Packing the suitcase

Maybe it was because I did so many jigsaws as a child, but I am really good at fitting things – packing suitcases for example, packing the car boot to go on holiday, filling the car/van when someone (son/daughter) is moving house… I’m just really good at it! However… I daresay my heroine, Ruth Drew was infinitely better. Ruth was a journalist and broadcaster who died very young, too young, but her broadcast scripts and writings were posthumously published.

Here is a selection of her advice on packing suitcases:

  • air the case by an open window or out-of-doors several days before packing is due. Brush the inside thoroughly
  • would cases benefit by treatment with leather soap or hide cream? Are all handles and locks secure?
    If a pleated skirt is part of your holiday kit,cut the foot from a worn-out stocking and pack the skirt sausagewise within, without folding. The sausage can, if necessary round a corner in the suitcase
  • don’t risk the disastrous jar and bottle breakages (she suggests tough, slightly pliable, light plastic containers, now to be had in every shape and size)
  • a good way of economising with tie-on labels is to write one’s surname at the top, in large clear letters just below the tag. At the other end write the destination. Then, when packing is done after the holiday, the label’s end can be snipped off and the home town inscribed above the snip!

Ruth also has a system for packing items in the case:

  • on the bottom of the case pack all heavy objects, keeping the layer as level as possible, wedging crannies with small objects
  • follow with woollies and underclothes
  • suits and bulky dresses go in next, folded to fit the exact size of the case and well-lined with double tissue paper to diminish creasing. Buttons and fastenings should be done up; and if the pleats are pinned or lightly tacked,so much the better
  • use more tissue paper for the top layer of fragile things such as light dresses and blouses

I must bear this in mind… although many of the things Ruth packed, pleated skirts, suits and woollies, I don’t possess. let alone take on holiday!



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