Before you embark on your next journey, you should know what you’re bringing with you. While some people take weeks to pack, others wake up the morning of their flight and throw some items in a bag. Whatever manner you use to pack, consider employing the KonMari technique to save time and find joy in your packing experience.
In 2014, Marie Kondo swept the nation and beyond with her KonMari method, a technique that helps you simplify your life and practice gratitude for what you have. Marie Kondo wrote the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and has since hosted a Netflix show called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” where she goes into American’s houses and helps residents pare down their items.
The KonMari method is about simplifying what we own. Whether you are packing for a cruise or for a weekend getaway, prepare for your trip by making your packing experience a joyful one. The KonMari method helps you to do that. Follow Marie Kondo’s tips on how to pack less.
How to Pack Like a Pro
People from all over the world have adopted the KonMari method because it is about not just having a clean home but having a healthy mindset about our material possessions.Packing may be a daunting task for so many of us, but when we change our mindset about it, we’ll have more fun in the process. Packing should be part of the fun. Follow this list to make it more enjoyable.
Start With Gratitude
You can change your mindset about packing. Packing shouldn’t be about checking an item off your to-do list. Rather, packing is taking the first step on your journey to your dream destination.
If you have the opportunity to go on a new adventure, you have the money, the time, and the health to thrive on your trip. Some people cannot afford the freedom to travel because they do not have the right budget or they are not healthy enough.
Before you even begin packing:
- Think about the fun, exotic experiences you will have on your cruise.
- Write a list of what you are thankful for
- Read these reasons to be grateful out loud.
Reading and hearing your reasons for being thankful will internalize your gratitude and start your journey on the right foot.
Marie Kondo is known for thanking her home before she cleans it. When we own a massive amount of material possessions, we can feel entitled rather than grateful for what we have. Showing gratitude for the chance to go on a trip will mentally prepare you for the journey and make you even more excited about traveling.
Think about how you will enjoy and experience your cruise, and then find items to pack that will support your vision. When you have a positive mindset about your trip, everything you pack will simply be a means for you to enjoy your trip even more. Start with gratitude, and joy will follow, even in the daunting task of packing.
Create a Pile
Visualize your trip before you gather your clothes. Don’t think about the stressful flight or the long lines through security. Think about your final destination, the sun on your cheeks, the waves crashing against the shore, the taste of a delicious glass of wine on your lips.
Taking the time to truly invest emotionally in your trip will help you to better plan and prepare for your journey. Most of all, visualizing your trip will help you think about what you will pack and what you will leave at home.
Create a list of what you think you’ll need. When packing, make your list of what to bring with you based on your itinerary, the weather and how long you will travel. Then, collect all of your items and place them in a pile — on the floor, on your bed or wherever you can see them.
Having all of your items out in the open will help you to get a visual image of what you need so that you can assess what you want to take with you. Laying everything out in a pile will allow you to see all that you are bringing in one place.
Sort & Establish What You Need
After throwing all your items into one pile, take the time to consider what you need. Be realistic! Pack what will make you feel confident and will help you to enjoy your trip as much as possible.
Marie Kondo suggests picking up each item and asking yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?” If you can’t envision yourself wearing that blouse while taking a majestic tour through Europe, sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, or exploring a temple in Asia, then don’t bring it. If the items are not practical or don’t make you feel good, thank them and save them for another trip.
Although the technique of finding items that bring us joy doesn’t necessarily help us sort through toiletries, you can use the idea to practice simplicity. Simplicity gives us joy, and when we choose to bring the appropriate amount of soap for a weekend trip, we will be happier in the long run. Of course, underwear or toothpaste doesn’t bring us joy in the way we think of joy, but having comfortable clothes and clean teeth will ultimately satisfy us on our trips away from home.
Other things to keep in mind as you sort:
- Don’t bring items “just in case.” Instead, only bring things you need. As you go through your items, visualize yourself wearing or using them on the trip. If you don’t see yourself wearing it, remove the article of clothing from your pile and save it for next time.
- Make sure you only bring what you need. Keep the giant bottle of shampoo at home. If you use beauty products daily, bring smaller sizes of those products. Most pharmacies and department stores have travel-sized bottles of your favorite beauty products.
Value Versatility & Minimalism
Travelling is all about finding joy. You have every reason to celebrate! Make sure what you bring with you will add to that joy and help relieve any unnecessary stress that comes along the way.
You can save time, space and energy by choosing to simplify your packing. You don’t want to miss out on the necessities. Don’t bring excess items, like the fifth pair of shoes, and then find out that you forgot your socks or your toothbrush.
