Fashion Maven: Packing light, but packing right

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There’s nothing like packing, to get you excited for vacation. Okay, I know it’s not exactly vacation time right now, but we probably all wish it was.
Even though it’s off-season, so to speak, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, just in case you may all of a sudden be going on vacation to Hawaii in the dead of October. You know, just in case.  
When I go on vacation, the thing that stresses me out is the packing. I am definitely an obsessive-compulsive packer. What if I need this, what if I need that? It takes me forever to pack and in the end, I always bring way too many clothes with me. And you know me, I love to shop no matter where I am.
After a five-week vacation, I don’t even end up wearing half the clothes I took with me, and I don’t have enough room for all of the new clothes I bought. I end up having to buy a second suitcase for everything and that’s just a pain.
I know that I will never be able to buy fewer clothes on vacation, so I have resorted to bringing fewer with me from home. The key to traveling light is packing efficiently, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
The most important tip is to take only what you need for the amount of time you are on vacation. Always ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Be reasonable about this. Girls, you do not need 10 bikinis for a 10-day vacation in Hawaii.
After you’ve sorted out what to bring, it’s time to pack it. The most helpful, and definitely most space-saving tip, is to roll all of your clothes and place all of the little rolls horizontally at the bottom of the suitcase in rows. This is always fun for me because in the end, I have one T-shirt left and look like an idiot, trying squeeze it between all of the other rolled T-shirts. It works, though, and if you end up having two layers of rolled clothes you can put any fragile things —like seashells — in-between the rolls. They act as lovely cushions.
Don’t forget that you can also roll your jeans. Just fold the two legs on top of each other and roll them, starting at the bottom of the leg.
Socks and underwear should always come last and can fill in any cracks or air bubbles left in your packing scheme. Don’t forget that shoes always take up quite a bit of room, and that it is best to keep each pair in a plastic bag.
I also find the key to packing light is also to plan certain outfits for the vacation. Bring versatile pieces that are easy to match with a few other pieces that you are packing, so that you can create many different outfits out of only a few clothes.
When it comes to packing your carry-on luggage, make sure not to have scissors in it, or exceed the three-ounce liquid limit, or pack your toothpaste in it like my brother once did when he was nine. You know the deal.
To me, my carry-on is always important, especially for long flights. I store everything I need in there, including lotion, lip gloss, trail mix, fruit leathers, my iPod, my phone, my passport, my ID and money. Also, I like to bring a big scarf that can double as a blanket on the flight, because sometimes it can get cold really fast!
Next time you pack for vacation, think first. When you are an efficient packer, no one will know how little you packed; they will only be amazed at how fabulously fashionable you are able to dress, anywhere, anytime, all around the world!

--Alexandra Hehlen