I have a confession to make. I am the worst over-packer. Like, I usually only wear about half of what I bring. If I’m going to be away for three days, you can bet that I’ll pack at least five shirts. I’m solidly in the what-if and just-in-case schools of thought.
And now that I have two kids it’s becoming a real problem. It’s gotten to the point that my husband has to check my packed suitcase before we leave.
We’ll only be gone for one night, he says. We don’t need to bring three pairs of pajamas for each kid, he says.
So tomorrow we’ll be going on what’s basically my nightmare packing scenario – a two week trip in a completely different climate. We are headed to Pittsburgh to visit my mom and my in-laws for the holidays. It’s like 23 degrees there!! What the fork am I going to wear?
Since I’ve been working with a streamlined capsule wardrobe for the past few months, I decided to take a crack at a minimalist approach to packing. For this trip, I will adhere to the ONE ITEM PER DAY rule. That is, I’m allowing myself to pack as many items as there are days in my trip. So for our holiday excursion, I’m limiting myself to 14 items for our 14 days in Pittsburgh.
My usual approach to packing is to wait until the night before we leave and jam a bunch of stuff into my suitcase without much thought. But in order for my one item per day method to work, I had to do some planning. Here are some general rules that helped me:
Plan in outfits // This is something I’ve never done before. Like I said, I’d just grab things out of my closet willy-nilly until my suitcase was full. That’s how I’d end up having seven t-shirts that would just live at the bottom of my suitcase for the duration of the trip. This time, I thought about what I will actually be wearing each day I’m away – travel days, relaxation days, party days – and I made sure to have outfits that would work for each.
Check the weather // This one is so obvious, right? But it’s something I needed to remind myself of when I found myself pulling out four t-shirts for this trip to Pittsburgh in the middle of December. It’s probably not going to magically warm up to 70 degrees while we’re there. But I snuck in one t-shirt just in case!
Pack items that can be worn with multiple outfits // Bringing double-duty pieces will make a smaller selection feel more generous. For example, I’ll be able to wear my cropped sweater with blue denim for a more casual day or with black denim for a slightly dressier look.
Plan on doing laundry // Sometimes I tend to ignore the fact that we’ll have access to washing machines when visiting family. I’ll pack enough to get through the entire trip without doing laundry. But if you plan on washing during your trip, you’ll be able to cut a few more items from your list.
Sleep on it // I made sure to pick out my 14 items a few days before we were actually leaving so I could mull over whether I actually wanted to bring them. My impulse add-ins didn’t seem so necessary after I had some time to think. I got rid of my patterned tunic that I’d probably only wear once and replaced it with a maroon sweater that is more comfortable. And more festive!
What I Packed
Basically, I grabbed all of the warmest clothing that I own. I dug out all of the sweaters that have been in storage under my bed for the past few years. Of course, I included my wool flannel, which I haven’t been able to wear much in San Diego because it has yet to be cool enough. A pair of sneakers and my only pair of boots for footwear. A few long sleeve shirts, a black tee to use as an undershirt, and a chambray for layering also made the cut. I limited myself to three bottoms, one blue jean, one black jean and a pair of leggings (mostly for comfort during the 8-hour travel days).
It’s a little sparse compared to what I’m used to packing. Hopefully it gets me through the next two weeks.
I’ll be trying to share some of my outfits on Instagram in between visits with family and friends, so stay tuned!
I hope you all have a great holiday!
Let’s chat. Are you an over-packer? Or do you have any tips for packing light?