Packing is a hassle. Let’s be honest. I have yet to hear one person say “Yaaay! I am going to pack! I am soooo looking forward to this!” I have been thorough a lot of packing. I used to officially live out of a suitcase for years because of my work, my life took me to Hong Kong for a year and most recently I moved to the Netherlands and then in the Netherlands I moved twice. In a year. As a consequence I basically have packing down to an art.
That is why I wanted to share my 6 steps for smarter packing with you. It will get easier, it will never be particularly fun!
1. Plan outfits ahead
About a month before I am leaving on vacation I start planning. Yes, I make a list. For example if I particularly like an outfit I am wearing and it is suitable for where I am going, I note it down. I think about what I need in terms of where I will go and when jot things down as I wear or think of them. Even if you are going to a completely different climate, I would still make a list of all of the different outfits that come to mind. Don’t forget jewelry, shoes, bags and other accessories.
2. Get your shopping done well in advance
If you know you need to pick up some stuff, like a new play suit, sunscreen, bikini, or in my case a new pair of hiking shoes, do it well in advance. This gives you time to shop for the best options, to try stuff out and not to buy stuff you won’t need. It also means that you won’t have to buy stuff at your destination, which can sometimes be the more expensive option. The most expensive pair of socks I ever bought was ones I just had to buy in a ski resort because I forgot to take all of the ones I had. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Make a list
Going from your outfit ideas and things that you know you will need, make a list. I like to do this well in advance to make sure that I don’t miss anything. I usually make a new list for each trip although you can also “recycle” lists. Think about what you need in terms of skincare, makeup, clothes, shoes, accessories, meds, special equipment etc. Jot it down, add, delete, once you are done and happy, start packing.
4. Lay out your outfits (I am going to call this optional)
I have an intermediary step before I actually start packing and that is to lay out my outfits and accessorize them. That way I know that I am packing everything I need, right down to accessories and shoes. It also helps me keep packing to a minimum. Instead of throwing 5 necklaces because they don’t take a lot of space, I plan what I am going to wear with each outfit and take less.
5. Pack only what is on your list
Once you do start packing pack only what is on your list. This helps keep things to what you know you need, not what you think you can take.
This one is tricky because it is easy to go completely overboard when packing it. Making a list is critical; cover your basics and then work with them. You don’t need to go overboard and think about how you can use one product for more than one thing. For example, on powder for setting and touching up, see if you can use your lightest shimmery eyeshadow as a highlighter or a darker one for your brows.
So there you have it, my strategy to keeping packing easy and efficient. I have been much happier with my packing since I have taken this more systematic approach, I find that I have something to wear for every occasion rather than packing my favorite sweater only to find out that I have nothing to wear it with. This is also the way that I keep my packing to a minimum.