Travel Packing Tips: The Joy of Baggies

It all started with a roommate in college who was so crazed about sterility, she packed everything in baggies, including clothing. She refused to admit she had OCD (obsessive-compulsive-disorder) while she vacuumed our dorm room for the third time that day and Windexed her desk whenever she took a break from studying, but it was plain to see.

So you might be able to see why I disdained the whole baggie thing at first. I mean, what if I ended up like Jill? This led to many leaks and spills in my luggage throughout my twenties.

I finally gave in after a dress I was planning to wear at a formal event the first night of a vacation emerged from my bag soaked to a deep blue with Listerine. The whole bottle had ended up on that dress and there was no time to repair it or shop for something else. I ended up wearing a pair of white jeans and a blouse, standing next to everyone dressed to the nines in their evening gowns.

Travel Packing Tips

Now, I will never start putting clothing in baggies – that’s a little too “Jill” for me, but anything that stands the slightest chance of leaking? Yup! I Ziploc those suckers!

You don’t want to spend your road trip dealing with spills and stains in your luggage, do you? Discover the joy of baggies and you’ll never have to!

What to do:

All you’ll need are gallon-size and quart size sealable baggies. Don’t get the cheap versions of these – the cheap ones leak and that makes them pointless. The cheap ones are often flimsy, too, and puncture/wear-out quickly. If you want to “go green” with your baggies, cheap ones won’t last long enough.

Put the larger sized items in the gallon size baggies and the smaller items in the quart size ones. Don’t over-stuff each baggie, just put enough items to comfortably fill it and still be able to easily seal it. If something is precious to you – like an expensive moisturizer or perfume – put it in a baggie of its own (smallest baggie it will fit into). That way, if it does leak, you can salvage some of the product.

Layer your clothes with the bagged items so that none are smashing against each other when you move your luggage. I always put all the items I will need in the shower in one large baggie (shampoo, conditioner, razor, shaving gel), so I can carry it to the bathroom and have everything I need without having to search through my baggies to collect each item.

Bringing extra baggies is a good idea as to when leaks do occur, the bag will be a mess and you don’t have time to clean it. Roll up the dirty baggie tightly and zip it up in a gallon-size baggie where you will keep all of your dirty ones. Then all you’ll have to do is whip out a fresh one for your stuff.

Go green:

If you’re going green, you can still use baggies – you just re-use them! If there were no spills, just fold them up and keep them in a small box that you reserve for that purpose (like a shoebox).

If you had the inevitable leak or spill, wash the baggie. Doing this is simple:

  • Fill the baggie with warm water. (Not hot! It will weaken the baggie!)
  • Add a drop or two of dishwashing liquid. You won’t need a lot, so don’t overdo it.
  • Seal and let soak for 3-5 minutes.
  • Open the baggie, take a sponge and gently wash the inside (and outside if it got dirty).
  • Empty out the water and refill halfway with fresh warm water.
  • Seal the bag and gently shake it to rinse.
  • Empty the baggie and set it up on a towel so that opening faces down towards the towel and it is spread out for maximum airflow. Allow to air dry – this takes a couple of hours to a day depending on how dry your home is.

Fold your baggie up and add it to your baggie box. Now you can use your baggies while going green. It’s a win-win situation – you spare the environment and your luggage on your road trips is free from unfortunate spills and stains.

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