As summer appoaches, many of us will hit the roads and skies. I’ve written about packing for an overnight or weekend trip and for a month long trip abroad. I went over the benefits of packing with less there as well, but we will revisit those in this post as well.
I am a recovering over-packer. This didn’t just happen when I had kids, as its pretty typical to want to be prepared for things that could happen with them. So we bring extra change of clothes, plenty of diapers, snacks, etc. But my whole life I have brought way too much stuff in way too many bags.
People jokingly say, “Everything but the kitchen sink” and that was definitely said about me. But what’s funny (or not), is that I basically was trying to bring everything. I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to be prepared in case of an emergency, an accident, etc. I wanted to be ready to have fun. I wanted to have options. I mistakenly thought that I needed all my things to be ready for any and every situation.
Some of the overpacking was simply a lack of thinking about how it was affecting my trips, but it was also a way for me to try and calm my nerves. The actual traveling is not what made me anxious, but the REASON for the trip, such as a job interview, meeting someone important, going to a different culture, etc. Out of that nervousness, I’ve thrown in additional items “just in case,” but really if I planned and packed accordingly, those things have been thought through.
With something fun like vacation or a trip to see a friend, it was usually just my bad habit of overpacking that caused the excess.
So what is so bad about packing too much?
-less freedom in movement as we travel
-we tend to have a mess at our destination
-the “choices” we brought can create unnecessary stress
What are some benefits of packing less?
-more time and freedom as we travel
-look less like a “tourist,” especially internationally
-fewer options means less stress in decision making
-chance to try living more minimalist lifestyle
Shortly after we decided to become minimalists a few years ago, we went on our first vacation in years. We were going to the beach without many extra activities planned. I knew I really wanted to keep it simple especially with packing. I was excited to really attempt to pack minimally.
So for a week vacation here’s what I took for myself:
•Two dresses (I wore one while traveling to our destination)
• Chambray shirt which was my one layering item…I always get cold.
• One pair of shorts
• One pair of athletic shorts
• Two t-shirts
• Two swimsuits
• Flip flops
• Toms classic slip ons
Here’s what I wrote on my previous blog about what I packed:
“I really could have gone without the athletic shorts. I ended up not running on the beach like I had envisioned. Why run when you can swim? Easier on the joints. I also could have really gotten by with only the two dresses. Also, just the sandals would have sufficed for footwear though I did wear the TOMS.”
I will also note that I could do laundry and did as I had packed minimally for my kids as well. I would much rather do a load of laundry than overpack and have stuff everywhere. After that trip of succeeding at packing really light, there’s been no going back.