If your approach to packing is to put it off until an hour before departure and then throw your entire closet into your Samsonite and pay baggage weight charges at the airport, you need a new strategy. (Also: samesies.) We’ve enlisted help from real-life butlers on what you can do to have a stress-free (and wrinkle-free) trip.



Start by pulling outfits for every activity of every day of the vacation. “Seeing it in front of you on the bed or on the rack will help you know what you have and what you’re missing,” says Charles the Butler, who runs the Charles MacPherson Academy for Butlers and Household Managers in Toronto and has curated many holiday wardrobes for his clients. For example, if you’re beach-bound, a cover-up and swimsuit are must-haves, but don’t forget a dress for lunch, an outfit for dinner and a shawl in case it gets cold. Your packing list also depends on your companions – your mom won’t care if you wear your ripped boyfriend jeans three days in a row, but your boss will probably balk if you pull the same trick at the annual sales conference (unless you are in denim sales, in which case by all means).



Once everything is laid out, take action based on a three-to-one ratio: three tops for one skirt/pair of pants/culottes. Bring three pairs of shoes max (flats, heels and runners) for a weekend getaway. Then again, if you’re the type of person who finds joy in wearing a new pair of shoes every night of your holiday (um, isn’t everyone?), the extra baggage fees are worth it, says Charles.



If you travel with a soft-shell suitcase or duffle bag, roll your clothes because they won’t hold their shape in this type of luggage anyway, says Charles. But if you want to hop off the private jet and go straight to that Cavalli yacht party (or your friend’s destination wedding), take a hard-shell case and fold clothes, placing tissue paper (preferably acidfree – the acid can stain clothes) between layers. The paper prevents deep creases from forming. Another option, favoured by Paul Clubb, senior butler at the Lanesborough hotel in London, is to lay pants flat with the ends hanging out of the suitcase, place the rest of your clothes on top and then fold pants over them. If you carry garment bags, keep your shirts in the plastic bags you get from the dry cleaner to keep wrinkles at bay.



A black dress. (See aforementioned Cavalli party.) A leather backpack. (It can double as a carry-on.) And cashmere anything.(It makes you look like you are in first class – even if you’re stuck in the middle seat in coach.)



1. Place your heaviest items – shoes, cosmetics bag (because you need to bring every shade of Too Faced liquid lipstick) – in the bottom of your case near the wheels. Save space by wearing your heaviest pair of shoes instead of packing them.

2. Heavier articles of clothing like pants and jackets go next. Clubb recommends inserting one jacket sleeve into the other so the shoulder pads meet and then folding in half.

3. Fill hats with smaller items like T-shirts and underwear, place them brim down and then protect them by building up around them with clothes.

4. Fill in the suitcase with smaller items.


This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue.