Something that we are all prone to doing is overpacking. Whether we are going on a weekend trip to see family, an overnight trip for work, or a weeklong vacation in the sun, we usually end up bringing way too much stuff. It happens to everyone!
Of course, having too much clutter at home means that you are likely to bring more stuff with you – it's a habit! So, to better plan for a trip you need to be in better control of clutter at home – but we will leave that for the other tips. The starting point for packing the correct amount of items for a trip is to do some planning. You don't need to sit down and have a completly itemized list detailing everything down to the extra Q-tips and number of socks, but we don't want to just start throwing things into a suitcase either! Take a few minutes and think about where you are going and what you will likely be doing. How many days will you be gone? Do you need a change of clothes for every day or can you rely on having access to a washer and dryer? Get a good idea of the number of outfits you might need and try not to pack much more than this.
Clothing is usually the majority of the stuff we bring when we travel, but there are also the odds and ends that make it into our bags. Do we want to bring a book to read in the plane or the car? How about the laptop? Can't forget the chargers for the electronics! Dealing with the electronics can be tough – most of us cannot travel without them nowadays, but they come with "extras". You have to keep them powered up so you need to bring a charger. Some of them require special bags (laptops, etc) and other things. If you also need to cut down on digital clutter, take a look at our previous tip on digital decluttering. A good way to cut down on the extra items you bring is to take special care with how many items like a laptop or DVD player you bring with you. If possible, limit it to one or two items. Those extra power cords and special bags start to take up space fast! A great idea is to put together a quick list just like you did with clothing and to go through just what you need to have with you on the trip – often you will be amazed at how quickly the list grows, and how much we actually don't really need. It can be frustrating to have lugged a heavy bag around only to realize we didn't use anything that was in it!
Ask youself these questions for each item on your list as you do a quick review in order to cut down on the number of items that you bring with you:
- Will I wear this item?
- If I don't bring this item, will I worry or spend time thinking about it?
- Will carrying this item around with me bring some sort of benefit?
- Can this item be easily or quickly replaced?
Using these as some simple guidelines can help you cut the clutter you take with you on your travels. With increasing costs of travel, extra charges for bags on planes, and our desire to do more without surrounding ourselves with clutter, taking a few minutes to plan for your traveling can help you really save time, effort, and money!
How do you deal with cutting clutter for travelling? Do you have any methods that work well for you?