Stress-free holiday packing: Part 1

Updated: Oct 6, 2018

packing pie chart, capsule wardrobe
Time Spent Packing for a trip

You've got a trip coming up, you've known for ages, you know exactly the type of things you'll be doing on the trip, you've got a top that'll be just perfect for Palma, Paris, Perranporth * (*delete as appropriate).

Only you get to the night before departure and you pretty much pack everything in your wardrobe (whether you've worn it before or not!) into a suitcase the size of a cruise ship cabin.

And then you're there. Its gorgeous, just like the brochure. The sun is shining, the prosecco is popped. The kids are happy, you're happy try to put an outfit together and...what's this??

There are no outfits, just lots of individual garments whose ability to match with others seem to have gone on holiday too! And then Shelley Kelly came into my life!

So rewind. I've come into your life before the above scenario plays out and I'm going to share some tips to get your holiday packing right. A suitcase of clothes is the ultimate capsule wardrobe. In an actual capsule no less!

I believe you can pack for a weeks' holiday with just hand luggage. And this brings me joy!

I normally talk about the value of clothes by assessing their “pound-a-wear”, ie whether you’ll get 40 wears out of your £40 top – that’s a clever purchase.

luggage scales, capsule wardrobe
Value per kilo!

Well this time I’m talking “wears-per-kilo”!

Every item of clothing that goes into your suitcase, whether you’re limited by weight or not, has to work hard for its place in there. So regardless of what type of holiday you are going on, here are my top tips for holiday packing.

1. Think Ahead. Think about where you are going, what you are going to be doing and what the weather is likely to be like. It might sound obvious, but actually taking the time to consider this will make a huge difference to getting your packing right.

2. Neutrals and Accents. Base your outfits on just 1 or 2 neutral colours. And then add in 1 or 2 accent colours. So for me that would be navy and grey/ khaki with different blues and coral/orange/pink. Everything works with everything else but I still have plenty of mix & match choices each day.

3. More tops than bottoms. Use the ratio of 2, or better still 3, tops to every bottom (trousers, shorts, skirt) – this will give you much more choice of outfits.

4. Face your picks. Lay out everything that you think you might want to take, or better still, hang everything on hangers and hang from a curtain pole (if you don’t have a spare rail). Leave the clothes there for a couple of days to get used to them – you’ll soon figure that there’s something there you’ll never wear. Its easier to move them around and create outfits too.

5. Put outfits together - and number them as Day 1, Day 2, evening 1, evening 2 and so on. Remember you’d don’t need a completely new outfit for every day or every evening.

6. Day to night. Anything that goes day to night goes in the case – e.g. a dress you can wear with trainers/ sandals in the day then sparkle up a bit for the evening.

Always look at each item and think – OK, what am I going to wear that with? If nothing works with it, leave it at home, or build outfits around it.

These are the principles that I pack by and they have taken me from someone who not too many years ago took way more than I needed. The worst thing I could imagine was having the wrong outfit for the occasion, so I overpacked. And stressed. And did my back in! And still never quite had the right outfit ( I realise now it wasn't always about the outfit!!).

So now, having built my year round wardrobe full of mix and match pieces, holiday packing is much,much easier.

Do share this love with your friends! Next time on the blog – what exactly am I packing?

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