I don't know about how you normally pack for a trip, but Mr L always accused me of being a bag lady. Just because he can survive a fortnight with little more than a toothbrush and a pair of flip flops, he seems to think that anything over one small bag for holidays is excessive. Perhaps in the past I've packed more than I needed or used, and I do still have a strong 'just incase' instinct that pops up every time I pack for a trip, but over the years, I've learned how to hone down my packing to make sure I can actually zip up my case and everything in it has earned it's place.
We recently took a trip to the sunshine island of Ibiza. It was just for a few days, but in that time we packed lots in, including time with the family, a family wedding, and a client colour consultation. Half my case was given over immediately to my work kit; taking my drapes and swatches with me meant that I had even more limited space than usual for my own clothes. So, I reached out to my club members for their top tips on how to pack light, and combined their tips with my own. It worked like a charm, and I managed to have everything I needed in a hand luggage sized case. So, if you'd like some ideas for getting organised and travelling light this summer, here's our top ten tips for saving space, time and sanity:
1. Write a list
Always start with a list. I write a list for my kids, and by writing it out for then it helps stop me worrying that I'm forgetting important things, like a toothbrush, underwear, sun cream etc. It could be a list that gets recycled every holiday. I also write a list of each activity we'll be doing and then start to plan the outfits. I hang outfits on the outside of my wardrobe doors for a day or two before I pack which helps me decide if I want to take it and if I have any excess I can leave at home.
2. Allow plenty of time
Give yourself plenty of time! Don’t pack under pressure - I did this once while the taxi was outside waiting to take us to the airport and then spent a disastrous week in Portugal with 8 pairs of shorts but only two tops and no suncream!
3. Think about your shoes
The bulkiest thing you’ll take is probably your shoes. When planning outfits, start with your shoes and decide which are appropriate for what you’re doing, and if possible, which pair of shoes will go with the most outfits. Using a good neutral colours for your shoes will help make them work with lots of different things. I try not to take more than 3 pairs, wherever I’m going. If flying, wear your bulkiest shoe on the plane to save bag space. On my trip to Ibiza I wore converse on the plane and packed a pair of daytime flip flops and a pair of evening sandals. That was it.
4. Make the most of small spaces
A tip from club member Helen who regularly packs for motorbike holidays: “Roll your underwear up and pack them in your shoes if you’ve got shoes which you’re not wearing on the plane.” A great tip and saves more space in the case!
5. Stick to a limited colour palette
This is my golden tip for putting outfits together and creating a holiday capsule wardrobe. Stick to a maximum of 5 colours. You WILL be able to make more outfits out of less clothing if you limit the range of colours you use. Pick 2 or 3 colours that will go with anything, your neutrals (for more info on what your neutrals might be, see my blog on colour).
For my trip, my neutral colours were cream, beige and biscuit tones, which go well together, but also go with my two accent colours I chose; a deep gold and a teal. By sticking to 5 colours maximum (2 or 3 being neutral), you can make an large number of outfits out of relatively few clothes. I ended up taking 1 pair of trousers, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 1 cardigan, 1 jacket, 1 scarf, and 4 tops. Even if you swap over the tops, this list creates a minimum of 14 different outfits - and that's not adding in the cardigan and jacket!
6. Decant your makeup
To save space, decant your make up. I take my full sized primer, foundation and skincare and decant them into tiny sample jars. I also take sample sizes of perfume, rather than the full sized bottle, and a very simple make up kit consisting of: Sample size primer, sample size foundation (BB cream), 2 eye shadow colours, 1 eyeliner pencil, 1 mascara, 1 bronzer, 2 lipsticks. I also take small brushes rather than my full make up brush set.
7. Use travel sized items
Helen also advises; “Get a smaller hairbrush. At home I have a big paddle brush but I use a small handbag size one for holidays.”
8. Wear layers on the plane.
I try to wear my jacket and a pashmina on the plane. It can get chilly on the flight, so it helps if you wear layers you can keep on if cold, or peel off if warm. A pashmina scarf also doubles up as an evening wrap on the trip if the evenings get colder, or I’ve even got a silk one that doubles up as a dress or skirt.
9. Use space saving bags
“Use clear plastic bags when packing especially if your case doesn’t have inside pockets. I use those with zip tops as you can get quite a bit of air out before zipping and that makes them smaller and stuff doesn’t move around. Great for underwear and small items and being clear you can see what is in the bag.” Great tip from club member and seasoned traveller Sue.
10. Reduce your books
“If you like to read on holiday, consider a kindle or book app on a tablet to save space” recommends Helen.
Wherever you’re going this summer, have a wonderful trip, and to save a bit of space and time packing, consider trying one of our tips.
If you need any help with putting together a capsule wardrobe for your next trip, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org I can tell you more about how I can help you decide what to take and what to leave at home.