Stress-Free Packing series, focus on toiletries

Love arriving at my destination; the actual plane, car or train ride, not so much. That is why organization and packing for me are key.

 I have streamlined my approach to packing clothes, shoes etc, as I have shown in a previous post.  Today I want to focus the bathroom stuff – soaps, serums, creams as well as makeup – yes, all of it.


For years, I brought it all with me because I never knew what I would need when, especially if it was to be a longer trip. Initially I used full-size bottles. What if I ran out of something? I then started putting shampoos, creams, serums in mini-bottles you can pick up in a drug store.  

While this worked better, I still felt unorganized – mini-bottles all over the ‘vacation’ bathroom, vanities and even the desk if the room had one. As I said earlier, I need to be organized; it’s a thing with me.  I wanted to walk into the bathroom and have my things in the places they belonged, I didn’t want to have to think about it.

And, given my stress level when I travel, I hated packing a new bathroom bag every time I traveled.

Well, this went on for several years. Then, while watching QVC about 2 or 3 am (does anyone really sleep anyway? But that’s for another post), I noticed what looked like a set of matching bags for much smaller items.  Upon further examination, I even noticed little compartments. I had to have this set, wasn’t sure how I was using it yet, but had to have it.

So, after trial and error, I now have the perfect system. It requires a one-time set-up and you are done.

I put everything on my bathroom counter that I used.  Many products I use come in sample bottles and that does make it easier. I love Simple Beauty Minerals, the products and the packaging, so easy to travel with.


The products that don’t travel well, I used the mini-bottles, filled and labeled. (I used Sharpies so names didn’t rub off).  I then took the bag with the smaller compartments (not sure if I mentioned, it has a built-in hanger), and gave each of my products its own compartment.  

This bag has all of my shower stuff, facial soaps, feminine products, q-tips, cotton balls etc.

Once this bag is set up all I have to do is refill when needed.

So as soon as I get to the vacation bathroom, the bag gets hung up and I know where everything is.


First, the more immediate toiletries, tooth-brush, paste and any oral care items you might have including eye drops, contacts etc.  These are the items you can grab sooner than the shower stuff. They are also the items you use on a day-to-day basis so those can’t be pre-packed.  

For this, I use a double-sided bag that I picked up in Sephora and it is not packed until the morning of departure. So the bag is laid out on the counter the night before.

Everything I use first thing in the morning goes straight into this bag; that means I am not forgetting anything. Even my morning vitamins/pills go in this bag.  Everything I mentioned fits on one side (a travel-size toothpaste does help).

The other side is for daily face and eye cream.  That should be closer to the mirror because that is where I apply it, so I still don’t have to reach for the hanging bag. Now this bag is complete as well and, given I have put each product in as I use it, I don’t forget anything.

The only thing left is makeup. I have a walk-in closet with a very small area where I apply my makeup – small table, mirror, makeup cart. Yes, I have many makeup cases and pouches that I could use but I found another product that I loved and have used it ever since. 

It is actually a round makeup pouch that opens up and lies flat on whatever table or counter you put it on. Then all you have to do is pull the cord and the whole thing folds in. I love this bag. So easy to pack and unpack and I can open it as far or as little as I want to. Absolutely perfect for travel and it goes in the washing machine.

I noticed it about the time I started selling my belt and I knew a woman like me designed it.  Although I don’t know her I really wanted to support her.  I did not plan on loving it as much as I do.  

That’s it!  When I am not using my hanging bag, it hangs on the back of my closet door. All I have to do it grab it, fold it up and pack it.  After each vacation or weekend away, I refill whatever needs to be refilled so that the bag is ready to go each time.  The makeup bag is open and my makeup is just put back where I keep it in my closet vanity; and the double-sided bag is just unpacked that night and put in the drawer for the next time. 

As I said initially, organization for me is everything and with the right products, it all works well.  

Please post any other ideas you may have, I always love new options.

Links below for the products I have mentioned.   photo 1

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