Years ago I read an article (which I sadly can’t find) about keeping your toiletry bag fully stocked at all times. I took that to heart and have, since reading that, always kept my toiletries bag ready to go.
It sits in a drawer, fully stocked with everything I need. There’s only two items that I ever need to put in it: my electric razor, and any medicine I might be taking. Aside from that I have everything else I could need.1
That’s all well and good — many people do this — right?
But what happens when you come back having used up consumable stuff in your kit? How do you keep your bag squared away when this is constantly happening given the small sizes of travel goods? I struggled with that, and have found myself arriving at my destination with a travel sized deodorant that is empty, or an empty tube of toothpaste.
Sure, those items were in my bag, so I didn’t forget them — but they were completely worthless when I got to my destination.
I imagine TSA giggling as my empty tube of toothpaste goes through the X-ray. Sigh.
Anyways, a while back I started inventorying my toiletries when I get back from a trip. I’d toss anything that was empty, and it therefore would no longer be in the bag — then I would file it in OmniFocus.
The project is super simple:
Before I Travel Next with no due date. Here I put anything I want, or need, to do before I travel next. Including items that need to be replaced in my Toiletries bag. Even nicer is that if I remember the next time I am at the store I can just grab these items so my bag is once again ready to go.
So yeah, I made a list in OmniFocus, but for me this is a killer list. I can’t do packing lists — they just don’t work for me — but reminders of key things I want to bring, that’s killer. Then when I travel next I don’t have to remember which items (or if) I need to stock items, all I have to remember is to check my one list.
Reader Erik writes in to add another great tip for less frequent travelers:
Another variant for getting organized with travel toiletries: When you run out of something in the bathroom, replace it from your travel kit and add it to the shopping list. The new one goes directly to the travel kit ensuring its always ready to go. This also avoids the product staleness issue for those that don’t travel a lot. Going with regular size products (at least for stuff like toothpaste, deodorant & shaving stuff) is usually fine if you check your bag.
I’ve also done this with the daily cords/adapters that I carry. ↩