I Use My Mom’s Clever Storage Tip to Keep My Suitcases Clean

published May 19, 2024
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Back when I used to sew more regularly, giving my mom gifts was super easy. All I had to do was make some zippered or drawstring pouches for her and she was thrilled. My mom loves to separate items in her purses and bags into small categories stashed in pouches. For instance, her cosmetic items all go in a zippered pouch, and tool-type items, such as a pocket knife and paper measuring tape, go in another.

While the pouches are great for organization, they aren’t only for keeping the contents of her purse in order and accessible. She also puts things in pouches to keep them clean and safe. For example, if she’s carrying a sweater, it will go in a pouch so that it doesn’t get dirty and it prevents it “from getting balled up,” as she would say. 

Yes, my family teases Mom (lovingly!) about her pouches all the time. But I will say two things: I’ve often used the things that Mom carries around with her and I’ve picked up the habit myself in certain instances, like when I use my big purse or our summer swim bag or when I’m traveling.

There’s another scenario, however, that uses Mom’s pouch logic on a bigger scale. The strategy of using a bag to keep things clean comes into play in an unlikely place: our luggage. Like Mom, my family stores luggage nested inside each other to save on space. But I cannot stomach putting, say, a carry-on directly into a check-in-sized larger bag because of the idea of the wheels getting all over the interior of the larger suitcase. It’s where I’ll be packing my clothes and other items and those wheels have been all over the airport, streets, and bathrooms. The thought of all that dirt making contact with my clothes is unappealing, to put it mildly. 

So, like Mom, I stick the smaller suitcase in a “pouch” — in this case, a large garbage bag. This is a kind of inversion of Mom’s rationale for purse pouches, which is to keep the contents clean; in this case, it’s to keep the interior of the container (the larger suitcase) clean. But the usefulness and wisdom of stashing things in bags before putting them in other bags is on full display. Once again, I have to thank my mom for passing on her thoughtful way of doing things.