The Minimalist’s Guide To Vacation Packing

May 31 2015

Our friend Kristen Ziegler, better known as Minima, lives and breathes minimalism — as far as she’s concerned, it is a “holistic approach to life” and everything from her taste in furniture to her monochromatic wardrobe makes her something of a domestic Dieter Rams. A while back, she gave us some handy spring cleaning tips, so in the gear up for vacation season, we knew she’d have a thing or two to say about packing well and light. We visited her at home this week for some training in minimalist boot camp and found that packing can actually be a rather Zen-like experience.

It helps to start with good luggage, so we go the best, from our friends at Rimowa.

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1. “Keep travel gear in one spot so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. Keep extra toiletry containers in various sizes so you can pack exactly the amount of product you need depending on the length of the trip.”

Kristen keeps all her travel-ready gear in one spot in her bedroom so that it’s literally no fuss to get it tidily packed up in no time.

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2. “Pack light with a mix and match monochromatic wardrobe. Lay everything out on your bed before you pack it. Challenge yourself to remove at least one item of clothing you think you need to bring.”

For the minimalist, packing is a mindful, active process. While your wardrobe is probably not strictly monochrome like Kristen’s, you should nevertheless be highly critical of what you’ll be bringing along. Consider each item you’re taking, how it works with other items you’re taking and then edit, pare down, remix and edit again. You’ll end up with a lot less weight and bulk that will go a much longer way.

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3. “Keep your luggage organized.”

This one’s a bit of an unspoken rule, but take it one step further. Be rigorously organized. Make pairings and groups and fold them tidily — make perfect squares with your shirts — and keep them securely in place inside your suitcase using the dividers and pockets in your luggage, as well as additional small bags for each category of items. Kristen suggests the following:

  • Folding/compact zipper bags
  • Streamline containers for a clean and pleasing modular aesthetic
  • Group like with like: pants, tops, underwear & bathing suits, etc.
  • Sacks to contain other loose items like your phone charger
  • Bags for shoes
  • Bring a reusable shopping bag (like a BAGGU) for dirty laundry

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In the end your luggage should look as tidy and put-together as you are — Pinterest-ready and practical. And if you pack especially well, you’ll have plenty of room to bring back a big haul of (minimalist) souvenirs.

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Kristen Ziegler is an Organizing Consultant based out of Richmond, Virginia with a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and over 15 years’ experience. She helps clients all over the world declutter and streamline their lives.