We all dream of minimalist packing: without baggage – physical or emotional. Who doesn’t want to stroll up to the airport with just a carry-on bag, no wasted time or money on that oversized suitcase, and trust your back won’t snap lifting a bag heavier than you? Good news, that can be you.
The holy grail of minimalist packing.
I just spent the last month traveling across the US & Europe with nothing more than a carry-on luggage. Now how’s that for minimalist packing?! Let me explain – that’s coming from someone who used to lug a 30-inch, 60-pound luggage around the world, relying on the kindness of strangers to help me lift that beast onto the weighing platform.
Here’s how I started minimalist packing:
#1: Pack for what you’ll be doing
Seems obvious, but it’s crucial if you want to pack minimalist. We’re all guilty of packing our favourite clothes, even if we don’t plan to wear them. Don’t let that beautiful new bikini you just bought inch its way into your suitcase if you’re headed to Canada for the winter.
#2: Keep quantities low
And manipulate the following numbers accordingly. (This doesn’t mean you should have 2 sets of each!) I like to keep maximum 5-7 changes of clothes handy.
Plan to re-wear a lot of bottoms. Unlike tops that retain more sweat and smell, bottoms can be worn so many times before washing, and no-one will notice – especially those made of Tencel!
Casual tops: 0-2
Formal tops: 0-2
Underwear: 5- 7 sets (unless you don’t mind going commando or want to #freethenipple, in which case, props.)
Outerwear: 0-1 (one dressy looking raincoat doubles well as a jacket for a night out and wind/rain protection ie. the UNIQLO block tech parka).
Note: To be ultra minimal, these clothes need to be as thin as possible so they can be compressed in your bag.
Shoes are the biggest culprits of draining your luggage space. Ladies, don’t bring heels. Unless you absolutely need them, they take up way too much space. Stick with:
Closed-toe pair of shoes: 1 (a nice pair of trainers or fashionable sneakers that work for long days of walking, working out and travelling.)
Open-toe shoes: 1 (flats or nice sandals work well for fancy events and water activities.)
#3: Choose Classic Colors
Choose a few colours that all match each other, and only pack those. Opt for solids over prints when you travel. This makes outfit matching easy because no matter what you choose, it will match. Plus, solids are perfect for minimalist fashion.
It’s not just what you pack, but how you pack. When packing, I like to sort my clothes into pre-planned outfits and roll them up tightly like crepes. This way, all I have to do is grab a bundle each day. Another way is to use packing cubes to keep everything tight. The secret to a small luggage is to compress, compress, compress!
#5: Packing Hacks:
- Bikinis can double as underwear
- If you’re packing another pair of shoes or a purse, stuff it with more items before fitting it into your bag
- Eye shades and ear plugs will save you if you have trouble sleeping/adjusting to timezones
- Stick to a small toiletry bag that fits the travel-sized essentials. Grab extra free samples from hotel rooms and use those when you travel. Don’t bring more than a few essential makeup items.
And that’s it! It is possible to travel with a luggage small enough it fits in the toilet stall with you. If you have any other secrets to traveling minimalist, we’d love to hear them below! Until next time.
Want more minimalist content? Check out: Minimalist Phone Usage in 5 Steps