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How to Pack (my best minimalist packing tips and resources)

Be More With Less - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 04:00

The one thing that stresses people out about traveling is packing.

I used to be one of those people.

I eased my stress about packing by bringing everything with me. I was a chronic over-packer. And, if the situation ever came up where I had packed everything and I still had a little space left in my suitcase, I felt like I’d won the lottery. More space = more stuff. I’d run around looking for other things that would fill the empty space. I might need that stuff. You know … just in case.

One time I went to Mexico for less than a week. I brought 5 pairs of shoes plus the ones I was wearing, and then wore flip-flops for the entire trip. What was I thinking?

I love to travel and see the world. Living with less has inspired me to travel with less. Everything I pack fits into a small carry-on suitcase and tote bag or I don’t bring it. That goes for a trip that last several days or several weeks. If you love to travel too and want to see the world with a little less baggage, I hope you’ll enjoy my best minimalist packing tips and resources.

How to Pack: packing tips

Pack for half of your trip. If you are going to be away for a week, ask yourself what you need for 3 or 4 days. Don’t be afraid to outfit-repeat. People barely notice what you wear in your day-to-day life. It’s unlikely anyone will notice or care while you travel.

Create packing lists. Before your next trip, list everything you bring with you. Check each thing off when you use it. At the end of the trip you’ll know you can leave anything home that wasn’t crossed off on that type of trip. Keep your list handy with details about where you went and what time of year, and save so the next time you take a similar trip, you’ll know exactly what to pack.

Understand your laundry opportunities. Will you be staying somewhere with a washing machine? I’ll rent an apartment from Airbnb specifically because it has a washing machine if I am staying somewhere for longer than 2-3 days. Some hotels have laundry rooms for guests. At the very least, you’ll likely have access to your bathroom sink where you can wash and line dry certain items.

Know when to fold ’em. I’ve tried rolling, stacking and folding my clothes for packing and haven’t noticed a big space difference. In a recent article in Real Simple magazine, author Hitha Palepu says, “I roll my bottoms and fold my tops—I find my clothes end up with fewer wrinkles and I can fit more in my bag.” The only way to really know what works best for you is to experiment. I recommend rolling your clothes for the first leg of your trip and then folding or stacking them on the return trip. See which method you prefer.

Create a travel day uniform. Assign one outfit for your travel day. Then you don’t have to think about what to wear on the plane, train or however you are traveling. No matter wear you are going, your travel uniform can be the same. I typically wear a black pair of leggings, short-sleeved shirt or tank, and black zip up sweatshirt with a scarf (on or in my tote bag). Even if I’m traveling to a warm destination, I know I’ll get cold on the plane.

Remember … just in case means never. When you notice you are adding items to your suitcase just in case you might need it, stop. Ask yourself why. Will you really use it or (like I was) do you feel compelled to fill the empty space in your suitcase? Can you get it at your destination if you need it? What’s the worst thing that will happen if you don’t bring it?

Don’t forget what matters. If all of your focus is on your stuff and what to pack, you may miss out on what really matters like connecting with people on your travels or enjoying new locations. More importantly, don’t forget about you. Take care of yourself while traveling.

How to Pack: packing resources

How to Pack: This book includes all things packing. From choosing the right carry-on bag to custom packing lists, How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip is your go-to packing guide.

Pakt One Bag: My friends Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists are releasing the same bag they use and used in Minimalism, a Documentary about the Important Things. I’ve taken The Pakt One Bag on a couple of trips and am surprised that it holds as much as my hard-shell carry-on. See what I mean here (you may be surprised to find out what a minimalist actually packs too).

Minimalist packing lists: 

Good packing articles:

Free webinar about dressing with less: Dressing with less makes packing less so much easier and more appealing. If you want to hear more about how I let go of most of my clothing and the guilt that came with them, and why I continue to dress with 33 items or less every 3 months, join me for a free Q & A webinar. You don’t have to sign up or give me your email address. Join me Wednesday, June 13th at 6:00 PM EST (NYC time) using this link to join. If you can’t make it, I’ll share a recording too.

