My brother is spending a semester abroad and my mum and I looked him up this past weekend. I challenged myself to pack as little as possible. Packing for a short trip can be just as hard as for a long one, since you might be inclined to stuff your bag with more things ‘because you’re not gonna stay long anyway so you might as well take this and that too’. (I’ve been there…) So I’d like to share with you my packing list for a long weekend trip, as well as some general packing tips. Here we go – pun intended ;)
This is what I packed. I wore the raincoat, the scarf, the jeans, a button-down and a tank when traveling so those weren’t even in my suitcase.
2 tank tops
2 basic t-shirts
Using these items I was able to create at least three outfits to get me through the weekend. I wore all of the clothes I brought except one of the t-shirts. I was pretty relieved to see I could actually do with just these items of clothing!
Through this challenge I learned some things about packing less. Ready?
1. Wear layers.
This might be a no-brainer, but packing items that can be layered is a great way to pack less. You will be prepared for a lot of weather types, and because you can vary the items you won’t feel like you’re wearing the same thing all the time. Tanks, shirts, cardigans can be added as the weather cools down. This works best when your layers match each other. Who needs three wooly jumpers when you can have all kinds of different items instead?
2. Work your way around an item.
If you absolutely NEED a certain piece of clothing to go with you, use it as a starting point to build your outfits – and thus packing – around. It’s even better if this item is a versatile one!
For me, a good pair of shoes is essential on a trip, as there is often quite some walking involved. This means I would go for flat, comfy, leather (because water and cold resistant) shoes and choose the rest of my outfit accordingly. It also means that some items that I’d love to take, will need to stay home since they don’t match. But getting over that is simple: a) You will certainly have other cute items that DO match, and b) when push comes to shove, you will probably regret leaving an essential item home in favour of a piece of clothing you might only wear once. Think about it ;)
3. Easy on the accessories.
Once you have your outfits put together, have a good look at what accessories you’re planning to take. Less is definitely more in this case too. Take staple pieces that go with your chosen outfits and be critical. For example, I would either choose a statement necklace or statement earrings – alternatively I would take both but make sure they match. I also like to remind myself that wearing jewellery is better than having it sit in your toiletry bag, where it can be easily damaged.
Deciding what bag or purse to bring can be another hurdle. Think: what activities will you be doing and what will you want to bring there? A good starting point is choosing one day bag and one night bag. I’m always lugging my camera around everywhere. This means I will need a day bag that holds at least that, next to essentials such as wallet, phone, pen, lip balm, book, etc (uhm yes I bring a book pretty much everywhere :D). At night, I might not take my camera or my day bag might be too big to bring, for example to a nice restaurant or a museum. For those occasions I will pack a small purse that won’t take up room in my suitcase but can hold my small essentials. (Bye, book…) Again, make sure these accessories go with your outfits.
So, are you ready to pack less on your next trip? What I really love about minimalist packing is that you start to look at your wardrobe in a different way. For example, I had a hard time at first picking the shoes for this trip. But after convincing myself with the when-push-comes-to-shove argument, I started realising I have a couple pairs of seemingly everyday shoes that I could never wear comfortably for an entire day, let alone a few consecutive days! A good reason to purge my shoe collection soon. I ended up taking the ones in the picture, by the way :)
Let me know your great packing tips!