How to Make a Dynamic Packing List

In a previous post I mentioned that I’ve been traveling quite a bit for business and pleasure. The adventures continue. I’m currently in Chicago for a conference and expo. For years I dreaded packing for a trip. It was a struggle because I didn’t have a standard packing list. My messed-up method consisted of creating a new list on a fresh sheet of paper before every flight. With this broken system, I was prone to forgetting something. Finally, I have pushed my way out of the darkness. I have found a packing list system that works very well for me.

You might already be aware that I heart electronic documents. (If not, you can check out how I organize my to-do list here.) I have also taken to storing my packing list in an online spreadsheet as well. I just love it. I have used this system for perhaps a dozen trips now. Since I started this format, I have yet to forget to pack something and the process overall is faster and a lot less stressful!

The first column tracks my packing progress.

  • “P” means I already packed it in my suitcase.
  • “~” means I don’t need to pack it this time.
  • If a cell is blank, it means I still need to pack it.

Here is a snapshot of part of my current spreadsheet. It has 73 items at the moment, so not all of the items are pictured here; if you want to see the full list, just let me know by leaving a comment below and I’ll make a public document.

2015-05-03 18_00_26-Packing List - Google Sheets

It’s so simple. I just go down the list, pack and place the P in the column. Sometimes, I take mid-morning flights that require me to pack items that I needed to use earlier in the morning. My checklist system keeps me on track to drop those last-minute items into my bag before I head out the door.

The next time I need to fly, I just clear the tracker column. I know this sounds obvious and simple. It is. And… it’ is SO much better than rewriting a packing list each time I need to fly. I also enjoy that I can easily add or delete items as needed. For example, a while ago I packed for a wedding party that required a cowboy hat for part of a choreographed dance. The hat is not something I need to keep on my standard packing list, but for that trip, I was able to add it and check it off.

If you’re more of a pen/paper person, you could just keep the list in a Word document, modify it as needed and print off every time you’re going to pack.

So that’s my not-so-revolutionary but oh-so-useful method for packing. What’s yours?

PS – here are two of my favorite snaps from the trip so far… hope you enjoy!

2015-05-03 18_22_17-Camera Uploads - Dropbox

2015-05-03 18_24_46-Camera Uploads - Dropbox

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Dynamic Packing List

  1. Johnnie Pope

    This is an amazing idea to have one packing list for every time you travel. I am more than happy to find your post and to learn about it. I am gonna do for myself one as well. Greetings

  2. Bri Post author

    Hi Johnnie, I hope you enjoy the dynamic packing list system as much as I do! Thank you for reading our blog and we’re so happy you found us. Cheers!


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