxer-Briefs:
Lay the shorts face up on your folding surface. Fold the left half over the right half. Line up your edges (We call this ‘dressing your edges’). Fold the bottom half up to the waistline. Stow with the crease facing you.
Tighty-Whiteies and Women’s undies:
Lay them flat on your folding surface. Fold the crotch up to the waistline. Dress the edges. Fold the left half over the right half. Stow in a stack with the crease facing you.
Lay the garment flat and face up in front of you. Fold the left sleeve over to meet the right sleeve. Dress your edges. The shirt will be folded in half long-way at this point. Next, fold the sleeves into the chest of the shirt. Then fold the top third of the shirt down to the middle of the garment. Finally, fold the bottom third of the shirt up over the top to be even with the crease. Stow with the creases facing you. Long sleeve shirts and dress shirts can be folded in the same manner.
Jeans and slacks:
Lay the pants down face up in front of you. Fold the left half over the right half. Dress our edges on the right side. Fold the leg cuffs up to the right side, and dress all edges again. Fold the excess material on the left side in so that the left edge lines up with the legs. Finally, fold the bottom half up to the top seam. Stow with the creases facing you.
Start by laying one sock on top of the other so that all edges are dressed off. Next, grab the toe portion of both socks, and hold them up in front of you. Roll the socks from the toe portion down tightly until you reach the open ends. Grab the open end of the outer sock and use it to cover the whole roll. You should be able to turn the sock roll over and see a crease that looks like a smile. Stow smilies up in rows.
Lay the towel out flat in front of you long-way. Take the left portion and fold it in a third to the center. Do the same to the right portion. The left and right edges of the towel should now be meeting in the center of the towel. Next, fold the left third over the right, and dress your edges on the right side. You should now have a long slender strip. Fold the top third down toward the center. Fold the bottom third up toward the center. Again, the top and bottom edges of the towel should now be facing each other in the center. Karate chop the center of the towel between the edges, and fold the towel in half. Stow with the crease facing you.
By using these time-tested techniques, you and your family should be able to cut your packing space down by 30-50%, and extend the life of your garments by a year or two. Now, find a copy of ‘Holiday Road’ from the National Lampoon’s Vacation soundtrack, crank up the volume and get to work. You’ve got an adventure awaiting!
That is Lindsay Buckingham and Chrissy from Fleetwood Mac on that tune, by the by. Safe travels. Fair winds and following seas, mates!