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These awesome tips will help you to pack like a minimalist and leave the extra at home!
Are you an overpacker? Tired of bringing multiple bags on your trips? Do you find yourself wondering how to pack like a minimalist?
As a former overpacker (you have to be prepared for anything, right?), I have learned how to significantly reduce the amount of stuff I take with me. It’s been a process! I am by no means a true minimalist. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great lessons to be learned to make traveling lighter and easier. These are all the details of how to pack like a minimalist I’ve cultivated over the years and tips I actually use.
By following these tips to pack like a minimalist, you’ll be ready to lighten your load too.
This post is all about how to pack like a minimalist.
Pack Like A Minimalist
Not every trip requires you to pack like a minimalist. These tips can be used to help you pack less in general, not just the bare minimum. The best part about packing less? You can unpack quicker!
1. Lay Everything Out
Have you ever organized your closet to hang like items together only to realize that you own far too many t-shirts? Or jeans? Or leggings? Laying out what you want to pack on a trip is kind of like that.
When you set everything out in front of you in categories (clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc.), you have a visual of how much stuff you are wanting to cram into your luggage. This is the time to assess if what you have laid out is really necessary.
Maybe a couple shirts are too similar and one will do. Maybe you can leave your blow dryer home and settle for what the hotel offers or skip the blow dry all together. Or maybe you didn’t realize how much everything you wanted to bring actually added up when put all together.
Laying everything out will also help you be a better packer. This allows you to place less used or heavy items on the bottom of your luggage, and visualize what you can cram into hollow pockets, like the inside of your shoes.
2. Clothing Choices To Pack Like A Minimalist
It’s so easy to overpack clothing. But here are a few great strategies you can use to be more minimal with your outfits.
Mix & Match Clothing
By packing clothing that can be mixed and matched with several other clothing items, you automatically create more wardrobe choices. Choose a couple of base colors that act as neutrals, such as gray, black, white, beige, navy blue, light pink, cognac or cream. Everything piece of clothing should match at least 2 other pieces you are bringing with you. Leave any single use item home.
Less Is More When Packing Like A Minimalist
Consider packing layers to lessen your load, especially if you can leave bulky clothing home. Camisoles and long sleeve shirts are great slim profile pieces for layering. Also choose fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily so there isn’t a need for ironing or steaming a garment. Pack light weight jackets that are also super warm, like this highly rated compact puffer jacket.
PRO TIP: Less is more when it comes to packing clothing like a minimalist, except for underwear. Don’t skimp on packing undies! Not only is washing your undergarments in a sink just not the same, you never know when you will need an extra pair.
Double the Purpose
Having a dress that can be worn with a light jacket or sweater when cool, layered with a t-shirt or on its own is 3 looks with 1 dress. Stylish pajamas can be worn as loungewear. A button up shirt can double as a swim cover up. A great pair of comfortable flip flops can serve as house slippers on tile floor.
It’s so tempting to pack the perfect shoe for every outfit. But shoes are among the bulkiest things you will pack. Most minimalists will pack 2-3 pairs of shoes, depending on the length of travel and what the travel activities are.
You will want a comfortable, stylish shoe that can be worn with multiple outfits and styles of clothing. A pair of sneakers for outdoor activities or days of long walking or hiking is also a good idea. I always bring my comfy flip flops because I don’t like to go barefoot, they can get wet and they match most things I wear in warmer weather.
3. Bring 2-in-1 Products To Pack Like A Minimalist
Extend duo purpose items beyond clothing. Use a makeup stick that works as a blush and lip color. Invest in a hair tool that does more than one thing. I love the L’ange 2-in-1 straightener and curling iron and use it all the time, especially when traveling.
My husband is a huge fan of a shampoo bar, a 2-in-1 bar for hair and body. These take up less space than packing travel sized shampoos. Plus, they are eco friendly and don’t count as a liquid in your carry on!
