Already in pajamas and night cream, I threw on my workout pants, baseball cap, and a tee shirt and headed downstairs. Huddled in the back of the elevator, I avoided eye contact with the nicely dressed young couple on their way to the bar for a nightcap. Smiling sheepishly at the desk clerk, in the middle of the busy hotel lobby, I counted on him to help me.

“Do you have a toothbrush?” 

Thankfully, he reached into his drawer, filled with supplies for forgetful travelers, and handed one over the counter to me. However, frantically rummaging through my makeup bag the next morning, I knew he would not be able to produce the mascara I’d also neglected to pack.

Returning home from this trip, I decided it was time to splurge. 

Unpacking my suitcase, I made a gigantic list of every single item coming out of the bag – those things not falling into the shoe or clothing category. Hairbrush. Phone charger. Advil. Eye Cream. Eyeliner. Face powder and brush. Contacts. Toothbrush. Sunscreen. Readers.

And then I bought duplicates of everything. 

With kids, parents, and in-laws living in other states, I travel frequently. Thanks to a favorite airline perks program, I tag along with my husband from time to time when business takes him out of town. Spending more time organizing toiletries than travel outfits, I grew weary of rethinking my necessities every single time I packed a bag. 

It made me crazy.

Although I cringed at the idea of investing in identical makeup supplies and brushes, it was time to simplify. 

Over the next week or so, I diligently crossed things off my lengthy list as I wandered through Target and Nordstrom and The Container Store. Sometimes gasping at the checkout total, I also knew this undertaking fell into the category of “I will be glad I did this.”

Pouring sunscreen and shampoo and eye cream into tiny stackable jars, I spent a portion of one afternoon arranging my TSA-approved liquids into their clear plastic quart-sized bag. With the leakproof, refillable containers neatly nestled and labeled, my stash of serums and lotions takes up less space than the travel-sized versions of those same supplies. With room to spare.

And, now residing in the bathroom drawer devoted solely to travel stuff, my liquid toiletries are always ready to go. Besides mints and headphones and device chargers, a cloned makeup pouch – stuffed with twin brushes and shadows and applicators – is tucked in this drawer too. 

Another cosmetic bag is stocked with a brush and comb, vitamins and prescriptions, floss, deodorant, a sewing kit, a nail file. All those handy items I hate to live without for even a few days.

Easy. Simple. Grab and go.

Upon arriving home, before returning things to their travel drawer, I replenish and refill. And then they are ready for the next adventure.

Although an investment, duplicating my skin and hair products changed my packing game. Quickly snatching and tossing those things into my suitcase, I only have to fret over what outfits to bring, what shoes to pack. And perhaps I will find a way to simplify that process next.

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Grab and Go – A Packing Tip to Simplify Travels was last modified: by

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