Packing for US Holiday – review

I had a terrific holiday in the US – a highlight were the beautiful sunsets in St. Pete’s Beach – and my capsule worked out quite well.  There were some successes and some learning…

 

Successes:

  • I find so much value in my packing cubes! They make life simpler, seem to magically reduce the space the clothes take up and make everything easier to find!
  • I aimed to bring about 75% of what I thought I’d actually need, rather than 100%. I ended up wearing every item packed so now wonder whether I could have managed with less – maybe aim for 50% next time.
  • My medium sized suitcase was perfectly adequate and easy to carry.
  • I re-wore many items – my travel steamer was worth its weight in gold.
  • I adopted The Minimalists’ maxim of distinguishing from ‘just in case’ items to ‘just for when’ and it worked well.
  • I’m so glad I packed a little cardigan – between the coolness of the plane and the high air-conditioning indoors, I wore it nearly every day.

 

Learning:

  • Too many shoes! I brought four pairs (a huge improvement on previous holidays) but could have managed perfectly fine with three.
  • I didn’t count on thunderstorms and torrential downpours so my most worn item was an attractive plastic rain cape!
  • I over-packed my make-up bag – it was too hot to wear much and what I did wear slid off quickly – some major down-sizing has already taken place.

This time around, my travels have not only broadened my mind but restricted my packing!  Do you have any key learning points from holiday packing to share?  Have a great week 🙂

 

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 🙂

Capsule for Weekend in Madrid – Review

So, I may finally be getting to grips with minimal packing for weekends away!  Madrid was fabulous and I was able to relax and take it all in, while thoroughly enjoying the company of my very dear friends.  I wasn’t worrying about what I had brought, whether it would be enough, what clothes would be suitable or whether I had brought the ‘right’ things.  The bit of forethought and planning paid off and I was confident I could get anything I had overlooked – it wasn’t as though Madrid didn’t have any shops!

I flew into the satellite terminal of Madrid-Barajas Airport, which meant taking a train to the main terminal, then boarding a shuttle to meet my friends, who had flown into a different terminal and finally a bus to the city centre.   Hand luggage made all of this so easy.  I didn’t have to wait impatiently for my bag or worry about it not ending up on the carousel (which has happened before).

I had a small cross-body bag and all my clothes, accessories and toiletries fitted beautifully into my weekend bag.   As mentioned previously, I am a fan of the packing cube and may even have converted my friends to them.  They were victims of packing cube envy as I unpacked later on, initially refusing to believe I had fitted anything of use into so small a bag.  An added bonus of the hand luggage was that while ample, it was snug, so I didn’t go on any shopping sprees.

Madrid was a bit cooler than I had expected, despite having checked the forecast.  However, the cardigan and jacket were used interchangeably and worked well.  I wore all of the clothes I had brought and felt they were enough.  I had different outfits to wear, everything could be mixed and matched and because I had planned it out in advance, I didn’t waste any precious time wondering what to wear!  Here’s an overview of what I brought 1 jacket; 1 scarf; 1 cardigan; 2 trousers; 2 pairs of shoes; 4 tops; 1 dress and my 2 bags …..

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 🙂

Capsule Wardrobe for a Weekend Away – Review

Okay … I am never over-packing again!  I experimented with packing light for a five-day trip to Dublin, using the principles of my capsule wardrobe and it worked beautifully.  In fact, I think I could have packed even less but that’s learning for a future trip.

In the end, I brought two pairs of jeans, three tops, two cardigans, two pairs of shoes and some layers.  The weather in Dublin was, uncharacteristically sunny but freezing, as opposed to mild but raining, which can be more usual.  This meant that I wore my layering pieces a lot more than I thought I would and was I glad I had packed them!   On review, I wondered if I should have brought clothes from my warmer winter capsule, rather than my spring one, but I think it would have felt like ‘cheating’ a bit and also the colour palette is so much darker that it may not have felt as appropriate in the Dublin sunshine.

I brought my leather jacket which kept me toasty and matched everything I wore.  My scarf was used – a lot!  It’s bright pink and warm, in all senses!  I packed a pair of shoes and wore a pair of boots – the boots by themselves would have been plenty, so that’s a useful note for future weekends and the shoes took up a lot of room in my bag – not a good deal, as I only wore them once.

I didn’t go out anywhere fancy, which was lovely, as it meant loads of cosy evenings with friends and family, chatting and laughing.  I had packed a dressier top but rather than bringing it back untouched, I just wore it one day, with one of my cardigans and felt a little more dressed up than usual.

So, I think the experiment worked.  I had plenty of options, I felt presentable and most importantly, I was able to focus my time on the people I travelled to see and didn’t spend time fussing over what to wear – and if I had enough – and what would people think – and what if – what if …….  It’s so liberating.

I couldn’t help but notice, though, that I had over-packed my toiletries/make-up bag – next project I think!

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?