How to Pack Less: Tips from a Minimalist Traveller

How to Pack Less: Tips from a Minimalist Traveller

When it comes to packing, less is more. Want to perfect the minimalist’s suitcase? This foolproof guide will help you weed out the items you won’t wear, make the most of your capsule wardrobe and become a packing pro. Marie Kondo, eat your heart out.

much packing space do you really need? Short answer: not
that much. Long answer… we’ll get on to that. First, let’s pose a
question: what percentage of your wardrobe do you think that you
wear on a regular basis, say, within the last year?

Many people give answers around the 60 per cent mark, but the
truth is that most of us are only utilising about one fifth or less
of our wardrobes. A 2018 survey of 18,000 people from 20 countries
found that people in the UK use just 27 per cent of their wardrobe –
meaning three quarters of our clothes go virtually unused – while
US citizens neglect an estimated 82 per cent of their threads.

With these statistics in mind, it’s likely that if we pack for a
holiday in the same way that we shop, we’ll end
up bringing more clothing than can possibly be worn in the span of
a trip, be that two days or two weeks.

How to decide what to bring

Deciding which items of clothing to take on a trip can be
difficult. Holiday like a minimalist with these four tips.

1. Separate your clothes

Before you so much as look at your suitcase, you should identify
the 27 per cent of clothing that you actually wear and separate it
from the 73 per cent of your clothing that never sees the light of

2. Leave the “maybes”

Only pack items (clothing or otherwise) that you will use
frequently. There is no room in the minimalist traveller’s bag for
just-in-case items or dresses that you haven’t worn in two

3. Pack for the weather

After removing the maybes, take what remains and divide it by
season, axing the items that are not seasonally appropriate for
your destination. A third of your wardrobe is likely to be
unsuitable for your destination’s climate.

4. Pick your favourite three

Now that you’ve narrowed your clothes down to seasonally
appropriate items you’ll actually wear, the next step is to select
your favourite three of each. Pick out your favourite three shirts,
favourite three dresses, favourite three trousers. (You can be more
liberal with underwear.) Why threes? You can use any number really
(provided it fits into your bag), but I’ve found that having three
of everything provides more than enough outfit combinations (27 to
be precise) to keep you from feeling bored with your wardrobe.
Still not sure which three items to pick? Read on…

Tips for creating a versatile travel wardrobe

Now that you have a selection of weather-appropriate clothing
you love, it’s time to assess your options in order to choose the
best three of each item.

1. Balance plain and patterned clothing

Counter bold, vibrantly patterned pieces with non-patterned
items. Busy garments may be difficult to pair with other highly
patterned pieces, so have some of both.

2. Choose a colour theme

Choosing a colour palette will maximise your wardrobe’s
cohesiveness. Chances are your pieces already have a certain theme,
so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

3. Pack versatile pieces

Refrain from packing garments that can only be worn with a
certain jacket, for instance, or other items that are difficult to
match. Pack pieces that can be easily paired with a range of items
from your wardrobe.

4. Take advantage of accessories

Throw in an accessory or two for added variety – a light
cardigan, a couple of pieces of jewellery or a hat. Accessories add
character to your travel wardrobe and can be used to give the same
outfit a brand new look.

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