Travel Gear Organization: Summer 2014 Travel Series

OJ_OLJ_08-01-2014_01I am excited to be launching my annual Summer Travel Series on OLJ with a look at how I store all of our various travel gear.  This includes not only luggage, but also packing aids, toiletries, in-flight essentials, and other bits and bobs we’ve accumulated over the years for different kinds of trips.

I keep all of our travel gear on shelves alongside part of our extremely large (and long!) master closet.  I know how lucky I am to have this much space in an in-room closet and I try to take advantage of it by storing more than just our wardrobes and accessories.

There is a partition wall about a third of the way down the right side of the wall where the closet narrows.  The space beyond this partition fits four 20″ deep Elfa shelves perfectly.  I keep bulky photography equipment as well as my preserved wedding dress on the very top shelf.  The bottom three are mostly reserved for travel gear where I have the luxury of space to really spread out my organization.  If we need this space for other storage at some future point, I know I can tighten everything up easily to make room.

OJ_OLJ_08-01-2014_02I keep all of our large luggage as well as my most frequently used carry-on size bags on the bottom two shelves.  I realize we have a lot of luggage.  Half of our current collection was sent to me for consideration or as gifts over the past year from companies I am a loyal to as a paying customer.  I appreciate being able to try out different styles from some of my favorite brands.

I have the luggage organized by type with our rolling duffles on the middle shelf and more structured bags on the bottom.  I keep the carry-on bags I rotate through depending on my needs for any particular trip at the very end of the shelf by the closet partition.  I like being able to see and easily access all of our luggage since we do travel frequently.

I realize not everyone has this kind of space for luggage storage.  If I didn’t have room in my closet, I would either store our bags in the attic, basement, or garage, since I do not worry about temperature control for these types of items.  Plus, luggage is designed to be durable to withstand the beating it takes in transit, so it can certainly hold up just fine in any of these areas of the house where we have extra space.

OJ_OLJ_08-01-2014_03One space saving tip would be to condense travel storage by keeping related items in your suitcase when you’re at home.  For instance, I like to tuck our smaller Eagle Creek suitcases into the larger ones.  If I was trying to further save space, I would also store our packing aids and toiletries in the bags as well.  In doing this, however, I would not recommend storing your luggage in a non-climate controlled part of the house to preserve more perishable items.

Organization is about being creative with what you have and the space you have to store it in.  There isn’t one tried and true formula that works for everyone.  I believe in the trial and error approach to storage.  I keep trying different arrangements until I find one that works.  You know your organization is working well for you when it is easy to maintain.


The second shelf from the top holds eight large Reisenthel Fabric Storage Boxes.  These boxes are great, because they are lightweight but strong enough to hold bulky items.  I am using five of these bins for travel gear storage.  I have arranged the boxes on the shelf according to what kind of luggage I have stored on the shelves beneath them.  For instance, I keep my dog Winnie‘s travel-related items in a bin directly above her airline approved carrier.  The box with my in-flight essentials is located just above my carry-on bags, and so on.  Here is a breakdown of what I have in each bin:

✻ Winnie’s Gear – Items that pertain to my dog only, including a case for her soft-sided crate, small toys suitable for car trips, extra leashes, etc.

✻ In-Flight Essentials – All of the contents I like to fill my carry-on bag with.  I put up a post about my picks last year, if you’re interested in a closer look.

✻ Toiletries – I did some micro-organizing in this bin because the many small travel-size products it contains tend to turn into a jumbled mess, even when kept in smaller bins.  I use ziplock baggies to store items by type and keep all extras in one of the Men’s Clear Shoe Boxes from The Container Store, which fits perfectly inside the Reisenthel box.  All of our go-to toiletries are stored in their cases, which makes packing a breeze.  I just grab the particular cases/pouches I need depending on the trip and pop them right into our luggage.

✻ Pack-It Cubes & Envelopes – If you’ve been following me on OLJ for awhile, you know I have a deep fondness for the Eagle Creek pack-It system.  I have dedicated an entire bin to my Pack-It cubes & envelopes in different shapes, sizes, and colors.  I pull this bin out to the bedroom when it comes time to pack and grab whatever size cube or envelope I need.

