Holiday Packing

Does anyone else get excited about packing for a holiday? I’m going to the US for 10 days and cannot wait!!

 

I know that, to some, packing can be a chore but I love it!

I enjoy the planning aspect – it leads to anticipation and heightens the whole holiday experience for me.

I also feel that it is compulsory minimalism and I mean that in a positive way because:

  • It’s a brilliant time to try out a capsule wardrobe, if you were thinking of dipping a toe in the water
  • The clothes contained in your suitcase comprise your capsule
  • If you didn’t pack exactly what you wanted, then it’s a chance to be creative, not an opportunity to shop!

A bit of forethought and planning can go a long way.

I have a fair idea of what the weather will be like and what activities we have planned:

  • A bit of sight-seeing
  • Dining out
  • Time on the beach
  • A lot of playing with my nephews
  • Some chill-out time for Mr. Minimal-Lol and me

So it’s just a case of finding clothes that are suitable for all these activities and that can be mixed and matched. I have no anxiety when it comes to repeating outfits or pieces, which makes it easier still.

My planning self has developed a little cheat sheet to help me plan and pack. I want to wear my clothes at least 2 or 3 times each, with some pieces, like accessories, being worn almost every day. And it’s so easy to give clothes a quick wash, if they require freshening up – my summer pieces are light and dry quickly.

I’ll bring a small suitcase – ideally I would really like to travel with hand luggage only – but I won’t for fear of Mr. M-L fainting in horror. (Some day I will write a blog post about a minimalist living with a ‘maximalist’ – he may need a suitcase for his shoes alone!!).

I have tried to heed the lovely Courtney Carver’s advice – the founder of Project 333. She advises you to pack for half the number of days you are actually away. I don’t think I’ve quite hit that mark but maybe about 75%? Baby steps!

But I will be reviewing what I actually wore versus what I packed. I do this every time I go away and have ended up with quite a robust formula for a weekend away – just need to extend this for a slightly longer period of time.

Anyone have any words of wisdom for packing? Or for travelling in the US? Have a great week 🙂

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe – Plan

I want to be cautious about how I phrase this because I feel I’m tempting fate but summer MAY have just started here in the UK.  We’ve had some very mixed weather and a couple of very warm days and, as I’ve had my spring capsule for three months, I’ve decided it’s time for my summer one 🙂

My routine is a well-oiled machine at this stage!  I’ve reviewed my spring capsule to see how well it’s worked (quite well, actually) and pulled my summer clothes out of storage.  I’ve decided how many pieces from my spring capsule are going back into storage and how many I’m letting go (only two).  My summer clothes are a different story.  For some bizarre reason, I seem to have a disproportionate amount of these – it’s a combination of them being more fun to buy and there’s less wear and tear on them as summer is so short!  I was tempted to be a bit lazy and decide by eye what was going to form part of the capsule but previous lessons learned compelled me to actually try things on.  Twelve months has made a difference in preference, style and especially size and many pieces will not make the cut.

I will decide over the next week what I am actually taking forward into the capsule.  Another lesson learned is not to only choose light, summery pieces as layers can be essential to counteract cooler days and open windows (for those of us without air-conditioned offices!).   I need to review the capsule in its entirety and then see if there are any gaps.  I’ve only spotted one so far (a layering piece!) but think I will be letting go of over ten pieces from last year’s wardrobe, the majority of which do not fit properly any more and one or two which are no longer my style.

Summer always seems the simplest capsule for which to plan but also the easiest one to fall into a ‘fantasy lifestyle’.  In my head, I could picture myself wearing long, floaty dresses for picnics and days out, but of course, work and life will go on as normal and my wardrobe needs to be quite similar to previous seasons, just not as focused on keeping me warm all the time!   I’ll still need a combination of work appropriate clothes, along with more casual ones and the one floaty dress will probably be fine for my upcoming social calendar!

Packing for a weekend in Madrid

I’m off to Madrid for the weekend, with two very dear friends and have been looking forward to the break for some time.  From a packing perspective, I’m keen to build on the learning I got from packing for my last weekend away in Dublin.  The key take-aways from that were …. not to pack too much, I needed less than I thought and if I do forget anything vital, I can buy it when I’m there.

I have started to develop a little packing plan which outlines what I will be doing during the day and the evening and what the weather will be like.  This is a bit of a departure as before I would have started with which clothes I wanted to bring, without ascertaining why.  I could easily have packed four pairs of jeans and one top!  I find this way around to be both better and easier.  And, (a lesson I’ve carried over from my day-to-day life), this way I pack for actual activities that are weather appropriate, instead of a more ‘chuck it all into a bag and see what happens’ cavalier approach.

