A Chronic Over-Packer's Guide to Packing Light

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In just three short days, I will be on my way to Dublin.

Hell. Yes.

With my travel plans quickly approaching, I have found myself attempting what I once deemed impossible, packing a suitcase that weighs less than 50 pounds. Prior to this trip, my past packing endeavors went somewhat like this: throw as much shit as I possible could into my suitcase (what I deemed to be the bare essentials), weigh my suitcase, somehow find out how to remove 20 pounds of necessities from my luggage. This process would sometimes last for days, until the scale finally hit that magic number, 50.0 lbs. However for this trip, I have decided to employ different tactics. Rather than facing my flight check in with anxiety, and struggling to lift my suitcase onto the airline's scale, I have decided to--brace yourselves--pack light.

In fairness, my definition of packing light may vary from the majority of the population. But hey, it is definitely a step in the right direction. After completing my first round of packing (because yes, it is a process that takes several attempts to get perfect), my suitcase came in at a minuscule 38 pounds.  Here's how I did it.

1. Plan out possible outfits ahead of time.  This was a tip I frequently heard, but never actually attempted.  Before I began packing for Dublin, I thought of the activities I had planned for the trip: shopping on Grafton street, having some pints at a pub, watching the Liverpool match, seeing the new Inbetweeners movie, having some pints at a pub, eating my favorite omelette at my favorite brunch place, taking a day trip to Howth, having some pints at a pub.  After compiling this list, I tried to lay out different outfits that I could see myself wearing to these various scenarios.  Much to my surprise, this tactic worked!

2. Layer, layer, layer.    The weather in Ireland is unpredictable, which can create a packing nightmare.  Will I need shorts, or a winter jacket?  The answer---maybe both.  I have found that the best way to prepare for this challenging climate is to layer appropriately.  Tee shirt, under chambray button-down, under leather jacket.  Throw on a pair of jeans and some trusty boots and you are ready to tackle the day, whatever type of weather Ireland decides to throw at you.

3. Dont' underestimate comfort.  I always have a tendency to pack for my most exciting events while I'm away, the events that I want to look my best for.  However, what about that rainy day that you spend inside having a Breaking Bad marathon and eating your weight in curry, rice, and chips?  Trust me, it is just as important to plan for these days.

4. Versatility is key.   This may be the most essential tip of them all.  Pieces that can transition you from day to night, that can be worn in a variety of scenarios, that you will without a doubt wear more than once on your travels, these are the pieces you want to devote your suitcase to.  The same tee shirt and jeans that I wore for a day of shopping can easily be worn to the pub later that night.  Just throw on a statement necklace, switch out the Converse for some boots and you are good to go.  

5.  Don't be afraid to pack less than 10 pairs of shoes.  This was the most difficult part of the whole process for me.  The fact that there will only be 5 pairs of shoes in my suitcase is a true accomplishment.  It leads me to believe that, although I was once a chronic over-packer, there may be hope for the future.

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