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Unread 05-02-2013, 02:40 AM   #1
Kaliza
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Question Organizing your costumes/luggage?

Anyone have any suggestions for organizing your costumes/luggage for conventions? I have a con coming up and I have multiple costumes plus my lolita outfits. Plus I have several friends who I'm rooming with and we are also doing characters in a group and I am providing some parts of their costumes and lolita stuff for them to wear too...and they also asked to borrow some of my clothes for the dance. So I will be bringing a lot of stuff and really need a way to keep everything organized for the weekend, especially with other people possibly going through some of it as well... So any ideas or tips would be very helpful!
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Unread 05-02-2013, 03:11 AM   #2
Moonsong
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First of all, make sure you have the necessary luggage. If you're not in possession of a large suitcase, you may want to invest in one before the convention (or borrow from a friend or family member.) It is a lot easier to deal with one big suitcase (however heavy) than it is trying to maneuver several smaller ones in and out of cars/trains/ however you happen to be getting there.

This might sound silly, but make a list of EVERYTHING you need to take with you. Break it down by costume, and then make sure to include necessary items like your tooth brush, any medications, body wash, make up, etc. It is very easy to forget to bring something and I find that for me, creating a list beforehand helps a bunch. Gather all these items together and then start packing.

You may want to practice folding (as weird as that sounds) because there are ways to fold garments to make them smaller, as simply rolling them into a ball wastes valuable space in one's suitcase. I always start with undergarments and socks, then costume pieces that can be safely folded and stored, and eventually work my way up to wigs. Try to keep similar items together... Like, if you have a bunch of small accessories that go with your lolita outfit, for example, you may want to put them in a small baggie and label it accordingly. Bag your toiletries separately too, ESPECIALLY things like shampoo and body wash. Last year, I half-ass packed my suitcase and just kinda stuck my body wash in there last minute. During the trip down to Otakon, it spilled all over the inside of my suitcase and I had to wash nearly everything in the bath tub to get the soap out (including some of my costume parts, which were thankfully washable.)

You may realize that you'll need to take extra bags with you to accommodate your stuff anyway, which does end up happening sometimes. It can be a pain remembering which bag everything was in, but my advice is to just do your best, and then when you get to the convention, make use of the dresser drawers or the closet and put all your outfits together ahead of time. (Also, make sure your friends do this too if they are borrowing stuff from you.) This is to make sure that you and everyone else in the room has a cleaner space to get dressed in, thus making it easier to find things if they are misplaced. I have roomed with people who have basically strewn the contents of their luggage all over the entire room, and its a pain in the neck to hear people whining "Where is my wig/pants/contacts!? Are you sure you gave them to me!? I just had them..."

And a last tip about fragile items...I haven't had to truck too many of these back and forth between cons, but when I did, I usually just packed them in the car last and set them on top of all the other stuff so I could keep an eye on them.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 03:59 AM   #3
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Moonsong is very full of good advice here!

I use a large wheeled suitcase - cosplay costumes I've made a list of all the component parts and packed them together so I know all aspects are there. There's nothing worse than getting to the convention, getting ready in cosplay and realising you've forgotten one small aspect. One piece of jewelry or suchlike; while most people might not notice it's absence, you will. And that makes the cosplay less enjoyable.

(Though, I would say from experience, do *check* your wigs! For Katsucon I had packed a lilac wig without really checking it and only realised on getting there that I'd packed a short one for Lilith from Darkstalkers, and not the long one I needed for Feena Earthlight!)

I poly bag the wigs individually and put them in a separate compartment in the suitcase. The last thing you want is for them to get caught in zips, etc!

Unpack at the venue. If you're lucky enough to have space, either hang the cosplays straight away or lay them out with all the parts with them.

For transporting easily damaged flat props (I've done two cosplay swords and a staff weapon this way), I've found a padded rifle case is a really good investment! Does it look a bit odd walking into a hotel with a rifle case? Yes. No stranger than most things during the weekend I still make sure this goes into the car on top of other things so there's no crush damage though.

Don't forget the non cosplay things! Regular clothes, maybe something smarter if you're going out to an unfamiliar more up-market restaurant. Cosplay emergency repair kit too! (I have a large fishing tackle box with emergency threads, needles, super glue, hot glue gun, etc, which travels separately.) I have been to some conventions that have a "cosplay repair center" room where you can do emergency sewing things, but there's been times when I'm half in an outfit and just need some safety pins or suchlike!
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:11 AM   #4
Kaliza
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I have large suitcases, but last year I had everything in them and it all got jumbled up so it was hard to find things when I needed them (especially with my friends pulling stuff out to wear) so I was hoping there might be a better way to pack it all.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:58 AM   #5
ladysphinx07
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I usually like to put my costume pieces grouped together in bags. I try to label everything on the outside by writing on tape and then sticking it to the bag. Then when I get to the con, I pull out the bags out of my suitcase and have the necessary things grouped together. For larger pieces/things that I really don't want wrinkled, I will just pack them normally and when I get to the hotel, I immediately take them out, press and hang them up in the closet.

The other habit I have is separating my suitcase into costumes and non-costume sections. So half of my suitcase will have my pjs, casual clothes, etc. and the other half will be strictly for costumes, that way things don't get jumbled up. You can even literally section them off with a piece of cardboard, but I find it doesn't really make too much of a difference to me.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
ShaylaTheRoo
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Honestly, I second the idea of just fitting as much as possible per suitcase - try to leave as little "wiggle room" as possible so things don't get jumbled up - and once you arrive, unpack things into the dresser/closet in the room, especially the things that other people plan on borrowing so that they're all out of the way and already sorted out.

