Throwing together a getaway bag and packing for two full weeks of travel used to mean the same thing to me: pack everything.
Maybe I’m older now and consequently more well-traveled, or I possibly just grew tired of of travel companion’s making fun of me, but I’ve finally taught myself how to pack (moderately) lightly for quick trips.
Make a list.
Having a loose plan tends to keep me from spontaneously cramming eight different dresses into my suitcase, when realistically I might only need two (similar logic behind taking a list to the grocery store.) Not a spreadsheet, just jot down a bare bones map of what you intend on bringing. Most obviously, it also reduces the likelihood of leaving something behind. (Duh.)
Then, mark nothing off the list until it’s in the suitcase. (Think that’s a “duh” suggestion, too? See the time I almost left the country with no makeup, then try telling me to skip this step anytime soon. More on that here.)
It’s a balancing act.
Bring what’s reasonable without skimping too much. What this doesn’t mean is saving space by re-wearing underwear (come on common sense), but the little black sweater you wore through the airport might match your Saturday night dinner dress. Choosing garments that mix-and-match naturally will only build the flexibility of your weekend wardrobe. I find this most useful with shoes. A separate shoe suitcase isn’t always necessary when you bring simple shoes (note the use of adverb always).
Be creative, be hygienic, but be realistic. I also know myself, and I like options. When I get where I’m going and only have one dress to wear, inevitably it won’t be what I feel like wearing. But I don’t need my whole closet. I’ve learned to be satisfied by bringing a realistic handful of choices.
Get serious about the nook-and-cranny real estate of your suitcase. I like packing makeup, toiletries, jewelry, and tiny accessories into multiple small bags rather than one or two large ones. They fit more easily into tight corners and pockets, allowing every feasible amount of space to get used. Also, a dreaded lotion or conditioner explosion becomes so much less of a hassle when it doesn’t happen in the company of every getting-ready product you brought.
(Fun extra: for added product explosion security, I usually use a bit of tape to seal down the opening to explosion-prone bottles–especially when my luggage will be riding in the belly of an airplane.)
Share your packing ideas and tips with me, comment below!