Before I became a true minimalist, figuring out my wardrobe for a vacation felt like a huge chore. I think for most people this is the case. Can I fit all that I want to wear? Will I need multiple changes of clothing? What if I forget to pack something I need?
While packing for a trip never took me too long, it did take me longer than it should. Packing was a nuisance and I dreaded it. Since thinning out my wardrobe and accessories over the years (especially this last year when I became the ultimate minimalist I’ve always dared to be) things changed dramatically. I just took a week-long trip to paradise (also known as Hawai’i) and packing took me no more than ten minutes.
Yep. You read that right. Ten minutes.
Is this an anomaly? No. I know this because I took two shorter trips earlier this year that were both 3-4 days, and the packing on those took only 5 minutes.
The reason for this is the reason you’ve been thinking about going minimalist: a minimalist wardrobe (and a capsule wardrobe) takes the difficulty of choosing out of the vacation-packing equation.
Here are five reasons why a minimalist wardrobe can make packing for you the easiest (and maybe the most fun) part of your trip.
1. You don’t have to think (much)
This is probably the best reason of all. I have a simple wardrobe with versatile core pieces. The moment I got out my suitcase to pack for Hawai’i, I’d already mentally done the packing… precisely because there was so little of it to do! I stood in my closet at my blouses and pulled what I wanted. I stood in front of the pants and took what I needed. I stood in front of my dresses and pulled out the few I thought I wanted to wear. My hands full, I folded everything up, and within ten minutes (adding in undergarments, accessories, sleepwear, toiletries, and bathing suits) that was it. Bam. It was the easiest week-long packing I’ve ever done.
2. You don’t have to over-pack
Here’s where I messed up. I thought I wanted to add a dress for every night in Hawai’i so I packed six dresses. The thing is, most nights I didn’t want to dress up. I had visions of grandeur thinking I would want to. Instead, I only wore three dresses. Those three were all I needed and should’ve packed. It made me rethink overpacking and how I could’ve just used the shorts and tops I’d worn and rearranged them for dinner. It also made me rethink my dresses. I own eleven dresses (that’s on the high side but that’s because I have a few vintage dresses I adore) and realized I could cut that down to ten or less. Even on vacation, I’m pairing down my wardrobe.
3. You can fit all you want to wear
If you don’t overpack (like I did), a minimalist wardrobe is already at the minimum. The truth is, you can fit all you want to wear… l know because I just did and still packed more than I needed. Yet, I fit everything for a week into a small suitcase, mixed and matched pieces, and I could’ve easily left behind about eight pieces that I didn’t wear. Again, those pieces made me question the shorts, tees, and tops I had in my closet at home. You can fit everything you want to wear when you understand that you already have what you need. And then some.
4. You can have multiple outfits for each day
As previously stated, you can fit everything you want to wear because there is a stunning amount of combinations of outfits available. Five pairs of shorts and five blouses create hundreds of combinations. Or more. So, what you wear during the day can change to something slightly more elegant for the evening all by switching out a blouse, or changing the shorts to a skirt. Voila. Or just wear the dress.
5. If you forget something, you can always buy it (and donate it – or something else from your closet – later)
This sort of goes against the ethos of minimalism, but when you desperately need something that you forgot, buy it. You haven’t messed up your wardrobe with this purchase. Simply donate the old piece you replaced when you get home, or donate the one you just bought. Think of the piece of clothing as a necessity, like food, that was part of the vacation and experience. It’s not a waste and it won’t throw a wrench into your minimalist wardrobe. Buy it, use it, donate it. Simple.
Packing for a vacation in ten minutes may seem daunting. But once you’ve paired down your wardrobe to things you love, wear, and can be used as core pieces to all your outfits, you might even learn to pack faster than that. My vacation to paradise reminded me there are several pieces in my closet I don’t wear. As of now, I’ve already donated three of them and listed one dress for sale in my Etsy shop. Problem solved.
When your whole life is simplified – when your wardrobe is the least amount of pieces but the most efficient and loved ones – your life will become an easier, less stressful place, that allows you to take vacations with family and friends you’ll remember forever. And your packing will always be the least of your worries.
About the Author: Heather Spiva is a freelance writer from Northern California who loves reading and writing. When she’s not doing that, she’s probably shopping for vintage clothing and drinking coffee… simultaneously.