The post How to Pack (my best minimalist packing tips and resources) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

A Simple Life is Messy Too (we can’t simplify our way into a perfect life)

Be More With Less - Tue, 06/05/2018 - 12:13

I’ve been sick for a week. It’s just a cold but I’m frustrated that I don’t feel well, that I don’t want to do things, or make things, and that I don’t have the energy I usually do. Feeling like this reminds me about what simplicity can’t do for us.

Simplicity is an amazing tool. It’s helped me to make some big changes in my life. Thanks to simplicity, I live well with MS, changed careers, and typically feel way better than I used to when I was deep in clutter, debt, and stress.

While living a simpler life with less stress can add more health, wealth and happiness to our lives, it can’t prevent every mess.

  • Even though my closet is tidy, I still caught a cold.
  • Even though I’m debt free, anxiety still gets the best of me.
  • Even though my calendar has tons of white space, I still get hurt, inside and out.
  • Even though my home is clutter-free, there are days when I am a hot mess.

We can’t simplify our way into a perfect life, nor should we want to. I bring it up though incase you are just getting started, or struggling, or comparing, or just curious. I paint a beautiful picture of minimalism and simplifying but some days, even with simplicity, life is messy. We are messy. It’s part of the human condition. Highs, lows, ups, downs … all of it comes with being human, even when we’ve simplified.

I have to work on myself every day. Feeling calm and centered doesn’t come naturally. I over react when I want to under react. I hold on when I mean to let go. In between all the lovely parts are messy parts. Sometimes I think I’ve got it all together but unless I’m intentionally focused, I’m all over the place. Living with less, practicing a morning routine, and taking really good care of myself helps me be more me. A little bit each day matters more than trying to squeeze it all in over a weekend. Consistency matters more than intensity.

Life is messy. Simplicity helps but it’s not a cure-all. We have to keep coming back to ourselves. Even when it’s hectic or sad or scary out there, we can still be our warm, loving, amazing, gracious selves. Just because things are crazy around you doesn’t mean things have to be crazy within you.

On the days when you aren’t your best, and when things are messy, be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect or demand more than you have to give. Be patient and remind yourself that things always turn around. Treat yourself like you would treat a really good friend having a bad day.

Invite simplicity in to improve your life, not to perfect it. Even the messes have something to offer.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Hands on heart. Repeat. You’ve got this.

P.S. Today is my birthday and the beginning of a brand new year. I want to celebrate by giving you gifts. Please enjoy …

  1. A free chapter from my book, Soulful Simplicity. Click here to download (you don’t have to leave an email address).
  2. Free Kindle version of my book Mini-Missions for Simplicity (available through June 9th). If you don’t have a Kindle, you can grab the free Kindle App for your digital device. Here’s the link to the free book.

If you forward this article to friends, they can have these gifts too. No strings attached. Happy new year!

The post A Simple Life is Messy Too (we can’t simplify our way into a perfect life) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Closet Detox: 10 Steps to End Closet Chaos (+ what you must give up to be free)

Be More With Less - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 14:37

When I decided to eliminate as much stress from my life as possible in 2006, I had no idea that the clothes in my closet were stressful. I knew there was stress in my diet, in the way I managed money (not well) and that stress was in my schedule and in my job, but my wardrobe? I actually thought my clothes and more specifically, my shopping for clothes was a stress reducer.

I rarely shopped because I needed new clothes, but instead shopped to feel better, to relieve the pain of boredom and working a job I didn’t enjoy, and because I honestly believed that new shoes would make me happier.

When I challenged myself to dress with less in 2010 by creating minimalist fashion challenge Project 333, I realized that all the shopping was creating more stress in the form of spending time, money and energy that I didn’t really have. And, even more surprising, I noticed I had all kinds of stress and emotion wrapped up in the clothing hanging in my closet. I’ll tell you more about that later but first, let’s talk closet detoxing.

It may take years to declutter your home, choose a new career or dig your way out of debt, but if you want to reduce stress, feel lighter, and create more space, time, and money for yourself within a few hours or a few days, consider this closet detox.

Pre-tox (a few days before your detox)
  • Block off a whole day or a few hours 2 days in a row.
  • Stock up on snacks.
  • Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat music.
Closet Detox: 10 Steps to End Closet Chaos (+ what you must give up to be free)

1. Take a picture or two of your closet.
This is your “before” pic, your “let’s never go back here” reminder. If you are feeling brave, post on Instagram or another social platform with hashtag #project333.

