My parents divorced when I was three years old, which means I've packed more suitcases than most people will in a lifetime. I'm super good at it, mkay? It sends me into a rage-sweat when I see girls using suitcases the size of my refrigerator for a weekend getaway. And just hold me back when they're like, "oh! I just couldn't decide what to wear!!" ESPECIALLY when you're going on a road trip and sharing trunk space with several other people. Not cool. (If you are one of those girls, just bear with me. I will save you.)
You can fit more than everything you need in an appropriately sized bag. It's not about packing less, it's about packing smart. Basically, the refrigerator sized suitcases are hardly ever necessary. I mean, it's called "extended-trip luggage," for crying out loud. How many extended trips are you really planning on taking in this lifetime?
Besides the fact that it's unnecessary, when you travel by air, extended-trip luggage is a hassle. It's always better to carry on. That way you don't have to pay for your bag, you won't lose your bag, and when you arrive to your destination you don't have to wait for your bag. Plus, 3-14 days worth of your stuff will fit into a carry-on bag. You may have to recycle pants and shoes, but it will fit. I once went to London for a week, then straight to Boston for another week with carry-on luggage.
Now that I've explained why you don't need a Godzilla-suitcase, I'm going to prove it to you. I will show you how to fit all this into a carry-on bag with room to spare:
Like I said, It's not about packing less, just packing smart. This is more than enough for a week-long trip, and I still had space in my bag. AND my bag isn't even expandable. Here are my tricks:
#1 Bring a few pieces that you can wear with different tops or bottoms to change them up. That way you save space but still have options.
#2 Lay your clothes out before packing them. It only takes a little extra time, but it will prevent you from forgetting something or packing multiples of something else. Plus, it's crucial to the next step:
#3 ROLL YOUR CLOTHES. Like, sleeping-bag style. Everything but underwear can and should be rolled as tightly as possible. They take up less room this way but also stay less wrinkled. Win–win.
#4 Pack it. Put large shoes (heels/wedges) on the bottom, preferably in shoe-bags. Then place your jeans and dresses on the bottom and stack your shirts. Put all your jewelry in a small bag and all your makeup/toiletries in another bag. Put these on top. Use the slim zipper pocket for your underwear.
Consider yourself freed from refrigerator suitcases. You are welcome.