As summer ends, many are wrapping up trips and preparing for a return to fall, the new school year and fresh activities. Travelers returning home often dread emptying their suitcases. In fact, many let luggage linger in their bedrooms for days or even weeks with half-folded clothes and toiletries begging to be shelved. Not only does this take up space in your home, the clutter detracts from your beautiful décor. I used to be guilty of this myself. However, my husband, Jon, unpacks as soon as he gets home. I started doing it too and I have to say, I love getting it out of the way immediately and not having to look at travel items strewn across the bedroom!
To help you make the most of your end-of-summer travel, we’re sharing a few tips for luggage care and tips for storing suitcases that are out of sight until needed. Let’s start with tips on suitcase maintenance.
- Minimize the size of your suitcase prior to stowing it. If your luggage has zipper compartments that allow you to expand and contract its size, zip those up for the most compact size available.
- Wipe down the interior of your bag if your toiletries spilled. This is frequently overlooked and leaves a sticky mess. A wipe-down with a warm washcloth or a cleansing wipe is often all that is needed.
- Make sure the zippers and compartments are in good working shape. If your bag needs repairs, put this on your To Do list before it’s time to travel again. After all, there’s no reason to put off a repair now, only to re-address it before your next trip. Check the label of your bag for the manufacturer and then search online to determine if the manufacturer has a warranty or suggests repairs be handled another way. Some shoe repair merchants also offer these services. If the damage is beyond repair or the cost is commensurate with a new bag, buy your new luggage at the end of the summer. According to travel experts, now is a great time to buy suitcases since most summer travels are completed by the beginning of August and merchants are looking to offload their inventory.“ Even if your new luggage could be sitting in your closet for a bit, you’ll thank yourself for snagging such a great deal when you finally travel again,” Madeline Diamond writes in “Here’s Why Now Is Actually the Best Time to Buy Luggage” in Travel + Leisure magazine.
- Diamond also suggests comparison shopping. Check the major retailers for good deals and look directly at the brands’ websites as well. Going direct could bring added discounts.
Clever Ways to Store Luggage
One of the most common areas to store luggage is under your bed. Most beds have one to two feet of dead space below, allowing you to quickly push your suitcase under the frame. It’s easy to pull out when you need it yet this keeps the luggage out of your way when not in use. If there’s little to no rise under your bed, consider buying risers to lift the bed frame and create the space you need. A variety of options are available on Amazon as well as local retailers.
Unless you travel frequently, store your utilitarian-looking suitcases on a top shelf in your closet. Placing these up high allows you to put items used regularly within reach. If you don’t have built-in shelves near the ceiling of your closet, you can easily “install a hook at the top of the closet ceiling and suspend the suitcase from above,” as Catrin Morris suggests in Apartment Therapy’s “Tips For Storing Luggage at Home”.
Easily replace a traditional coffee table next to or behind a sofa with stacked suitcases as shown in the above photo from The Decoist. A similar option is to stack your luggage as a bedside table as displayed in the example to the right. This still allows you to store items inside so you double your usage.
This is like using a larger trunk as a more sizeable table in a living room or game room with practical storage inside. We’re seeing trunks that are seldomly used be refinished to add visual interest like the white-washed trunk shown below. Of course, if you still need to use your luggage for travels, you can certainly hide luggage behind an artistic screen that you’re using. In fact, my parents bought a really old trunk many years ago while living on the East Coast. They painted it royal blue and red, and my grandmother lined it with wallpaper from my brother Peter’s room. It had pirates on it and was so cute. He used it in his room for years. Somehow I ended up with it so I changed the colors to a more neutral navy and beige, had the disintegrating leather straps replaced and used it in my living room in my first few apartments. The fun thing was every time I opened it, I saw the pirates and thought about being in my brother’s pirate-themed bedroom in McLean, Virginia!
Use Luggage as Actual Storage
I love the idea of storing your carry-on piece inside the larger suitcase to double your storage. Take that a step further by neatly placing any other tote bags or weekenders inside that same suitcase. It’s a simple way to centralize similar items and can open space elsewhere. Smart! You can also use your luggage to stow away off-season items like summer hats, bathing suits and beach towels or thick sweaters and coats when winter has passed. I’ve even seen vintage suitcases in a living room used to hold blankets inconspicuously at close reach when it’s time to cuddle up to read a good book. Of course, there should be some charm in suitcases used in your décor.
Things to Avoid
While placing your baggage in the attic or a basement is tempting to avoid clutter, these indoor spaces are usually damp and invite mildew. Wrapping your suitcase in a plastic bag to keep it dust-free is also not recommended. Wherever you store these items, let the air circulate freely around your luggage to keep it dry and in good condition. Your next travels await!
If we can help you redesign your home to create more storage space and showcase memoirs of your voyages, contact Pamela Hope Designs today. You may also enjoy reading our other travel blog posts for a peek at our own travels and how those trips influence interior décor.