Traveller’s genius idea for old suitcases
Temporarily deprived of the ability to actually travel anywhere, I've joined the hordes of Marie Kondo addicts who have decided to start spring cleaning during autumn.
My wardrobe has never been so orderly, my home office is fully decluttered and I'm bidding a fond farewell to a stack of kitchen appliances I haven't touched for the better part of a decade.
But travel is also a key part of this cleanse. I've been conducting a thorough luggage audit, checking my inventory and assessing whether I'll actually use it again in the future.
Confession: I own a possibly unhealthy number of suitcases and backpacks.
I've always been a firm believer in matching the luggage to the trip. For a quick weekend away on a bargain airline, I'll aim for a very lightweight backpack, so I can keep under the 7kg limit and I'm not wasting any of that precious weight with the luggage itself.
When I take a longer trip to Europe or the States and know that shopping is on the agenda, I'll opt for a much bigger suitcase, knowing I'll fill it up on the way.
Often I'll pack a smaller wheeled suitcase inside the larger one. When I'm staying with family in London, I can use the smaller case for weekend train trips.
But checking out my main extra-large suitcase during my luggage audit, I'm reminded that one of the wheels has basically seized up, so it's not really travel-friendly anymore. Time for that one to take on a new role in the garage, storing drop sheets and other painting gear.
The same goes for a much-cherished backpack. The strap has just about torn away at the top of that one, and I don't want to be on the road when it finally gives way. That one has become a temporary repository for the defunct kitchen appliances, which need to wait until I can get to an electronics recycling centre to dispose of them.
In the process of auditing, I've also realised I own more than 30 packing cubes. That might seem a little extreme but, frankly, those aren't going anywhere. They take up close to no room and make packing and keeping stuff sorted so much easier.
One final tip: don't automatically assume your local charity shop will eagerly accept any spare baggage you can't repurpose. Many charity shops have temporarily stopped accepting donations, citing both health concerns and difficulties in dealing with large numbers of donations when stores aren't open and hence there's no turnover of goods.
So check before you rock up with your leftover luggage. You can always stash your spares in the garage or spare room and donate them later in the year. And if it's broken, don't dump it on a charity shop. Reuse it or dispose of it yourself.
Angus Kidman is the editor-in-chief and travel guru for Finder.
Originally published as Traveller's genius idea for old suitcases