Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lavoisier and your luggage, or folded versus rolled

Marie & Antoine Lavoisier, by Jacques-Louis David

He was a really landmark scientist, sadly beheaded in 1794, and later exonerated.  Small consolation...

There's a lovely little Hotel Lavoisier in the 8th arrondissement in Paris, too.

But I was reminded of him yesterday morning, when I was packing my suitcase after the end of a long holiday visit to relatives.  As is normal for the luckiest woman in the world, I had more things to bring back with me than I had expected.  So I thought that this would be an IDEAL time to test the theory of rolling clothing to pack, and the widely-held belief that this gives you (somehow) more room in your bag.

Antoine Lavoisier was the guy who originally posited the theory of the conservation of mass i.e. "matter can be neither created nor destroyed".  In our terms, there are the same number of molecules in your clothes, no matter how you arrange those molecules...

But I gave it a shot.  Maybe, just maybe, I was able to cram a little bit more into my bag, but the operative term here is "cram".  When I unpacked last night, ALL of my clothes look like they'd been rolled and squashed.  Which might be okay if you wear only gauze and crinkled fabrics.  Or if you like ironing everything...

Bottom line, I'm not going to convert to the "roll" tribe.  The object of packing, for me, is not to get as much stuff as possible into the smallest container possible, nor is it a desire of mine to look crushed and rumpled the entire time I'm away from home.

Your preferences may vary...

18 comments:

  1. Ironing.... shudder. :) I pack by creating layers in the suitcase, where part of the garment is in the case and the top of it extends outward, 4 piles - one for each direction. Though with long items I might put the middle inside and have them extend outwards in two directions. Then when I have everything, I put small items like undies and knits in the middle and then start folding the layers over, in a round of taking one from each direction. Clothes arrive in great condition.

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    1. I discovered the bundle method when I traveled to Italy last spring. It worked great and I was able to use one carry one for two weeks. I will add that I do have some washable items that I wash with laundry soap and hang in the hotel bathroom.

      StacyfrPgh

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    2. I think cramming will lead to wrinkles regardless of the method :) but I too like the bundle method if you are going to a destination where you will be hanging things up or putting them in drawers. It is especially great when having to pack a suit, and it helps prevent the creases you can get with folding. However, I must admit that on my current trip, I just folded everything and put in in a packing cube... and it all fit because I just brought 6 coordinating pieces plus what I wore on the plane thanks to you, Janice!

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  2. As I usually pack mostly knits for travel, rolling is fine. (I'm a carry-on-only traveler.) But my husband prefers to bring his woven button front shirts, and so for those I use one of those packing "folders." Works like a charm and his shirts stay wrinkle free.

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  3. I, too, have tested the vaulted theory of rolling garments to gain more room in one's suitcase. I did not notice a remarkable difference, except as you point out, to see an increase in wrinkles.

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  4. I agree. Rolling equals wrinkles. I prefer to lay everything in flat and fold the sleeves over the top method.

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  5. I wear mostly knits and rolling is the way to go for me because I can pack a week's worth into a weekender bag with room to spare and everything just feels more simple.

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  6. I have been rolling my clothes when I pack for many years now and I find it easier to pack and contrary to the other comments I find my clothes have less wrinkles. When i was travelling for work as an Image Consultant I had to take all my equipment plus clothes for a 2 day seminar and 2 evenings in a small wheely case and folding made all the difference.

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  7. I roll my knits then use them as the base for "the bundle method" for my blouses. I will roll my pants.

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  8. Rolling is fine for a jeans-and-tshirt wardrobe. It just isn't for me.

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  9. Thanks to your blog, I travel lighter so there's no need to squeeze in extra clothes.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Janice! Wishing you a wonderful 2013!

    Hugs,
    Renee

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  10. I use a combination of both, rolling (1 pair undies, 1 pair socks, inside a t-shirt with ? x t-shirts) and folding..pants/slacks folded in 3 at the bottom, things most likely to wrinkle folded as little as possible and placed across the top. Since I tend to move from site to site (travelling by public transport, mostly train) and stay in B&B's, I don't unpack...but rather live out of the bag.

    For short trips, where I might stay in one place longer, I use packing cubes, and just toss the cubes into the drawers once arrived at my destination.

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  11. I'm in the folding team too as garments (including knits) arrive neater and there's less temptation to stuff stuff in. I think the real key to packing is always to take less. As we can, thanks to this blog's good tips about planning!
    But Janice, how nice to be coming home with some more items than you departed with - sounds as though you had a good Christmas!
    Thank you for another great year of the Vivienne Files. My wardrobe is better organised and much more useful thanks to your excellent advice. Best wishes for the year ahead.
    PS: The Gucci scarf was a wow at Christmas

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  12. There are some interesting responses here. I am planning a 4 week trip to Australia later next year (from Canada) so have been following your blog avidly in the hope of learning how to maximize my clothes :)

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  13. Maybe, but it worked for me coming home from 3 wks away before Christmas - I was able to get all the gifts people were pressing on me for our family and those I had collected into my luggage by resorting to rolling and tucking! The clothes were less important than the good wishes ;)

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  14. I've used various methods -- folding in a bundle, rolling, cubes, vacuum bags, folding using tissue, etc. They all work. I find that delicate clothes or easily wrinkled clothes may have to be ironed at destination. I try to travel with only roll-worthy clothes if I know an iron might be scarce (two weeks in B & B's vs. a business stay at a Hyatt, for example). Hanging clothes up upon arrival helps to eliminate wrinkles. I only travel with carry-on luggage which has gotten smaller and smaller over the years. I travel very easily for 2 weeks or more out of a small carry-on -- and I don't wear t-shirts and jeans.

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  15. I do a combination of rolling, bundles, and packing cubes. Some fabrics just work better with rolling, like my tights. My husband prefers folding his button ups and irons them at the hotel room. It's just not a big deal for him. I like to bundle my t-shirts, but never pants. But regardless of what your preference is, it all comes down to trail and error. Experimenting is fun :-)

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  16. I always roll underwear socks, tichts and pack them inside my shoes, which both saves space and helps keep the shoes in shape. Then I put the shoes in close-fitting shoe bags and pack them at the bottom of the carry-on in beterrn where the pull-handle of the wheelie goes, along with other small items like cosmetics, to even up the base. Then I use the bundle method. and then I put a kanga (Kenyan cotton sarong)over the top and tuck it in down the sides before I do the straps up - it keeps everything in, looks tidy if you have to open the bag up, and can be used for any number of pruposes on arrival (I have used mine as a towel, slept in it, etc etc)

    And I pick up travel sizes of everything when I see them to keep the toiletries bag small (and within the size for the plastic bag), and substitute solids whenever I can. (A few companies, such as Lush, make a solid shampoo bar, which works very well, doesn't need to be put in the plastic bag, and doesn't leak in your suitcase.

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