2. Empty your closet … yep the whole thing.
Get all that stuff out of there. For extra motivation to complete the project, toss all of your clothing and closet goodies on your bed.

3. Find your other wardrobe related items.
If (like me) you have clothes, accessories or shoes in other closets, drawers, boxes or secret hiding places. Drag that stuff out too and add it to your closet pile.

4. Take another picture.
This is your “OMG I had no idea I had so much stuff” picture. If you are feeling brave, post on Instagram or another social platform with hashtags #project333 or #bemorewithless.

Take a good luck at your pile of stuff and feel the weight and the shock. This is a really important step. Being offended by the investment of time, money and energy I’d made on a pile of things I barely used helped me let go. It will help you too.

5. Sort all the things.
Turn up the music and break for snacks as needed during this step.

  • Pile 1: Love: I love these items. They fit me well and I wear them frequently.
  • Pile 2: Maybe: I want to keep this but I don’t know why. This could include off-season items too.
  • Pile 3: Donate: These items don’t fit my body or my life.
  • Pile 4: Trash: These items are in poor condition. (repurpose if possible)

6. Remove all the things.
Before you add anything back into your closet, remove the things in the piles you aren’t keeping. Remove them from the closet, the room and your home. Don’t be tempted to revisit these items by delaying their farewell.

7. Store all the things.
If there are items you are unsure about, box them up. Don’t give them away and don’t keep them in your closet. Create some separation by hiding these items for at least 3 months. Revisit them after dressing with less for several months. By then you’ll have cut the emotional ties you have with those items and you’ll have more information about what you really want or need in your closet.

8. Choose your own adventure.
Now you are left with clothes you wear, clothes that fit your body and your lifestyle, and hopefully clothing that you enjoy wearing. Here’s where you get to choose your own adventure …

  • Adventure #1: Put all of those items away and admire your lighter closet.
  • Adventure #2: Try Project 333. Take things to the next level and narrow down to 33 items including clothes, jewelry, accessories and shoes for the next 3 months. See more detailed challenge rules here. Box up the rest and hide it.

9. Capture the light.
Take a few pictures of your detoxed closet. Inspire us and post on Instagram or another social platform with hashtags #project333 or #bemorewithless.

10. Let the guilt go too.
When you let go of anything in your closet, let the guilt go with it. The best way to let go of the guilt is to let joy replace the guilt. Let love replace the guilt. Remind yourself that you simply don’t have room in your life for guilt.

P.S. You can apply a version of these steps to any drawer, cabinet, closet or room in your home.

Closet Detox: What you must give up to be free

I share this list at the risk of sounding preachy, but it made such a big difference in my life to give these items up that I thought it might be helpful to share. I promise I’m not preaching. You know what’s best for you.

If you want to be free, give up clothes and other items …

  • that don’t fit your body today. Hide all of the items that don’t fit. Too small? Too big? Either way, get it out. Even if you struggle with weight fluctuation, give yourself a break. Your too small clothes aren’t making you smaller and your too big clothes aren’t making you bigger. See what happens when you accept the person you are and the body you have today and dress for that. If that changes, change your clothes.
  • someone gave you that you never wear. Accept the gift with the intention it was given and then move on. If it’s something you would never wear, pass it on.
  • that don’t fit your lifestyle. Are you holding on to clothes you wore for a prior life, or for a life you aspire to have? Dress for the life you have right now and you will move through it with more ease and grace. The rest can go.
  • you spent way too much money on. If you don’t let go now, you will pay again and again and again. You have paid enough.
  • that make you feel sad or bad. If there are items in your closet that are dragging you down because they remind you of a sad occasion, or a bad time, or because they make you feel like you aren’t good enough in any way, know that you are allowing that to happen. Give the items up and you give up the negative emotions too.

If you want to hear more about how I let go of most of my clothing and the guilt that came with them, and why I continue to dress with 33 items or less every 3 months, join me for a free Q & A webinar. You don’t have to sign up or give me your email address. Just save the date – Wednesday, June 13th at 6:00 PM EST (NYC time) and use this link to join. If you can’t make it, I’ll share a recording too.

The post Closet Detox: 10 Steps to End Closet Chaos (+ what you must give up to be free) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

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