Twelve Quarts of Happiness

I started traveling when I was very young. Back then, I had the luxury of having my parents pack my luggage for me. If I didn’t have my toothbrush and toothpaste when I arrived at grandmas house, I let the adults responsible for my missing toiletries work it out.

Ah! Those were carefree days.

Now that I’m grown up and have been traveling consistently for the past decade, I have found that it isn’t packing I dislike, it’s packing the little things. Most resorts and hotels are aware of this, because you can call the front desk and ask for a replacement for the toothbrush you left behind.

I noticed a pattern when it was time to pack my carry-on. I would find myself looking through cupboards and cabinets for products that were the staples of my travels. The items I couldn’t find or didn’t have meant a run to the drugstore or to the travel section of the grocery store.

I seek efficiency when I travel, and this time-consuming process was inefficient.

During one search session, I had an “ah-ha” moment.

I remembered that I owned a 12-quart container that would fit neatly under my bathroom cabinet, and it could store the items I needed in one place until I was ready to travel. All I had to do was keep the container stocked.

My thrifty side was very helpful in this quest, and when I found an item on sale, I would stock up and add it to the container. Paying special attention to expiration dates kept everything usable and ready for the friendly skies or a weekend getaway.

Travel storage made easy
Use a 12-quart box as an inexpensive storage solution.

I consider a few of the items “specialty travel” products. For example, I’m not always going to need hand warmers, but I keep them handy.


1. Tissues
This tissue packaging is my favorite because of the secure attachment it provides. These traveled with me on every excursion I went on in Alaska and I never had to worry about losing the package. I snapped it onto the strap of the backpack I carried and if someone needed a tissue, I didn’t have to dig around in the backpack to find it.

2. Flushable Wipes
This flexible package can be slipped into a pocket or purse for those times when toilet paper is not available.

3. Glitzy Makeup
This is an item that falls into my “specialty travel” category. I only need this type of makeup when my travel wardrobe consists of formal wear. It has its own bag, so I always know where to find it.

4. Hand Warmers
I vacationed in Lake Louise, Alberta and came home with extra hand warmers. I needed them again in Alaska, and will use them for future cold climate travel.

5. Small Suitcase Bag
This soft-sided bag doesn’t take up much room in my suitcase, and I use it to store items that are above the 3.4 ounce carry-on limit. Even though I add tape to the cover of any liquid items, this bag is lined and gives me peace of mind that I won’t find sunscreen slathered all over my clothing.

6. Laundry Detergent
I travel with my husband and kids quite often and our vacations usually last a week. We vacation at resorts that have a washer and dryer in the room. Disney Cruise Line also has washers and dryers on board its ships.
“Who wants to do laundry when they’re on vacation?”, you may ask. I do. I wash a couple of loads on one day near the end of our vacation, and it has two benefits:
a. I pack less and have room for the things I may purchase while on vacation and,
b. I don’t have any laundry to do when I get home.

Win, win.

7. Lint Roller
A lint roller accompanies me on trips where I need to bring formal clothing, and is also one of my “specialty travel” items.

8. Travel Sized Items
I keep toothpaste, mouth rinse, etc., in a quart sized bag. Item #15 will explain why they are prepped in the plastic bag.

9 & 10. Change of Clothing/Personal Items
When I cruise, it takes time to have my bags delivered to my stateroom.
I’ve experienced international travel with a 7 hour delay because of mechanical issues. Anything can happen, and these bags fit neatly into my carry on with a change of clothes and any personal items I may need.

11. Perfume
A lightly scented perfume is perfect for those times when I travel and have a dinner date with my husband or a special event to attend during a trip.

12. Scented Toilet Spray
This product really makes a difference in the air when nature calls. I started traveling with it a year ago, and it has never been left behind. 😉

13. Medicine Bottles
These were given to me by a pharmacist at my local drugstore. I haven’t used them, but keep them in the storage box because they will come in handy one day.

14. Q-tips
I found this tiny tin of Q-tips at a dollar store. I bought several of them and they always come in handy.

15. Extra Quart Sized Bags
Somehow, the box of quart-sized bags is always empty when I’m ready to travel. The best way for me to have a few bags handy is to keep them stored here.

The items in my storage container have been helpful for weeklong vacations and short staycations.

Leave a comment below and let me know if you have a packing strategy that makes travel easier for you, or if there’s a travel friendly item that you always carry with you. 

2 thoughts on “Twelve Quarts of Happiness

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