Open and shut case

Back to basics: Planning is key when going on holiday, says Sascha Griffin.
Back to basics: Planning is key when going on holiday, says Sascha Griffin. 

Trying to shut your suitcase should not end in tears, writes Nina Karnikowski.

It is the task that strikes fear in the heart of even the most hardy woman - packing for a shopping holiday.

Even after you have been through the arduous task of narrowing your heaving wardrobe down to just a suitcase full of essentials, you must force yourself to rethink the equation, factoring in those items you might be planning to buy, as well as those you will inevitably pick up along the way and how you are going to lug all that booty home again.

Packing is an artform.
Packing is an artform. 

For the unprepared, this task can only end in tears, but for those with some expert tips under their designer belt and perhaps some Napoleonic powers of organisation, it can also end in triumph.

Enter Sydneysider Sascha Griffin, avid shopper, packing professional and owner of online business Pink Lily, which helps women organise their closets with a range of acrylic boxes, stands, hangers and slips.

Whether you are heading to New York, Paris, London or Hong Kong for your shopping holiday, planning is key, Griffin says.

"It's important to be very organised before you go, with lists of shops you're planning to hit, and maximum space in your suitcase so you can really make the most of it."

Griffin's golden rule is to leave home with a suitcase that is only a quarter full, which means bracing yourself for a bit of a preparation, including laying out pre-prepared outfits and accessories on hangers before even opening the lid of the suitcase.

"It's about being completely ruthless and strong with yourself as you're packing."

Here, Griffin shares her top 10 essential packing tips to ensure you maximise space in your case for your next overseas shopping spree.

1. MAKE A LIST

Write a list of what you need to buy before you fly, and keep that list on your iPhone. Otherwise, you will end up coming back with five pairs of jeans you don't need, or three black dresses, when you already have four at home.

2. KEEP A DUFFEL BAG

Always travel with a foldable duffel bag for those extra pieces you know you are going to buy on the road.

3. LOSE THE SHOES

Travel with only one pair of shoes. We girls will always buy more.

4. TRY AFTER YOU BUY

When you are buying clothes overseas, wear them the minute you buy them to make sure they fit and feel great. That way, you won't go home wishing you had bought more of something or an item in another colour, and you will look great while you are there, because you are wearing new clothes.

5. PLAN AHEAD

Once you get home, if there is a product you love, take a photo of it with the swing tags next to it just in case you can reorder it online.

6. STAY COMFORTABLE

Make sure you pack comfortable shoes to pound the pavement and explore the shops. Foldable ballet flats are ideal because they take up so little space.

7. KEEP THEM SEPARATED

Take shoe slips to separate items in your suitcase. It keeps them clean and neatly organised, again maximising space. Use a shoe slip for your laundry too, which can be kept in the zippered part at the top of the suitcase.

8. CO-ORDINATION IS KEY

Co-ordinate outfits before you go on hangers, and make sure each pair of pants or jeans has three tops to go with it. If you put whole outfits on one hanger, then that goes straight from the suitcase into the wardrobe, saving an incredible amount of time.

9. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Always take a trying-on outfit that is easy to take off while getting changed. A pair of sandals and a black dress that you can slip over your head are perfect.

10. THERMAL WEAR

If the destination is cold, take thermals, because they keep you warm without the bulk. Buy boots when you get there and take a cardigan for on the plane.

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