Organizing and Packing Toiletries | The Happiness Bucket

Organizing and Packing your Toiletries for Travel Season

We are entering the time of year when packing and travel are at an all-time high. Actually, I guess the holidays, summer, fall break, spring break, vacation, business trips, etc….are all times that require a lot of packing LOL.  Obviously, the timing of travel season and the need to pack is different for everyone.  What I’d like to do today is give you a few organizing and packing tips regarding your toiletries, that will help you whenever your travel season comes to pass.  I encourage you to adapt these for your lifestyle and needs as necessary:

The Travel Toiletry Bag

Oh the fabulous travel toiletry bag, what is it and why do I feel it is essential to your happiness when traveling?  Well, it makes packing so much easier when you don’t have to overthink the process.  When traveling the one thing that typically doesn’t change is your need for toiletries and which toiletries at that.  Most people take the exact same things on every trip with very few alterations for seasons.

His, Her or Joint Toiletry Bags?

Now, you may be thinking, how many toiletry bags do I need?  Well, each person should have their own bag.  Think of it like this, if you had to travel separately what types of things would you need for your trip?  Are there any items that cross-pollinate?  For example, my husband and I use different body wash and body sprays, but we use the same toothpaste and lotion.  We each have a container for body wash and body spray, we have travel sized toothpaste and lotion bottles and we have backups available.  That way if we are traveling apart and both needed it we would have it and if we were traveling together we would only need to take one (unless for a long period where we needed more).

Your Toiletry Bag is Prepped Year Round

The beauty of this bag is that its main purpose is to be used for travel and time away from home.  It is something that if prepped properly could be grabbed in the blink of an eye if necessary.  You never know when you need to run out of the house for that unexpected overnight event.  A perfect example is an unexpected hospital stay.  If we ever had to experience this, how easy would it be for you to just grab the toiletry bag and go?

In those cases, clothes may not be at the top of your list, but isn’t it great you don’t have to think about clothes and toiletries?  I actually keep this bag packed year round because it comes in really handy even for those overnight or short weekend trips.  I have one and so does my husband, when we travel together we have a “toiletry” bag that our small little bags fit into.  It makes packing so much easier and eliminates the need for those humongous shampoo and soap bottles.

Observation is Key

Packing Toiletries | The Happiness BucketAn important piece to developing and maintaining your toiletry bag is observing what truly serves a purpose in your life today.  For those of you who haven’t gone through my Organize Like a Pro course, this is something that we talk about extensively.  If you are still living in abundance, it may be hard for you to narrow down what you truly need in a travel toiletry bag.  I encourage you to get your toiletries down to the nitty gritty before you develop this bag for yourself.

Packing for Carry-on vs. Checked Luggage

Ok, so here is something I have learned over the years for those of you who actually fly most places.  I always recommend putting your toiletry bag in your carry on luggage.  Why you ask? Well, have you ever heard of lost luggage? No??? well, I have heard and experienced it for myself and let me tell you it is NO BUENO!  Since that experience, I have always packed my toiletries (at least some) in my carry-on bag or luggage.  I also carry a change of underwear too. This at least allows me to be clean if nothing else while waiting on my luggage to be found and delivered to me. By getting down to your main necessities, you know which items you need with you immediately and which items you can check with your luggage.

Key Tips When Packing Your Toiletry Bag

  1. Get TSA approved bottles and bags – This is your starting foundation, there is no need in building a system that doesn’t meet your overall regulatory requirements.  I will share with you how we prep for airplane vs. road trips.  You want to fill these bottles with whatever products you use the most, especially if it doesn’t come in a travel size.
  2. Get travel sizes toiletries – Some products come in travel sizes, I recommend purchasing these at least once for any items you use on a regular basis that aren’t too expensive.  Deodorant, body wash, toothpaste, Q-tips, etc.
  3. Get small containers that can hold products you need, but only need a little of.  For example, I use hair gel, but when traveling I try to maintain hairstyles that don’t require a lot of it.  I have these small round containers that hold just enough gel for those “emergency” hair moments when I need a little help lol.  I have put hair moisturizer, medicine and other things in containers like this to prevent having to carry the large bottle.
  4. Medicine weekly container – You know those containers that have the days of the week on them. My husband and I use these to hold our medicine.  Now, we have been known to just put each medicine in each opening for the number of days we are gone so we can share one main container. So instead of putting them in the proper days, we put all the medicine for cholesterol in one, and all my vitamins in another, all his vitamins in another etc.

Traveling by Car vs. Plane

The age old debate is which traveling method is better, well I don’t have the answer to this question but I do have some thoughts when it comes to traveling by car vs. a plane.  The main being that most people are more cognizant about what they pack when going via air because of baggage overage costs.  When traveling by car you are more apt to throw everything but the kitchen sink in your bags.  By creating your travel bag it helps prevent this urge.  The one thing my husband and I do is we have a big “toiletry” bag that holds our individual toiletry bags.  This helps us take larger quantities of things we use together and/or other things we steer away from when needing to save space.

Less is More When Packing Your Toiletry Bag

All in all, I recommend you develop a mindset of less is more.  Plan out your trips and what you really need for where you are going.  Count the days and calculate just how much of something you need.  Instead of taking the entire box of q-tips, get a travel size or better yet grab enough to have one or two per day and put those in a small ziplock bag. Try to use a capsule wardrobe for your trip so you can use some of the same jewelry, accessories, and makeup.

Despite the fact that I used “toiletry” way too much in this post, I hope you found it helpful.  Do you have a toiletry bag?

About Dana LaRieal Morales

Dana LaRieal Morales is the Founder of The Happiness Bucket where she coaches individuals and teams on having a better work-life balance. She is a Certified Project Manager, an Alum of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she earned her degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and she is also an Alum of Tennessee State University where she earned her Masters in Public Administration, She uses her vast organization, project management and process improvement experiences to help those around her be their best selves.

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