Jetset Genius Podcast

8: What to do with Dirty Laundry while Traveling

 by Brad Kammlah

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In this Episode, You'll Learn:

  • What to do with dirty clothes while traveling
  • Why those plastic laundry bags are a bad idea
  • The Best Travel Laundry Bag
  • The DC2 Packing Method

Slider, You Stink!

A few years ago I was on a trip to the UK and was pretty jet lagged so a colleague recommended we hit the gym. But this wasn't just any gym, it had a leader board on the monitors at the front of the cardio section that tracked how you were doing against everyone else in the gym. A well designed system to bring out that competitive spirit and for me caused me to work out way too hard. I left the gym drenched in sweat.

Back at the hotel, I showered up, threw the gym clothes in that plastic bag at the hotel and packed my bag for the next city.

The only problem was the next morning when I put on a clean shirt, it smelled… bad! And when I grabbed another one from my bag it smelled too! It seems the sweaty gym clothes smell had infiltrated the rest of my stuff and now everything in my bag smelled… And I still had another week on the road!

I decided right there that I was going to find a better system for my dirty laundry while traveling.

Dirty Clothes Throws Off Even the Best Packers

Remember that great feeling you had when you were packing your suitcase before you left? Everything fit perfectly in your suitcase just right.

That is until the next day in your hotel when you took off those dirty clothes, looked down at your perfectly packed bag and thought. “What in the world am I going to do with these?”

Yes, there's one thing that throws off even the very best of packers… DIRTY CLOTHES!

Should you put them back in your bag with all your clean clothes? Or use that cheap plastic bag from the hotel? There just doesn't seem to be a good solution.

Don't Do This with Your Dirty Clothes

1 Mixing it with Your Clean Clothes

We've already talked about how this is an easy way to make the rest of the stuff in your suitcase stink, but it also is hard to tell what is clean and what's dirty. Everything just gets mixed in together and your suitcase is a mess just 2 days into your trip.

2 Using a Separate Compartment

I thought this was going to be a brilliant solution. Every time something is dirty you just put it in a separate compartment in your suitcase. The problem though is by the end of trip, that one compartment is overflowing because it's too small for all your dirty clothes.

3 Plastic Laundry Bag from Hotel Room

Along with not sealing to block odor, it also doesn't pack very well. It seems like an good solution at the hotel when you're throwing dirty clothes into that plastic bag until you're ready to bag and this big bulky laundry bag won't fit in your suitcase.

4 Cinch Laundry Bag

There are also lots of drawstring style travel laundry bags on the market but this has the same problem as the plastic hotel bag. It just doesn't pack well either.

Solution: Double Cubes for Dirty Clothes

The DC2 Packing Method

After trying all of these I decided to come up with a system of my own that would work better. And that's when I developed the DC2 Packing Method. Double Cubes for Dirty Clothes.

By simply bringing 2 sets of packing cubes you can transfer clothes from one set of cubes to the other throughout your trip and they pack perfectly on your return trip.

How it Works:

1 Buy 2 Sets of Packing Cubes in different colors

One set will be for clean clothes and the other for dirty clothes.

I use the Eagle Creek Compression Specter cubes because they are light weight and one of the few sets of packing cubes on the market that also compress your clothes as well. I use a large one for shirts and a smaller one for socks and underwear.

Pack all your clothes in 2 white packing cubes and bring 2 empty green packing cubes that you will use later for dirty laundry.

2 As stuff gets dirty, transfer it to the green packing cubes

Throughout the trip, take your dirty clothes and fold it or roll it nicely and put it into the green packing cubes. This was it's easy to tell which clothes are clean and which clothes are dirty.

3 By the end of the trip the green cubes are full and the white ones are empty

On your return trip, everything will pack into your suitcase almost exactly the way it did when you left.

Why this works so well:

I love this packing method for several reasons:

  1. It's easy to tell what is clean and what is dirty
  2. Your bag stays organized
  3. Bag is packed as well when get home as when left
  4. Stinky stuff is in it's own cube

Smell Control

If stinky clothes are still a problem, I recommend bringing a Hefty Jumbo Storage Bag for the worst offenders. It's seals closed and is disposable. This also works great for packing shoes so they don't get anything in your bag dirty.

Take Action & Start Packing Better!

Give this system a try and see if it works for you.

Start by grabbing 2 sets of packing cubes in different colors and use them on your next trip.

Thanks for listening and we'll see ya next week!
Happy Travels

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