✻ Packing Aids – I keep the rest of my packing aids in another box.  There are quite a few Eagle Creek items in this bin as well as some other brands, including shoe bags, media cases, garment bags, and pouches of all shapes and sizes.

OJ_OLJ_08-01-2014_05I’ve recently moved a few travel-related items from the Reisenthel boxes into two of the large Storage Lockers I keep tucked on the floor under the bottom shelf.  All of our various duffles, totes, and backpacks fit nicely in one of the trunks.  I folded these and arranged them vertically to be able to see and access them better.

I keep the rest of our travel odds and ends corralled into clear shoe boxes, which I have labeled.  I can fit six of these boxes stacked on top of one another easily in this trunk.  It isn’t the most space efficient way of storage, but since I have the room I thought I would take advantage of it in this way.

The shoe box contents includes luggage scales and tags, pill boxes, travel food ware, international chargers, travel games, and one miscellaneous box with things like laundry bags, a travel umbrella, an eye mask, and ear plugs.  I also keep extra ziptop bags to have on hand for packing (I always bring a few just in case!), and my travel yoga towel.


There’s only one spot located outside of my closet that I store travel-related gear.  I have a set of three hat boxes tucked next to my vanity where I store extra beauty items such as cotton swabs and empty jewelry bags and pouches.  I keep all of my beauty-related travel gear in the middle box, including a couple of makeup bags and jewelry cases in different sizes and my travel size makeup brushes.  I prefer to store these items right next to my vanity so it is easy to reach for when it comes time to pack my makeup and jewelry.

I go through each part of my travel gear organization in more detail in my coordinating video if you’re interested in a closer look:

I would love to hear how you store and organize your travel gear if you care to share.  I’m also interested in any requests for this year’s travel series.  Check back next week for an on-the-go style review of the Erin Condren Hard Shell Luggage.
Happy Organizing & Safe Travels!


* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


24 thoughts on “Travel Gear Organization: Summer 2014 Travel Series”

  1. Hello!
    I’m really looking forward to your travel series this summer. I’m just starting out taking more trips and am looking for hints and tips wherever I can!

    Did it take you a while to find luggage and things that worked well for you? How do you decided what you need before purchasing?

    Thanks for sharing,
    Love Charlotte

    1. I have found I enjoy a variety of types of luggage and enjoy trying out different kinds. I think you can really make almost any bag work for you if you’re clever with how you pack it.

  2. Hi Jenn what is the specific name of the travel mirror case. I know it’s Vera Bradley but I can’t find.

    With thanks

    1. It looks like they no longer carry it. Mine was actually a gift from a subscriber. It’s called the hatbox cosmetic case.

  3. This was fun. I think your travel series was my favorite and then I started checking out your other series. Loved seeing what you did with those reisenthel boxes. Been thinking about getting some. I have my packing items in both the Large (and small) Tint Stacking Drawers from Container Store. I also keep my zip lock bags and other items in them. Starting using the Cosmo Cosmetic Bags recently. Love them. Not good for people who use a lot of make up or carry everything with them. My favorite packing cubes are eBags. I have them in all colors but recently starting purchasing some of those newer Specter lightweight ones from Eagle Creek. I started with Eagle Creek though. Had more of a matte finish. We have also accrued a number of items over the years. It honestly does take a long time before you find the right one of something. Car travel is so different from plane travel. You need wheels for airport travel and the bags can be larger and heavier and carry less. If our lodging takes us up flights of stairs, something more lightweight or fabric is ideal, backpack style or over the shoulders. Can hold more but may not arrive in good condition off the carousel. I don’t like to pull something off the carousel and stick it on my back, eventhough I often wear darker tees when traveling. If I have something backpack style I place it face down under place seat. Some destinations require more rugged or casual luggage so the nice stuff can’t come with you. And then there is weather. So I fully understand the need for different things at different times. My bags are often fun colors. I have never mistakenly grabbed someone else’s bag off the carousel. Despite the amt. of time I put into packing and preparing, I go through the airport rather seemlessly and never hold up lines. My carry-ons can always fit under my seat. And I almost never have to run to a store because I forgot something. Quick errands on vacations seem to take forever. I bring a lot but there is a reason for that.

      1. Thank you, Jen. You make a lot of sense to me, especially with your travel videos. I know everyone has videos that speak to them personally. I have learned a lot from you over time and have added your suggestions to my luggage. I admire people who travel lite. It’s just not me. Once I get to my destination, then I travel lite. No heavy or high maintenance bags, shoes, etc. Just vacay. Thank you for being you. I always and I mean always learn something.

  4. I am such an unorganized traveller – this post is definitely inspiring me to step up my game! I’ve been living out of a suitcase all summer (literally, and it’s less than fun) and it has definitely not been neat and tidy.

  5. Oh my word, Jen I must say I loved this blogpost and can’t wait to watch the coordinating video you have such great tips and ideas. I recently moved from an apt to a house and it has been quite the mission to figure out how to reorganize everything and this is really helpful. I love all of your videos and blogpost and every time I start rearranging and organizing everything my husband always ask have you been watching Jen’s video’s again hahaha! Well just wanted to say thanks and please never stop giving us these little tid bit’s they may be small but make a huge difference in everyday life or in this case the anxiety/ nerves of travel pack up!

  6. Brand new to your website & have just spent the last few hours reading packing tips 🙂 We are traveling to Maui later this year so I have started making a Container Store list (much to my husband’s dismay since I can & do spend hours there!). Personally, I can’t wait to try the packing cubes!
    Anyway, this is a great site & look forward to following along to new updates.

  7. I’m excited about your new travel gear organization series! Your tips are great and I now have my whole family hooked on packing cubes! They are life changing! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Im going away to Florida to Disney world in October so your travel series has come at the best time for me. It’s my first time flying from the UK and im so excited. Your tips for the packing cubes are great. Watching your videos has helped me big time with my organisation already. Look forward to watching and reading what you have got in store next 😀 Thankyou for sharing Rosie x

  9. This video really inspired me to organize our travel items. Before I had them spread all over the house and would be frantic when it came time to pack. Now I put everything on one shelf in our basement and box hold all the travel accessories (locks, passport covers, extra cords). It took no time to so and will make getting ready for a trip so much easier. A few videos back you talked about taking your Bose headphones out of the case, I have the same kind and always thought the case took up too much space in my carry-on. I think I will have my husband keep his in the case…he is rough on things. 🙂 Thank you for the constant inspiration!

  10. I love your videos and blogs. You were a great help to me when I was going on a long trip. You helped get me organized and stress free. I have a silly question. What size of the
    zip-lock baggies did you use for extra toiletries? I’m in the process of reorganizing all my extras and love your system. Thanks for sharing!

        1. Hi Kim!
          Just wanted to say “Thank you” for asking Jen the question of what size her ziplock baggies were! I appreciated it!
          Thanks again
          Katherine M.

  11. Hi congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. We are in the process of choosing a puppy to adopt. Our yorkie died last month of melanoma . We are still heartbroken & taking or time to open our hearts for a new fur baby.

    Love your Winnie videos. Wondering about her crate? It looks like a soft sided crate. Is this the crate your used when she was a puppy? I know we will need a crate for a new puppy. Would love to get something like your. I have never seen it.

    Could you tell me where you purchased it ?
    Would it work for puppy training. I hate those metal crates.
    Any info would be helpful. I know your a busy mommy now.

    All the best

    1. We have a traditional metal crate in the mudroom that we used for Winnie when she was a wee pup. We’ve taken the door off since and she’ll sometimes sit in it when we go out, but she’s free to go in and out as she pleases. Winnie also has a soft sided crate up on our bedroom that she sometimes sleeps in. Again, we leave the door open so she’s free to go in & out as she chooses. I call it her “house” as it’s where she retreats to when she needs a bit of peace & quiet. It’s by a company called PortaPet but I think they may no longer manufacture them. It’s a soft-sided portable crate that collapses flat and comes with its own storage bag. Pretty handy!

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