Trust me, I went through four years of travel with high school groups - including costumes - and making use of the dressers and closets helps a LOT with organization with lots of people in the room. There's no way to pack that suitcase that's going to make it easier when other people will be needing things from it, unless you know exactly what order things will be needed in and nothing will require special packing (like going toward the top) to be sure it doesn't get crushed.

Everyone in my room will have luggage and two costumes this year, and after last year where I didn't attempt to use the closet/dresser AT ALL, I'll be making sure we organize a bit better and coordinate some unpacking so that we've all got our costume stuff easy to access each day.

Plus, when you unpack everything that way, when you're done with something you can go right ahead and repack it (unless it needs to be hung up to air out or something first, or if it's delicate and needs to be packed with care). That can go a looooong way towards making your checkout day easier.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:40 AM   #7
Moonsong
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All good ideas here.

Personally, I wouldn't let people just rifle through my things because its very easy for something to get lost that way (and it messes up any neat packing you may have done). It might be better for you to communicate with your friends once you get to the con, find out who is borrowing what, and just give them those items ahead of time.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 04:11 PM   #8
Dalibar
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Everyone made great suggestions, don't think I can add much more but I'll edit this post if I think of anything ^_^

All I can say is I find it helps with packing if I wear a cosplay to and from the con.

Make sure you bring an extra bag (like a reusable grocery bag or something...maybe a backpack?) for things you might buy AT the con like prints or what-not. My friend had a pretty genius idea and brought a poster-tube she had laying around the house with us to put our prints in! I think you can just grab those at any office supply store, and maybe Micheals.

Also, if you need a suitcase, check your local goodwill. At the one by me they ALWAYS have good ones for $4-7 each.

Don't. Forget. To pack. Food....and water. Keep yourself alive, please ^_^ PJB's, apples, carrots and peanut butter, turkey sandwiches...all make great healthy snacks that can slide into a purse or bag while you hike through a convention. They also save you money (and calories!) vs. eating out.
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Last edited by Dalibar : 05-02-2013 at 04:16 PM.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #9
Kaliza
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O also if anyone has any tips on things to remember to pack that are easy to forget, that is great too thanks! Like I have to remember to buy some safety pins, and a little sewing kit for emergencies... An extra bag is also a good idea.

I have plenty of room in the car so I don't have to worry about how many bags I am bringing.

I guess I should try to lay claim to the drawers in the room, for the best way to keep things organized while there... I definitely will be using the closet, since my lolita clothes need to be hung up.
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Last edited by Kaliza : 05-02-2013 at 05:33 PM.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 12:25 AM   #10
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Lots of good advice here that I'll be using when it comes time to pack my costumes for AX. Definitely keep all costume pieces (that aren't props) together in a bag. It doesn't have to be a fancy garment bag, a big enough trash bag works just fine with a label on each bag so that you know what's what.

Also, bobby pins are very handy for wigs as well...make sure to pack those as well. If you plan to hang any costumes in the closet, I would definitely bring your own hangers from home or buy some for con (I think you can get 10 for about $2-3 at Target) because hotels only have so many hangers per room.
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Unread 05-06-2013, 02:52 AM   #11
Kaliza
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So I was making lists of costumes and I added it all up and in total I will be bringing NINE costumes! They're not all for me of course, I have several friends and we are doing several group cosplays and I am bringing the costumes or parts of their costumes for most of them...so it adds up quickly! That's not even including my lolita outfits which I'm bringing several because at least two of my friends want to borrow them...plus all the shoes, eek!
I might end up giving some of them some of the costume stuff ahead of time for them to pack themselves, but if it's something that wrinkles easily I will bring it myself because I don't trust them not to bunch it into a ball and toss in a suitcase :P
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Unread 05-09-2013, 08:58 PM   #12
KirinKirin
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first of all make a list of them. x character: wig, skirt, contacts etc. then put all of them together, if you can, put every different costume in small packages.

Also, are you going to carry all of 9 costumes? good luck..
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Unread 05-16-2013, 09:02 PM   #13
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I'm in the same boat as you, nine cosplays as well as a bunch of casual clothes, makeup, props the whole nine yards. Large suitcases are INCREDIBLE.

I sat down with my friend a head of time and together we made a list of EVERYTHING we needed for all costumes from shoes to wig, as well as things like makeup, props, medicine, everything we needed to bring. We then went through the list gathering everything up and sorting it into a pile for every costume. That way we KNEW we had everything. We ended up needing two suitcases to store everything, mostly because one of the costumes is a giant wedding dress, and another requires a set of juggling clubs. So you'll proboblby be able to get away with one. But anyways, we used one suitcase for all the clothing, and costumes. The other was filled up with the rest of the stuff we needed.

Also: If you're worried about wrinkling most hotels have an iron you can use, you can also hang the garment up in the bathroom (on the back of the door) when someone's taking a hot shower. That'll get the wrinkles out.
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Unread 05-17-2013, 01:41 AM   #14
Darkdreamyr
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Large garment bag with wheels is very useful for packing all the costumes in. My friend found it at some thrift store and then I ended up with it. It has all these pockets for smaller pieces, a pop-out knob for stuff on hangers that locks into place, and folds in half with straps so it can be rolled along like a huge suitcase. We've managed to stuff 5 costumes in it this year.
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