Another great option for a 2-in-1 product is a buff or Boho Band. Not only is it super light and pliable, but it’s also great to use in place of a scarf, as a head covering, an eye mask in a pinch or as a headband. Use it for pulling your hair back while washing your face. These are inexpensive and easy to find from Amazon to designer. My daughter has had hers for years.
PRO TIP: Keep it simple. Skip the eye shadow palette with twelve choices and bring neutral and multi-use hair accessories instead.
4. Pack Minimal Accessories
Accessories pull an outfit together, so leaving the perfect-for-that-outfit ones home may not be your cup of tea. But to pack like a minimalist, you want to bring only a few accessories that can mix and match with your clothing. Above are my go-to accessories. I wear the necklace everyday. The super light weight wooden earrings from Prague have been part of my regular rotation for over ten years, and silver hoops match most things I wear.
This also means packing only 1 pair of sunglasses, 1 purse/bag, 1 belt, etc. I admit that this is difficult for me too. It’s probably the last overpacking habit I had to get over. But I still often take a wristlet with me in addition to my main purse/bag. It’s just so convenient for so many situations!
5. Organize To Pack Like A Minimalist
Anyone else love to organize? Packing like a minimalist requires some organization. Packing cubes keep your clothing organized and tidy. I personally don’t use them for short trips, but anything longer than 4 day, and I break those bad boys out. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on these, but you do get what you pay for, so if you’ll use them often, invest in quality packing cubes. I love my Calpak packing cubes the most, and I have several, from other quality ones like Eagle Creek to inexpensive Amazon ones.
Smaller bags and pouches are also great for corralling random travel items. We’ve used the Dakine accessory case for toiletries and for GoPro attachments. Zippered pouches are perfect for small items like chapstick, mini flashlights and anything you don’t want rolling around loose in your luggage.
6. Personal Item Doubles As Purse/Day Pack
Choose your personal item wisely! To pack like a minimalist, this bag should also be your purse or day pack when you arrive at your destination. If you can easily fit a smaller “escape bag”, such as a small crossbody purse or sling, go for it. The idea is to keep it simple and easy to use.
For an upcoming vacation, I am taking a travel backpack with a trolley sleeve and my Béis wristlet. The wristlet is a wallet, a passport holder and can be converted to a crossbody purse.
7. Read On Your Kindle
Physical books are heavy and bulky, and I’ve actually left several behind when leaving a destination. Still, I really prefer an actual book over a kindle. But for longer trips, I’ll take my Kindle since I love to read. You can buy used and refurbished Kindles on line if you want to try it and not pay for the newest model. However, if you use it often like my mom and many of my friends, the newest version of the Kindle is worth the money.
8. Limit Your Medications To Pack Like A Minimalist
So this advice goes against my always be prepared mantra and my go-to medicine kit. But hear me out. If you are only packing for a weekend or shorter trip, you can bring a couple of doses of medications and leave the rest at home.
I keep a very small travel container of pain relievers, migraine medication and a couple antacids in my purse. If this is enough for you, then this is all you need to bring. I still take my medicine kit because I it’s compact and stocked, and I’m usually packing it for my family as well.
Be sure to pack your full dose of prescription meds!
9. Be Mindful Of Snacks To Pack Like A Minimalist
It can be tempting to load up on snacks when traveling, especially if you have blood sugar issues like me. When you are driving, this isn’t such a big deal. But for flying, too many snacks can take up a lot of room in your carry on bag. Bring small, compact snacks like granola bars and nuts, and avoid puffy packages like chips.
10. Wear Your Bulkiest Clothing While Traveling
To save space in your luggage, wear your bulkiest clothing on your travel days. If bringing boots, wear them, don’t pack them. That sweater you love? Wear it. Several smaller items fit in the place of these heavier ones. Plus, your luggage may even weigh less!
Hopefully you have some ideas to use to help you pack like a minimalist. May your next adventure be easier to manage and effortless to unpack!
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