Travel: How I Pack Less and Have More

Photos by Gino Difarnecio ~   @gdifarnecio   (Instagram)

Photos by Gino Difarnecio ~ @gdifarnecio (Instagram)

I couldn't be more excited or more ready for my mini-vacay coming up this week. My husband rented a beach house for us on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and we leave Wednesday morning. I'm so looking forward to some fun in the sun and a lot of relaxing. As I was finalizing my packing list yesterday, I thought I'd share my biggest packing tips with you and how I pack less without sacrificing any looks.

I love the anticipation of an upcoming trip, who doesn't? But, part of me sort of dreaded trips just a smidge for the longest time because I disliked packing for them so much. I dreaded packing and would always leave it to the last minute, which made it worse. This added stress, caused me to always forget things and resulted in over-packing - which led each time to an argument between my husband and me.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I started making wardrobe trip list with looks for day and night for each day and putting into play a simple trick that cuts down on the number of pieces that I pack - I stick to neutral tones primarily and center both looks each day around one top. The bottom neutrals that I pack are usually worn more than one day each. You're probably thinking that wouldn't make much difference, but it really does. Using the same top for two looks as well as the bottoms on a different day probably cuts my overall packing in half.

And because I stick to a neutral palette, I can usually get away with only packing two or three pairs of shoes and three or four pairs of shorts, jeans, or skirts. But, because I am packing fewer tops and bottoms, there is extra room for shoes or accessories to pack (or purchase on the trip - wink, wink).

As a clear example of one day, the outfit I'm wearing in the photo is easily turned into an evening look by changing out the denim shorts for white denim skirt or pair of jeans and dressier duster cardigan. I could switch to a different shoe or keep these espadrilles on for the evening. The jeans or skirt that I change into will likely be worn another day on the trip with a different top and shoe.

It takes a tiny bit of time and planning, but will make your life easier and suitcase lighter! After a couple of times doing this, you'll be a pro. Here is exactly how I do it and the way I organize my list:

Day four and so on would be done this same way. It makes going back and pulling the items to pack easier too. And as you can see for six looks, I have used: 3 tops (instead of 6), 4 bottoms (instead of 6), 3 pairs of shoes (instead of 6). That's a total of 10 pieces instead of 18!

I keep my accessories to basics as well. I usually take two bags only: one black, one brown (one of which I carry while traveling), a watch, a few bracelets, and a ring or two (I'm usually wearing these while traveling as well). The only thing left to pack after clothing and accessories are hair tools, toiletries, and makeup - the list for these items never changes, so that's quick and easy,

Of course, you're probably going to need a few extra items in there like a swimsuit or two, a coverup, and a pair of flip flops depending on the type of vacation you're taking. If business traveling, you may not need these. And I do suggest packing an extra top in case of accidental spills if you're like me. And I always pack a dress for a special dinner or event, because it's always fun to dress up every now and again, especially on vacation. Happy travels, all! - Jill xoxo