All The Crap I Didn’t Need To Pack

I have counted 34 things in my suitcase that I didn’t need.

Now, some of these things are tiny (like necklaces), but let’s be honest – no matter how many times you pack, you always end up with at least handful of unnecessary things. Don’t worry – I’m not going to do yet another ‘here is what I packed’ post, because we all know that there are thousands of posts out there if you’re looking for a checklist.

Instead, here is some of the dumb shit I shouldn’t have brought with me:

Clothes I don’t even like

How in the hell did I convinced myself to waste the incredibly limited space in my luggage on a bunch of crap that I never even wear at home? If I don’t already get loads of use out of them, then why the hell would I wear them on my big adventure?

Seriously, what was going through my head? ‘Oh this will be a great casual thing to throw on.’ If I haven’t ‘thrown it on’ in the last 3 months, it doesn’t need to come around the world with me. Same goes for dresses, shoes and workout gear.

No one is going to notice (or care) if you wear the same outfit twice in one week. Stick to the basics that can mix and match.

Extra pairs of jeans

Granted, I thought I would be working a much more casual job than I ended up in. But still, stick to 2 pairs and that’s it. Pack a black pair and a blue. They are heavy, they are bulky, and no one is going to be paying that much attention anyway.

Also – kick the jewelry to the curb. I realize these items usually take up very little space, but it is something else you have to keep track of.  Snag your favorite necklace or two and be done with it.

As a general rule of thumb, I am trying to move towards a Capsule Wardrobe. This is a really useful way to minimize your wardrobe when packing, even if it isn’t your everyday life. For a trip – cut this list down to 15.

Too many notebooks 

I have a fondness for cute notebooks. And pens. I am fully aware that I have too many, most of which have yet to be used. But don’t bring 3 with you. Well technically I brought 2 and then 1 cute little 3 pack (wait, 3 and then a 3pack, damnit) but who’s counting. When you add that to the weight of your laptop (and whatever other books you pack), it adds up fast. Did I really think I was going to fill all of those up?

Bring one. You can grab another one during your travels if you need too. Plus it will make for a great ‘I got this when I was….’ story.

Travel gear that isn’t practical

I meant to buy myself a new travel pillow, but completely spaced it. (Of course I forgot – it didn’t make it on the list). So my wonderful mother said I could just take one of hers. Well this thing is gigantic and not convenient for toting around. And its not even that comfortable. Sorry mom.

I really like inflatable ones (with a fleece cover of course). You can adjust how firm they are depending on your sleeping situation, and they fold up nice and tiny to save space.

The other dumb thing I packed was this oversized, super fancy (and overpriced) power adapter. It take up a ton of space and ended up sounding like I was running a generator all the time. Get a basic one and call it a day. You’ll end up buying new chargers anyway.

I realize that I was MOVING from Seattle to Auckland, so that warranted a little extra luggage. But that also means that I was going to have plenty of time to stock up on anything extra I might need. I will give myself credit and say that I did significantly better on this trip than I did on my backpacking trip through Europe a few years ago. But there is still plenty of work to do.

If Colin Wright can live with only 51 things, then I can definitely ditch more than a few items from my bag.

New Rule: lay out everything you think you’ll need for the trip – and only pack half of it.


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  1. Only bringing half is a great rule. I’ve pared down how much I pack over time to the point that my sister in law things I’m crazy for how little I bring when we travel, but I once brought a tube top to Hawaii, which is dumb because I’ve never worn a tube top in my life!

  2. Travel gear is such a gimmick! You are sucked into thinking you need all this stuff then its just a hassle to carry around. And I second the action on bringing clothes you don’t even like… I do that with clothes that don’t fit like Im going on this miracle diet that will somehow get me skinny enough to fit in them by a few days from now, hahaha!

    1. Right?!?? Just grab the basics and go. It’s amazing how little you need to travel with.

  3. I do a version of the ‘laying it out and taking 1/2’ – I stat making piles like a week prior so that way I’ll be like “of course I don’t need that” or have my memory jogged if I forgot something.

    1. It’s helpful too when your airline has a really ridiculous weight limit on luggage!

  4. I know exactly what you are talking about. What I usually do is laying out everything that I think I would need. The next day I go thru it again remove half of it and the next day I do the same again and then I am good 🙂 Really good post.