Don’t wait till next New Years Day to change your packing habits. Resolve today–right now–to pack light forever. Once you do, you’ll never look back.
There are a few simple guidelines that will make every trip easier. If Europeans can travel with those tiny 20-inch suitcases, the rest of us can, too. Or at least we can stop hauling monster-sized luggage.
8 Tips to Pack Light Forever!
1. Choose clothing fabrics wisely. No heavy wools or bulky fibers. Clothing should be foldable and crushable. Even winter coats are lightweight now; get one that fits into its own pouch. Select fabrics that wash easily and don’t absorb odors. Merino wool works well three seasons of the year.
2. Be prepared to do hand laundry or find a laundromat. When you pack light forever, you’re minimizing. But thanks to your wise choices in fabrics, washing is easy. I like laundry soap leaves; they’re always in my suitcase. Even consider the hotel laundry service, if your budget allows.
3. Pack according to the itinerary. For some reason, this is a stumbling block for many of us. We find ourselves rummaging through the closet and considering items that “might” be good/fun/cute. Stop! Only take your favorites: things that are comfortable and predictable. If you happen to meet a millionaire or get invited to tea by a queen, you can buy an appropriate outfit.
4. Choose a color scheme: This means 2-3 colors. Everything must match two other pieces. Period. This concept is now called a “capsule wardrobe,” the modern term for “mix-and-match.” Start with a basic color: black, gray, navy. Then add items and accessories of the other colors. Period.
5. Plan an outfit for every day. Admit it, you design your travel wardrobe in your head. That’s when too many items get packed. Instead, lay your clothes out and actually make the outfits, down to accessories. Do not include one extra thing–if it doesn’t match, it doesn’t go.
6. Go easy on the shoes. This is another toughie: do not pack “what ifs.” Multipurpose footwear is the goal. Athletic shoes are stylish, comfortable, and lightweight. Sandals? Sure…and ballet flats, too. Because you’ve planned your wardrobe down to the scarves and pins, you can find shoes that will actually be part of several outfits. Flip-flops are good for showers, beaches, and casual days.
7. Small carry-on suitcase…even if you’re checking it. The larger the suitcase, the more you’ll put in it. If you’ve carefully planned your wardrobe, everything should fit nicely into a standard carry-on. Decide if you prefer to fold or roll the clothing. Packing cubes keep everything organized.
8. It’s not about you… One of the hurdles to packing light is our need to impress others. We don’t like to wear the same thing every day or try to make a basic wardrobe look different by switching scarves. Or we don’t want to look like a tourist. Well, I’m here to tell you that we always look like tourists! And that is absolutely okay. As far as repeating outfits, that’s okay, too. If you’re on a tour, your co-travelers don’t care…they should be doing the same thing. And you’re seeing new places all the time–those locals really don’t care what you’re wearing, as long as it’s appropriate for the destination.
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