With finals season getting closer and closer, it’s time to prepare for week-long competitions. Of course, this means prepping your routines, gathering costumes, and getting really good with your props. It also probably means getting excited about traveling. The only thing not exciting about traveling? Trying to pack for a week of fun and dance in as few bags as possible. Don’t worry. We have the perfect hacks for making packing for a dance competition easier than touching your toes.

Make a Checklist

Even if you don’t know everything you need to bring to the competition right now, start a list by laying out categories. You might include things like personal care/toiletries, everyday clothes, dance bag essentials, and electronics. As you get closer to packing time, you can start filling out each category so you can check each item off when you’re getting everything together.

Put Loose Earrings on Buttons

You’re at the competition. Your solo is in ten minutes. You’re missing an earring. We’ve all been there. Instead of digging frantically through your dance bag, to try to recover it, some pre-planning might save you from being under-accessorized at the last minute. Attach your earrings to large buttons. Depending on the size of your earring and the number of holes in the button, you might even be able to fit two pairs of earrings on each button. Put the buttons in your accessories case, and you’re all set to never lose an earring again.

Use Small Bags to Organize

It can be tedious to carefully tuck everything into your suitcase, but that’s how you save yourself space and time later. Remember those categories you made? For small things like chargers and socks and toiletries, having small zipper pouches to separate them into can be a game changer.

Roll Any Fabric

You’re looking at your suitcase, already filled with all your dance essentials. We know exactly what you’re thinking. “There’s no way my clothes are going to fit in there.” Think again! Try organizing your clothes into outfits. Then carefully roll these outfits up. These outfit roll-ups aren’t as delicious as the fruit variety, but they are space saving!

Use a “Drawer” System

This hack works especially well if you’re using packing cubes, but it can be useful even if you’re not. Instead of packing your things in stacks, pack them in “files”. (Channel your inner Marie Kondo.) You’ll be able to slip pouches and individual outfits and pairs of shoes out more easily if you can see everything from the top that if they’re underneath something else.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.