How to (Finally) Master Light Packing
I’ve been a bag lady for as long as I can remember. I have distinct memories of sleeping over at cousins’ houses as a young child with a bag of clothes as well as a bag of toys (my Barbies, her clothes, etc.) It was never just me. I don’t think I was ever low-maintenance, even as a snotty-nosed 5-year old!
But one day, that ended. Almost magically.
Maybe it was the years of moving from apartment to apartment, lugging all my stuff back and forth that wore me thin. But that particular summer, while in the midst of a relationship break-up, I went to Jamaica on a whim, all by myself for a yoga retreat. It was my first time leaving the country with just a carry on! I felt so liberated. While in Jamaica, of course, I learned the importance of honoring yourself and how un-important material items are. I felt so at peace after being in such inner turmoil during the latter part of my long-term relationship. That feeling of peace stuck with me! Months after my Jamaica retreat, I went to Florida with my cousin for six days and I packed ALL of my belongings in a BACKPACK. I was immensely proud of myself; I felt free as a bird and not weighed down by any baggage (pun intended).
That was a year of significant growth for me, and I realized what I want versus what I need. I don’t want to go back to being a bag lady. I once went to Europe for a week and packed 27 pairs of underwear. Why do I even own 27 pairs of underwear?! Packing light is so doable once you’re willing to change and commit.
Here is my To-Do checklist when packing:
My skin is very sensitive and reactive to new products, so despite being a product fiend, I’ve finally accepted my go-to's and have stuck with them. So, I make sure to always have mini toiletry bottles on hand and fill them with my favorite cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream, exfoliant. I like to put toner in mini spray bottles; that makes it nice and convenient! (Also, a nice little in-flight treat to keep you hydrated)
I start with the basics–socks, underwear, bras, pajamas–and then work my way into clothing - camis, tees, etc. I like to pack one pair of underwear per day, then add two extra just in case!
I always get cold when I sleep so I pack comfy, cotton pajamas, and then usually wear the sweater that I bring for the plane to bed instead of packing two. For bras, I like to wear a more sturdy, shapely bra on the flight and then pack 1 bralette/bandeau. (Again- this all depends on the length of your trip.)
The clothes you pack depend on your style, the destination and the weather!
I recently returned from Miami (photos of my clothing choices below), a trip for which I included beachy-loungewear along with two nicer dinner/going out looks. For example, I wore a distressed denim skirt with my loafers, a billowy, bohemian top and my fedora for brunch. At night, when I met my friends, I wore the same skirt with heels, a cropped cami, and an oversized blazer. Same skirt, two very different outcomes!
I’m not a big “workout on vacay” type of person (especially for a quick weekend trip), so I left the sneakers at home. But if you’re dedicated to the gym, you should travel in your sneakers
or the chunkiest footwear you plan to pack, i.e. boots. I took a pair of flip-flops, a pair of high heeled sandals, and my loafers, which I actually wore on the flight and during most of my trip.
I’m not going to get into specific details of clothing choices (aside from a photo from my last trip) because I think it really depends on the person and what you intend to get out of your trip!
But, my No. 1 rule to packing-light is ROLLING your clothes. I know that there is an ongoing debate about whether or not this method really saves room, but rest assured–it does! Take my word for it: this method of packing has changed my life!
Last but not least, be sure to have separate pouches to store and organize your smaller goods–one for jewelry, toiletries, makeup, etc. They fit like puzzle pieces in a carry on!
So, to reiterate, when packing start with the basics, pack items that can be mixed & matched and worn more than once, roll your clothes, & pack by outfit! Take the time to try every outfit on as you pack- it sounds tedious but is so worth it!
Also, don’t forget a plastic bag for laundry (the hotel will usually provide this), and be sure to have a packable tote bag on you just in case you do a little shopping and run out of room on the way back.
Xx D @bitchybitici