A Minimalist’s Guide to Packing for a Weekend Away

You go away for a weekend and it feels like you have a months worth of stuff. How should this actually be done?

If you’re anything like me, the idea of packing for a weekend away goes from 0 to 100 in three seconds.

Your mind goes to every single variable that would affect your weekend—and of course, you don’t want to be shivering on Saturday night because you overlooked bringing a cardigan, or dealing with blistered feet on Sunday.

This was me for most of my life—lugging around luggage for a weekend, telling myself that I was SO prepared, and I did it because I had everything I needed. And I admit, I still tend to start big and narrow down when packing.

There Is No Need to Lug Around Your Whole Wardrobe

But there were a few moments that made me realize pulling around more didn’t necessarily lead to feeling happier, or more content with my outfits.

First, I moved away from my hometown. It takes an hour or two to get to work, and another hour or two to visit my family.

I would take the train right from work to visit them, so whatever I packed now had to be light and small—and easy to carry during the most sweltering, crowded rush hour.

Second, being on a tight budget made me get creative, and appreciate the clothes I already had—instead of rushing to the mall when I was bored. That didn’t mean I was on a shopping fast (sometimes, people, you just need to replace something. No shame in that!). Instead, I was trying things like Stylebee’s 10×10 challenge and learning how to function with what I had.

Without realizing it, I was shifting my mindset and allowing myself to be ok, even confident in, working with the materials available.

I learned quickly which silhouettes I reached for.  I learned that what made me the most comfortable, also made me the most confident. This was the true turning point that taught me how to really pack for a weekend away.

So, How Do I Pack For a (Long) Weekend Now?

1. The Most Important, Cardinal, Game-Changing Rule: Check the Weather

I know it sounds primary, but I tell you. Since I started taking it seriously, I’ve learned it’s difficult to be surprised. And so much easier to feel sure of what you’re packing. It gives you a laser focus, and is the platform by which you can begin building your little weekend capsule.

2. Pick Only What You Love the Most

When you wear what you love, you’ll feel confident no matter what. So you’ll be a wedding guest, but your not big on dresses? Find a winning skirt combo, or romper and choose jewellery to dress it up.

Allowing yourself that leeway will give you the ability to decide without doubt (and give you some room to play).

3. Plan Your Outfits—and Your Colour Scheme

Knowing exactly what you will be wearing (instead of tossing it in a bag just in case) is key.

I find when I have a colour palette going, it allows me to be flexible and change outfits on the fly when I’m away in case I get bored.

4. My Philosophy: 2 Pairs of Pants, 3 Shirts

That combination of items is usually still quite light, allows me flexibility. I tend to include denim, as well as a comfortable, versatile pair (linen/stretch) as a second option.

5. Pyjamas Can Be More Than Pyjamas

For years, I’ve been thinking of pyjamas differently. I’ll wear linen pants or leggings to bed with a cotton tee, or any other relaxed clothes I bring with me that are part of my daytime outfit. For a weekend, it’s a convenient and easy way to make your clothes play double-duty into the nighttime.

The only caveat to this: if you’re in a hot climate, bring something fresh! Boxer shorts and a tee won’t take up too much additional room.

6. Try Bringing One Pair of Shoes

That idea was scary to me for a long time. But I’ve done it for many weekend trips now and love it! No stress involved. The secret? Finding the perfect pair. I swear by my Serena Sandals from Nisolo Shoes, and barely ever take them off.

But if you need more than one pair, take ’em! No sense hiking in your favourite flats.

7. Pick Tried-and-True Jewellery

A versatile pair of earrings will do wonders, especially if you’ve already packed in a colour scheme.

8. Know Yourself

I run cold. I know I do. Even on warm days, I’ll want a jacket or sweater by my side. If you know that about yourself, bring one. You want to be comfortable! I always choose the one jacket or sweater that will coordinate with everything.

The last hot tip that we all probably know: wear things there! If it’s on your body, it’s not in the bag, and it’s easier to carry along.

Take it from this girl who commutes 4h a day on public transit: When you have a ways to go, you want the lightest load, with the best outfits.

Happy packing!



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