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How to Pack Light

Happy Friday you guys! For this week's lifestyle post I thought I'd give you a run down of how I manage to pack light for long weekends away as I'm visiting my best pal at the end of this month and want to pit everything into a backpack for easy fuss-free travelling. I originally was going to travel by plane so would have only been taking hand luggage/a carry on, but now I'm travelling by train I realise the same rules still apply - I still want my bag to be as light as possible and not be weighed down. If you spoke to me about packing maybe 5 years ago, I would have been taking a big suitcase full of junk because obviously I need everything in that case and in reality, I'd not wear most of what I packed or use most of the products in there. So over the past few years I've gotten much better at packing cleverly and effectively so I thought I'd share with you some simple tips and tricks to make the whole debacle of packing a simple activity (although I still find it a chore):

- Before you do anything, make a list. Always make a list before you even so much as start to tackle the chore of packing. Listing things makes you really think about exactly what you need to pack and makes it so much easier to check what you're missing. I tend to wander from my wardrobe, to my drawers, to my makeup cabinet, to the bathroom and back again with a pad and a pen to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. As you start to pack you might realise you missed something (for instance I always forget to pack a toothbrush!) so you can add to the list as you go so you don't forget again!

- Check the weather before you go. I know this sounds incredibly obvious, but especially if you're just staying in the country and travelling to another town/city, it can often be overlooked. Travelling in the UK can be especially annoying as the weather can switch from rainy and cold to full sun and hot in a matter of a couple of hours, so checking the weather first to get a general idea of what to pack can be really helpful.

- Pack for everything but be flexible. So you've checked the weather and it's going to be sunny, cold, thunderstorms etc. Pack clothing that is suitable for most instances and that can be layered if need be. I tend to go with two pairs of jeans or jeans and a skirt then interchangeable tops. If you pack a skirt as well as jeans, you can roll up a pair of tights or two in case it's chilly and you will look like you've got a different outfit on each day. Packing tops that match both sorts of bottoms you're packing is good too because instead of having two stand-alone outfits, you can technically have four. I also think wearing a cardgian/jumper/some sort of knitwear is a smart move too as it means you're wearing your bulkiest item and you've got that extra layer in case it is needed. I have the same philosophy for shoes and tend to wear whatever bulky shoes (whether that's boots or hi top converse etc.) so they don't take up space in your bag, but I will also pack a pair of flats or sandals - weather dependent - in my bag for a bit of variety. I also like to pack a bandana or thin scarf so I can add it as either a neck or hair accessory to help again, make an outfit look a little different in case you're wearing the same outfit two days in a row.

- Try everything on. I never used to do this and I don't know why because it's stupid not to. Trying on the outfits you're going to pack as you're packing is so so helpful because you can guarantee your items are indeed interchangeable and that you feel comfortable/happy in them too.

- Pack similar colours/palettes.The last little thing about clothing when it comes to packing to make your micro wardrobe as streamline as possible is to pack similar colours or items that go together colour palette-wise. If I want to wear a white shirt for example, I will pack other white shirts as this minimises how many bras I have to take. I always wear a new bra everyday but when you're travelling, it's stupid to pack 7 different bras (especially if you have a larger chest as they take up so much room?!) when you could easily manage with 3. Therefore if I pack similar colour tops or tops that I know it doesn't matter what colour underwear I wear underneath them really helps minimise taking clothes that you actually don't use.

- Multi-purpose items are a godsend. My philosophy about interchangeable clothes definitely stems to what beauty and skincare products I pack. I have *a lot* of shit to sift through when it comes to skincare and makeup when I pack but I try to minimise taking too much stuff by picking out items that can do more than one job. For instance, I will take a coconut oil as a cleanser but also as a nighttime moisturiser, hair oil, and mouthwash. I will take bronzer and use it as a subtle contour and eyeshadow crease shade. I will pack a lip stain that can be used on the cheeks too and a highlighter that can double up as a shimmer eyeshadow. This helps me minimise what I need to pop in my makeup bag and it isn't the end of the world to change my skincare and makeup routines for the sake of a few days. I also decant my shampoo, conditioner and shower gel so I don't take full sizes of anything.

- Compartmentalise things where possible. Something I really need to buy for myself are packing cubes as they seem so bloody convenient and helpful when it comes to packing however because I don't have any yet, I simply compartmentalise my packing myself so everything has a space. This helps you visually work out things you might have missed but also helps you effectively pack so your bag isn't bulky and so things aren't taking up too much space. So for example, I will place any jeans or thicker material items on the bottom of my case bag flat. I will then roll thinner t-shirts etc and pack them on top. I will always roll up socks/tights under the inverted cups of my bras to make use of that space. Doing this just makes packing so much easier and creates a subconscious routine which is super helpful too.

- Have the things you need to hand actually to hand. How many times have you had to faff at the airport or the train station, frantically searching through your packed, full to the brim bag for your tickets or passport and they're lost somewhere at the bottom? Yeah, I used to be daft like that too so the simple answer it *not* pack like that. Seems again silly and obvious, but put stuff like that somewhere that's easily accessible. If you're wearing a jacket, put them in your pockets if they fit and you think they're secure enough. If not, put them in an accessible pocket on the outside of your bag. If you worry about people potentially taking them out of your bag without your knowledge, put everything in a pouch that can sit on the top of your packing so you can find everything at once. If you can take more than one bag with you, put these essentials & necessities in that separate smaller bag so you can grab them and go.

- Check your list again. I tend to go through my list as I pack and put a line through what I've packed. Once I think I'm done packing, I will go through again and put a tick next to what is definitely in my bag. I do this because some of my items like a toothbrush or my makeup/skincare might be things that I will still use on the morning of the day of travel so they need to be added to my bag last minute. For those items I tend to group them together in a pile somewhere so I know I have considered packing them and still cross them off the list, but on my second check through, instead of ticking these items off, I will put a little star next to them so I will remember to do a third and final check once I'm ready that day. Call it OTT but I call it better to be safe than sorry.

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