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If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I went to Chicago for the weekend to attend my friends beautiful wedding. I got a few questions about what I brought in my small backpack, so I’ve laid it all out. Everyone’s bag and needs are different but this worked really well for me.
First, a few tips for minimalist packing, no matter how long you’ll be gone:
- Find out what is available to you at your destination. If you’re staying with family and friends, can you use their washing machine? If you’ll be at a hotel, do they have a washer/dryer or other amenities available to you? For example, I stayed at The Freehand in Chicago which offers a full kitchen (with real, reusable plates/cutlery!) and laundry facilities to guests.
- Build a miniature capsule wardrobe (even if you don’t use one in your day-to-day life.) Think about what you can re-wear throughout your trip, especially for loungewear and travel days. Think about layering pieces that will work under/over multiple outfits. Unless you’re traveling for fashion week, chances are you don’t need to worry about wearing different looks head-to-toe each day.
- Shoes take up a lot of space. If you aren’t minimal anywhere else, be ruthless about choosing footwear that is versatile and that you’ll actually use.
- Focus on multi-use items in terms of toiletries and makeup. If at home you use a day cream, night cream, eye cream, facial oils and more, consider paring down to the most versatile item. I chose to bring a small container of argan oil that I could use on my face, hair and on my hands and body as needed.
This photo was taken the night before I left, with my phone. Not the highest quality but hopefully it gives enough of a peek at what I packed.
Here are details on what I brought with me for my two night vacation:
- Black leggings (not pictured) to wear every day except at the wedding – find on eBay*
- Black tunic (not pictured) to wear on both travel days
- Black tank top (not pictured) to wear on both travel days
- My dress for the wedding (Find similar styles on eBay*)
- Two pairs of hose, 1 sheer/nude and 1 black, for the wedding
- Underwear and socks (in a zip-top pouch for organization)
- White tunic shirt with zipper and pocket details
- Beige-colored tank top
- Comfy leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt for sleeping and lounging
- Toiletries all fit in the green pouch, the other side is clear so it’s OK to use for liquids on the plane. I brought a few bits of makeup, makeup brushes*, an eyelash curler, bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, a small container of castille soap, argan oil. Not pictured: a little glass container with my J.R. Liggett’s shampoo bar (Available lots of places, including Vitacost.com. My readers get $10 off.)
- Shoe bag and high heels for the wedding (I think I was one of the only people wearing heels who didn’t take them off at the wedding – they really are that comfortable! Buy on eBay*)
- Low-heel boots (not pictured above, but there’s a peek at them in this photo)
- Big scarf that doubles as a blanket or pillow for the plane
- Everything fit well into my Looptworks Northwest Backpack.
I also brought a medium-sized cross-body purse that contained my phone, wallet and my zero waste travel “kit” which I will detail in another post soon.
In a few weeks I’ll be traveling with my family to California. We’ll have to bring considerably more (including my daughter’s cloth diapers, etc.) but my husband and I will keep our clothing and toiletries to a minimum. I’ll update you on that trip in April!
If you have questions or would like more information on anything I brought, please leave a comment and I’d be happy to provide more details.
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