Packing or throwing your clothes all across the room

About once a year I write a post on how I pack for my 3-4 month trips (you can see them here and here). I’m not the only one writing about packing for long trips, but I think I might be the only one who has to tackle multiple dress codes (including formal wear), a range of temperatures, and a small amount of storage space… well I’m not the only one dealing with it, but I am then only one writing about it (and if I’m not, please prove me wrong). I think the only challenge I don’t have is the requirement of carrying my stuff with me everywhere, sure I travel, but my bag stays in my cabin instead of on my back, the wonders of ship life. (if you’re looking for how to pack just one carry on bag/backpack, well, I’ll let Sarah and Lauren explain it to you, as that is not my spiritual gift).

Whenever I think about packing, I always try to apply a formula. But the problem is, I learn something new every time I go away, and so the formula is always changing. But never mind, I’m still going to write about it.

So what did I do this time? Well, I gathered together the things that were non-negotiable. Mainly my uniforms and my formal wear. I use those nifty packing cubes that I’m always going on and on about. So one packing cube had my formal dresses (ladies, get thee some pretty little black dresses that can fold and unfold without wrinkling, they do exist. Add tights, black heels, and a statement necklace and you’re good to go), black tights, black cardigan, black heels, and black clutch, and another had my uniforms.

Then I did this.
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Yep, I just threw out all my favorite clothes on the floor. It was a very precise process. To be honest I started with my travel skirt plus a really great pair of jeans, because those were both non-negotiable items. Then I added some shorts, because ya’ll it gets hot in the Med. And then I started pulling out the tops I was considering, and I decided to be brutal: if one of the tops didn’t work with at least 4 of the 5 bottoms, then it was out. The only exception was if a top only worked with a 2-3 bottoms, but also worked for a “smart casual” look with my navy skirt from my uniform, then it was allowed in.

And there was a bunch of other stuff, but really that’s the basics. If you want to feel like you have a million options for what to wear, and that all those options are good ones, then you really need everything to go with almost everything else.

So next time you’re packing, just throw everything out on the floor. That’s really the best way to get things done.

How do you pack for long trips?

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2 thoughts on “Packing or throwing your clothes all across the room

  1. You say a top needs to go with at least 4 or 5 bottoms. So am I doing it backward? When i think about it, I want 4 or 5 tops to go with the same bottom. In other words, 4 shirts for the khakis, 4 for the capris, etc. I would think it’s more important to have more choices of tops? Or maybe I’m not understanding what you meant. And since I’ll be packing for a cruise soon, I want to do it right!

    • No, you’re not doing it backwards, just thinking about it differently. I happened to start with my bottoms this time, so I then decided which tops I was going to take. But I only have 5 or 6 tops that I brought with me (if you can believe it, it’s true!), and so really, each top is going with 4 of the 5 bottoms, and then each bottom goes with 4-5 of the 6 tops, I just started by thinking about the bottoms, and going from there, but really everything goes with (almost everything).

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