So, I’ve checked the weather (a bit showery the first day but then hot and sunny thereafter).  We will be doing a lot of walking around the city centre, perhaps hopping on and off buses and then going out to dinner in the evening, which will probably involve walking some distance as well.  That helps the footwear packing – one pair of shoes that are comfortable and one pair of sandals for the evening.  Jeans, jacket and a scarf for travelling, a lighter pair of trousers, a dress that can be worn a couple of times when going out for dinner, a few tops and some jewellery to freshen up a look.  It sounds quite achievable.

So, to work out the maths – four days, two outfits per day (as will be doing different activities during the day and the evening) – resulting in me packing two bottoms, one dress and four tops, to make eight outfits.  I’m bringing carry-on luggage, in my trusty Longchamp bag, which is light yet durable and a favourite for travelling.  I’ll review how I get on, whether the packing was fit for purpose and any other capsule/packing thoughts on the way.  Any tips for travelling light?  Have a great week 🙂

Why minimalism?

Three years ago, I went through a difficult time, when a dearly loved one was ill.  I felt helpless, angry, upset, out of control and frightened.  Then, I realized, it wasn’t about me.  My focus and energy needed to be channeled where it was needed most but everything seemed so complicated.  It wasn’t really or at least it was as complicated as I made it.  Fewer complications meant more time and energy available, which is what I needed, but I took the scenic route, not the direct one, on the way.

At first, I thought I needed to be ultra-organized.  I’m quite a structured person anyway (I’m a ‘J’ for those of you interested in Myers-Briggs!).  So, I organized.  I had a container for everything and if a container was ever empty, then I ensured I filled it.  Every minute of every day was planned.  Every article on every shelf was straight.  Funnily enough, this didn’t help!   But I didn’t understand why.

At some level, I knew I needed more simplicity and fewer distractions.  So I started to search the web.  My searches focused on ‘simplicity’ as I had never heard of the term ‘minimalism’.  But it kept popping up.  I stumbled across a site called ‘The Minimalists’ hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.   I read a few of their posts with interest and then saw that they were due to visit London, just a train ride away. 

On Wednesday 8th October 2014, I made my way to Parkgate Road in London, somewhere I didn’t know and had never heard of, a prospect that would have daunted me before.  (I’m Irish, living in the UK, so usually everywhere is different and new!).  However, different results needed different approaches.  That evening was a watershed moment.  By that stage, I had read many articles by The Minimalists and even had one of their books.  However, hearing them speak brought the whole concept of minimalism alive for me and more importantly, within my reach.  They also mentioned some of their friends, Courtney Carver, Leo Babauta, Colin Wright  …. I realized there was a whole world of minimalism and alternative views out there.

The weekend after, I looked around my carefully organized belongings and saw them with different eyes.  Yes, I was fortunate to have so much – but I also had so much distraction, so much anxiety and so much excess.   How much did one person need, for goodness sake?!  I saw the difference between organization and minimalism, which is probably quite obvious to many others, but as I said, I took the scenic route to this realization.

My loved one is now so much better than I ever thought possible.  And the dark days which I hated and feared at the time, showed me a less conventional but more satisfying life.   I’m still on a journey to simplicity but I know why I’m doing it.  As Jim Rohn says, ‘ When the why gets stronger, the how gets easier’.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.freeimages.co.uk

Capsule Wardrobe for a Weekend Away

This weekend, I am going to Dublin for five days and thought it was a great opportunity to discover more about the portable capsule wardrobe.  I like to plan (a lot!) but the downside is that I can tend to over-pack, having considered every possible permutation of outings and extremes of weather, not to mention lack of laundry facilities.  Inevitably, I would unpack after my break and take clothes out of my bag that had been untouched by human hand.

So, after some reflection, I decided to try something different this time.  I am spending time with family and friends and it will all be quite low-key, so no need to pack three cocktail dresses and a fascinator, then!  I took Courtney Carver’s advice and packed for half the time, in this case three days.  I am using my trusty packing cubes, which help focus the mind and neaten the luggage.  I winnowed down (goodbye four pairs of jeans – really, for three days?) and ended up with two pairs of jeans, three tops, two cardigans, two pairs of shoes and some layers, as the forecast was for sunny but cold.  Every top goes with every bottom and cardigans can be layered for warmth or discarded if the forecast was unduly pessimistic.  I snuck in one dressier top though!

The great thing about packing a minimal capsule wardrobe from my ‘normal’ capsule is that I’m already ahead of the game, as anything I pack is a favourite, suits me and my general lifestyle, is of good quality and I would be glad to wear anytime, anywhere.

I know I have enough combinations to make several different looks so I will just see how it goes.  I haven’t packed too many accessories, which can be key for changing up a look, however, this is all a bit of trial and error.  I won’t deliberately restrict my choices but neither will I bemoan the fact that I may not have packed a key piece.  I just want to see how I get on.  I’ll check back in next week with the results of this experiment …..  Have you any tips on minimalist packing?