How To Avoid Overpacking ?
Create A Checklist
Packing is similar to grocery shopping. When I create a packing list, I tend to stick to the things on my list instead of just freely picking out things.
When packing, if you catch yourself trying to pack things that you won’t normally use on a daily basis, then you probably don’t need it. Whenever I travel, I don’t know why I pack 10 different lipsticks, when I don’t even wear lipstick on a regular basis. Do you really need 5 pairs of jeans for a 3 day trip? You’re probably not going to shit your pants everyday, so maybe just bring 2 pairs.
Backpack Or Luggage
You do not need to bring a large luggage every time you go somewhere. This is key to avoid overpacking. The less space you have, the less stuff you’ll bring.
My general rule:
- If it’s less than than 3 days, use a backpack
- If it’s around 4-7 days, use a carryon size backpack/luggage
- If it’s 7+ days, use a carryon backpack or a medium-sized luggage
- If it’s over 2 weeks, I would still recommend a carryon backpack or medium/large-sized luggage.
I don’t think there’s ever really a need for a large to extra large size unless you’re moving. Doing laundry is always an option.
I challenge you to only bring a carryon backpack for a 2-week trip!
It’s all preference really. If you are traveling for a long period of time, I would suggest a 40L backpack.
The one my husband and I used for backpacking in SE Asia is this REI backpack. If you think you’ll be buying a lot of things while abroad, then bring a big luggage and leave space for all the souvenirs.
Use packing cubes. It’s basically a way to organize your clothes and stuff in smaller bags, and some are even compressible. You can buy them anywhere from Amazon to Marshalls. They save so much space and makes organizing clothes so much easier. You can also use large Ziplock bags as an alternative.
Do NOT Roll Your Clothes
Despite what anybody says, do not roll your clothes. Fold the Mari Kondo way. Watch her videos on youtube on how to properly fold clothes. Her way takes the least space. Here is a link to her shirt folding video.
Underwear And Bras
My general rule: (Underwear x the number of nights) + 3 for emergencies.
1 bra for 2-3 days. If it’s summer or you’re engaging in some kind of physical activity, then bring 1 per day but bring a mixture of regular bras and sports bras. They don’t take a lot of space anyway
Bring only 2 pairs of shoes + shower shoes. You read that right. I typically bring some type of tennis shoes or boots (depending on the climate) and a pair of sandals. *Chucks are the worst for walking. They look cute, but don’t even pack those.
- Summer: 1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of shower shoes
- Winter: 1 pair of boots, 1 pair everyday casual walking shoes, 1 pair of shower shoes
I have definitely overpacked and brought 5 pairs of shoes to a two week before, and I was very miserable. I only used 1 pair and I had to lug around a heavy suitcase everywhere.
Toiletries vary so much per person. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to bring everything. If you forget something, you can probably buy it wherever you are going. Do not forget special items that you need like contact solution or maybe a special pimple ointment.
Do not bring more than 2. No one cares if you wear the same coats over and over. Wear the heaviest jacket or coat if you’re flying. I typically pack a coat and my raincoat.
Think of different pieces that are interchangeable, can be layered and can be used multiple times. The pieces that I always pack for every trip are black jeans, lightweight tops, a flannel, and black leggings.
If it’s summertime where you’re going to it’s easier to pack more things since everything is lighter and thinner. I usually pack dresses, jean shorts, gym shorts, and tops.