“I need to pack sunscreen, oh, and an umbrella, it might rain. I need jeans, shorts, and some dressy stuff, you know, depending on where we end up going. I’m going to take a couple extra shirts, cause what if I’m not feeling one of the ones I brought, or what if I spill something on one? Should I take a light jacket? Yes, I should take a light jacket. Comfortable shoes only..wait..no.. I’ll need heels if we go somewhere fancy. You know what, we are going to be doing so much, I’m going to bring these B vitamins I bought like three years ago. See, I knew I would use them!”
Raise your hand if someone came immediately to mind when you read that. Now take that hand and cover your face in shame if it was you.
Oh, the excitement of packing! The anticipation of seeing new places and being ready for anything and everything.
I must admit this was pretty much me ten years ago. I ALWAYS over-packed, and I would take really stupid shit. One time I packed a pair of hand weights, because, oh yeah, I was going to work out every day of my vacation. Yeah, right. I ended up wearing a pair of my dad’s sweats the ENTIRE time because the airline lost my suitcase. (I’m pretty sure they didn’t lose it, they never sent it because it was overweight.)
After that fiasco, it was time to embrace minimalist packing. And happy to report, I have yet to be on vacation and wish I had brought more stuff.
I’m preparing for a weekend trip to New Orleans, so I thought I would share how I pare down and take the bare minimum of things that I need. I’ve pretty much reversed the excitement from figuring out every little thing I might need, to figuring out every little thing I can leave behind.
Step One – Congratulations, You Have Made the First Cut
To begin, I take out all my cutest clothes and lay them all over the bed.
Step Two – I’m Sorry, You Are Up For Elimination
Time to start making cuts.
I’m only taking a small duffel bag since it’s just for the weekend. So the first criteria for elimination was anything that couldn’t be rolled up to fit in the bag. (Rolling, as opposed to folding, keeps your clothes from getting all wrinkled.) Since I avoid buying anything that needs an iron anyway, it only eliminated one skirt from the pile.
Next I started pairing up items into different outfits keeping an eye out for items that could pull double duty and be worn in two different looks.
I evaluated further by taking into considering how many days I would be there (3), what I knew I would definitely be doing those three days (Friday – flying, Saturday – probably a lot of walking around, Sunday – nice restaurant and flying again) and what the weather was going to be (hot, but thunderstorms every day, Yippee!). This information lead to quite a few eliminations.
After years of wearing jeans in the suffocating heat, I am finally embracing my big legs and refuse to hide them anymore. I don’t own any shorts, so skirt outfits became my focus.
So here is what I started with:
And here is where I ended:
Outfit for Friday, wearing a short skirt, tank and light blue hoodie.
Hoodie and tank from Friday will go with the maxi skirt I chose for Saturday. Sunday wearing a short dress and a light shawl.
Step 3 – Finishing Touches
I bought two cheap pairs of shoes (One $5, one $9) in a neutral color so that they will go with every outfit. And, since it’s going to storm, if one pair gets wet or ruined, I have a backup and neither pair cost me that much.
Changed out my regular sized purse for a small cross body bag. I’ll find a couple of pairs of earrings that go with every outfit and that will be it for jewelry. No bras (there are perks to not being well-endowed) and a pair of undies for each day.
Not taking a swimsuit, cause hello, thunderstorms. I highly doubt we will be getting in a pool. Pajama bottoms and a tank to sleep in, and I am all finished with what to wear.
Step 4 – Don’t Be A Diva
Other than clothes, this is all I’m taking:
I’m not taking any shampoo, conditioner or lotion because the hotel will supply those. Don’t even have to take a brush cause my hair is short and I just work it into place with my fingers most of the time anyway. And I tore a couple of samples of perfume out of magazines so I can smell designer pretty.
I plan on painting my nails a neutral color, cutting my hair, shaving and all that other stuff before I leave, so I don’t have to take anything extra concerning any of that.
Outside of cash, cards and phone, I’m done packing.
No checking bags at the airport, no worrying about leaving anything behind since I’m not taking anything I can’t replace easily. This equates to no stress.
Any other minimalists out there with more helpful hints? Any over-packers that think they will try going with less next time? Leave me a comment below. I love to hear from you!
Off to try my first beignet,