A Recovering Overpacker’s 12 Steps to Lighting the Load
I have to admit. I am a recovering over packer. You know the person. The one holding up the airport check-in line as they frantically transfer anything remotely heavy from suitcase to carry-on. Praying in vain the scale will somehow come in under the 50-pound limit thinking, “if I just remove these sandals and shove them in my pockets, it will take off at least 10 pounds”
For years, I’ve struggled with my larger-than-life suitcase… up winding staircases, through crowded train terminals, over European cobble stoned streets, and countless times a cab driver has lifted my bag and winced, “what do you have in here, rocks?”
Here are my 12 steps for over packing recovery:
- Roll your clothes. You can roll a summer sundress into a 2×6 cube (about the size of a small bratwurst sausage)
- Coco Chanel said, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” Same goes for packing.
- There’s nothing wrong with repeating. Wear those jeans day and night. They can handle it. So can you.
- Stick with a basic color scheme, blacks, browns, and a few colorful tanks and scarves.
- Bring lots of fun accessories like earrings and necklaces. They take almost no room!
- If in doubt, leave it at home!
- Make a list. Check it twice. Stick to it.
- Winter trips are a bit trickier. I like to bring just one coat and carry it on the plane. It makes a good pillow, blanket or back rest.
- Bring a small amount of laundry detergent. Hand wash tanks, tees and under garments in the sink. They will dry over night.
- Buy travel size of everything, even eye drops. If you run out, you can always buy more. Besides, Its kind of fun shopping in a French drugstore, or as they say, la pharmacie.
- Don’t pack to capacity. Leave room for items you pick up along the way.
- Here’s a toughie: whether you travel for two weeks or two months, pack exactly the same.
I’m not a packing pro. I still have a ways to go. But I’ve really lightened up over the years. And you know what? I didn’t miss my stuff. In fact, it’s quite freeing!