How to pack your whole life in ONE luggage

Can you live out of one luggage?

Learning how to live out of one carry on and/or one checked luggage is a super crazy challenge!

I learned very quickly that rolling your clothes makes for much MORE space in suitcases than folding. (military hack right there lol)

Shoving socks, makeup, costume jewelry and underwear into shoes will became the norm.

As a new-ish mom (let’s not kid ourselves here I’m no veteran LOL), my oldest pushing double digits, I’ve had a few years to fine-tune the things that help keep our life as someone once said to me: ‘normal.’

When this person made this statement, I immediately realized that most people are comfortable being stationary.

Normal is a matter of perspective -Sheree

And the day my life calls for ‘normal’ is the day I take a real good look at what the heck I’m doing with myself.

There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with staying put / settling down / being stationary whatever you want to call it.

However, this isn’t something I want.

Do what works for you and yours.

It’s important to protect your visions & your dreams.

Living a life abroad (from wherever you call home) can be a frightening thought and a bit intimidating.

But aren’t those the moments that matter the most? You know? Where we are challenged beyond our comforts?

Nobody ever saw growth or change by doing the same things

So I’ve found a few ways to maintain stability in our constant ever-changing lives! (Because there simply is no negating the fact that children thrive on stability)

Since each person has pretty much has one piece of luggage (check-in size & carry on) to work with–every single item that is packed and stored is crucial.

Space is limited and must be used wisely!

A note on packing:

I still struggle with weight as now we have two children, I’ve found it quite tricky to keep our cases below the 45/50 lbs. threshold limit.

HOWEVER, YES, it can be done.

I’ve been traveling with my kids for a while now and it wasn’t until less than a year ago while shopping online, I accidentally found something called “compression bags””.

You see, I know all about space bags and I’ve found that depending on your items and family size, this actually may not be ideal and work against you. Space bags take up an awkward amount of space, and leave gaps in luggage being unused.

And we can’t have THAT.

I also found that in most places, I didn’t have access to a strong vacuum with a tube to vacuum air back out once opened. So needless to say, this was not ideal.

But, back to compression bag (also known as-packing cubes)…could they be helpful?

I found yes!

I have no idea how I’ve been traveling without them (I’m an organizational freak I battle OCD so it’s safe to say, I know how to organize anything and everything). These things are awesome. You see, they are pretty much a soft zippered gym bag in the shape of a cube, ideally working together to fit snugly into your luggage.

Buy a set, or 2, and you will fill your luggage nice and neat. I roll our clothing as I normally would but instead now place them into the cubes for even more compact organized packing.

This helps immensely with organizing our items and giving an extra layer of protection, should the luggage get wet from bad weather. Which totally sucks by the way.

Compression bags are sort of like space bags, but you don’t need a vacuum as it uses extra zippers for compression.

I wouldn’t suggest this for someone with weak hands or anyone of older age as this can get tricky but I’ve found it super helpful in packing our coats and large items as such.

Starting with the children:


Purchase and pack items relating to the primary weather you expect to be. This sounds simple enough, but I’ve seen so many people overpack for the “just in case” moments.

Don’t do it! LOL

Create capsule wardrobes for everyone:

I’ve been doing this long before it became a trend. Try as hard as possible to stick to universal color schemes- meaning pack clothes that are easily interchangeable.

That green white pink and purple polka dot shirt probably isn’t necessary. HAHA

Same for shoes- 7+ pairs just aren’t needed. Stick with 2-3 shoes that can be dressed up or down.

As a family, we all usually stick with a pair of navy, red, and chestnut or black shoes/boots. Nice un-boring universal colors.

If you have access to a washer- you don’t need 30 outfits for you and your children. I promise you, 12 (or even less) are MORE THAN ENOUGH.


This may depend on where you are going/if you can purchase, finances, and just personal preference. I pack a few “staples” that spark creativity such as Lego blocks, magformers, wooden blocks, play food, a couple of animals figures, a board game, a musical instrument, kinetic sand. (update: I don’t pack this anymore now that I have more than one child), and a foam playmat. (update: same here).

Notice I don’t list hair or body products as we choose to adapt to the countries we live in.

TIP: What I find is if “things” hair styling product/soap/food seasoning etc., aren’t written in English- they are always translated in at least three other languages (English is surprisingly not always present)

Begin practicing another language now if you haven’t already! Audiobooks are fantastic, seriously. Bonus, you can even find some for free in your library!

Use my affiliate link to grab a FREE 60 day trial of Scribd or 30 day trial of Audible here (first time customers I believe)

There are a few key items that I always pack so that my children understand that this is “home.”

I always purchase those removable wall stickers from a dollar store, and we decorate the house walls as they like… playmat and blankets always come etc.

As for myself, I follow the same rules. No toys lol but I choose to bring vitamin supplements and other small trinkets as triggers to my brain that this is “home”.

I love this* supply and this brand* especially when I’m in a hurry and want to use Amazon’s fast shipping haha.

I also tend to pack a few books- but now have joined the Kindle community through the kindle app and boy was I missing out!

I pack my bible, which is actually quite large so I typically place this in my carry on luggage.. I have this one* along with these* labels since I still don’t know where each book is.

Call me crazy but funny enough I actually pack some utensils/cutlery with me as well.

There’s just nothing quite like having the proper knife to cut with! haha

I have something similar to this or this, of you’re wondering. (I didn’t link to my exact one because I honestly don’t remember where I purchased it).

Whereever you go, check for IKEA. They will become your favorite place!

For the parents:

It’s pretty much the same theme. Well, on a much smaller scale as adults don’t typically have heavy toys!

Click here to get a list of the BEST travel resources.

*Be sure to bookmark it as I update it frequently*

Still, have some Q’s?

Pop them in the comments below & I’ll give you my best advice.

How To Pack Your Life In One Luggage 2