Marie Kondo's top travel packing tips

The “Kondo effect” isn’t just sorting out wardrobes worldwide. Here’s how to use the organisation guru’s foolproof rules when packing for holidays.

Make the most of your luggage with these KonMari hacks.
  • Dilvin Yasa
  • May 2019

When your career counsellor advised you to “dream big”, it’s possible they didn’t mean that one day you’d ace the art of suitcase packing but Gemma Quinn, a Certified Platinum KonMari Consultant, insists you do just that. “KonMari isn’t only about tidying but about establishing the mindset to live your ultimate life,” Gemma explains. “Studies show planning a holiday makes people happier than the trip itself, so take time to map out how and what you’re going to pack based on what you are going to use on your trip.”

So, what exactly is KonMari? It is a minimalism-inspired approach to de-cluttering where you only keep (and respect) items that spark joy. This is the foundation of professional organiser Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Among the various techniques Marie recommends, her folding method is one of the most popular and particularly useful when travelling.

Know when (and how) to fold clothes

You may not have figured mastering origami into the equation but as you fold your clothes the KonMari way, take time to mentally thank them for their role in your life and stack items vertically – preferably within the zipped compartment of your suitcase. “This way, you will be able to see everything you’ve packed clearly, without having to dig,” Gemma says. According to Kondo wisdom, folding and stacking clothes vertically can also save space, which means more room for your holiday shopping!

Organising your essential items makes everything less stressful
Organising your essential items makes everything less stressful.

Pack for yourself

What is the dress code for “inner radiance”? Whatever it is, you’re now packing for it, with Gemma advising you only pack items that spark joy for your particular personality. “Everyone’s different. I find joy in versatile items I can transform easily, so I’ll take basics I can dress up with silk scarves and jewellery,” she says. Of course, you will need to factor in the destination when packing, and add a coat or bikini depending on where you’re headed.

Compartmentalise every detail

Not only is the ability to compartmentalise a sign of superior emotional intelligence but it also means you pack a good suitcase. Gemma recommends packing a separate zipped bag for every use or space. “My favourite bag is the bedside table bag, which is filled with everything you need to be able to check in and head straight for bed, such as a toothbrush, pyjamas, medication and phone charger.”

Buy a quality suitcase

Invest in a sturdy, hard-shell case with eight wheels – a move Gemma says will help you travel more joyfully. “If you’re straining to carry a cheap suitcase that is falling apart, you’re going to arrive at your destination stressed, sore and cranky,” she says. “A smart, strong case with zipped compartments will help ease any travel stresses right away.”

A quality suitcase will help you travel more joyfully
A quality suitcase will help you travel more joyfully.

Respect as you repack

The end of your holiday shouldn’t spell the end of sparking joy, with all your dirty laundry tossed into a bag bursting at the seams. “More than anything, KonMari is about respecting what you own and it should be shown as you repack too,” Gemma says. All dirty clothes should go in a wash bag but unused items should go back to KonMari folds in vertical stacks. “This mindset will not just change how you travel, it will eventually change your life.”