Take the time to pare down what you bring with you. You could even use the opportunity to clean out your entire home and get rid of everything you don’t need. Downsizing and decluttering may seem overwhelming at first, but you will achieve peace and clarity when you have less clutter. Use these packing tips:
- Find out what will “spark joy” on your trip by looking at the item’s size, versatility and reliability. Versatile clothing can be used for more than one occasion. For instance, you might have a bathing suit coverup that also works as a dress. Using versatile items also will help you comply with airline-regulated sizes and weights.
- Pack only the clothes you love, not the items you might wear.
- What is inside your bag should spark as much joy as what is outside. You should also be in love with the luggage you choose. Stand in front of the mirror with your luggage. If your suitcase doesn’t bring you joy, thank the item for being there and for serving its purpose in your life. Then donate it and find a suitcase you do love.
- Think minimal when you pack. If you are an avid reader, you can cut down on the number of books you bring with you by bringing an e-reader, such as a Kindle or a Nook. Bring travel-sized items instead of large bottles of your favorite beauty products.
Give Everything Its Own Space in Your Suitcase by Categorizing It
After figuring out what you need to bring, categorize the clothing. You can do it several ways:
- By type, putting the shirts with the shirts and the underwear with the underwear.
- By the day or the occasion.
- By outfit if you want to plan out what you will wear each day of your trip.
Try creating special sections in your suitcase. For instance, create a nightstand bag to use after a long flight. Instead of shuffling through your suitcase, you have everything you need for the night in the nightstand bag.
To make your packing even easier, invest in packing cubes and bags to protect your sensitive items from damage in flight or in case of dropping them. Bring a laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes in. Have a bag for each category of items.
Use compartment bags to categorize your luggage. Marie Kondo might recommend storing shoes in their own bags. Store all of your makeup in one bag, as well as all of your electrical cords and chargers in another.
Keep accessories in one bag or box so that they do not move around in your bag during travel. Store undergarments in their own bags. Save space by tucking underwear in bra cups.
Have a travel kit with electrical converters, passports and other things you only use when you’re going on overseas trips. You can grab the kit and add it to your luggage when you travel abroad. The KonMari method emphasizes simple solutions like this that will make the packing process go more smoothly, so you can enjoy your trip more fully.
Fold & Roll
Along with the joy of what you bring with you, you also need to find joy in how you pack your suitcase. Marie Kondo has her own way of folding clothes for travel. Generally, Kondo recommends:
- Folding clothes into a small square
- Folding clothes as small as possible
- Rolling clothes that can easily wrinkle, such as dresses
- Rolling, not folding, thinner fabrics to save space
Place heavy items on the bottom of the suitcase and light items on top to avoid wrinkling. Marie Kondo does not recommend putting socks in a ball, because it stretches out the elastic. Instead, Kondo says to group both socks together and fold them into a square. Folding your clothes the Marie Kondo way will allow you to easily see what you have in your suitcase and help you easily find all of your items when you arrive at your destination.
When you fold your clothes, stack them clothes vertically. After you fold your clothes the Marie Kondo way, they should be able to stand up on their own. Placing your clothes vertically in your suitcase saves space and helps you see all of your clothes at a glance.
Don’t Pack Your Bag 100% Full
Marie Kondo recommends not filling your suitcase up all the way when you pack, for many reasons. Using only 90% of your luggage reduces the risk of your clothes wrinkling and allows you to buy souvenirs you know you’ll want.
An overstuffed backpack won’t bring you peace. Do not add extra items to your suitcase just because you have room for them. Bring whatever you will use, not items to have in case you need them.
Make a note of how your suitcase looks when you’ve finished packing. That way, when you pack again when you reach the end of your vacation, you can tell if something is missing. To ensure a complete packing success throughout your journey, unpack and clean out your suitcase right away when you arrive home.
Find Joy in Your Packing Experience
Overall, the goal is to be intentional and to take the time to prepare for packing. You can just throw all your items into one pile, but you could also create more space and save more time and energy by planning ahead of time. Packing light is actually better for our health and can help us avoid unnecessary injury.
Packing using the KonMari method also saves money because you won’t have to buy items for your trip that you don’t need. Travel packing the Marie Kondo way could help you avoid paying fees at the airport. Over-packing typically leads to charges when a bag weighs more than the maximum allowed weight.
Before you arrive at the airport, make yourself aware of airport regulations. Always check the individual airline to find out the rules regarding what they will allow you to bring on your flight. If you are afraid you will run out of an item, you can always buy more when you get to your destination.
Will you use the KonMari technique to help you pack lightly on your next trip? What packing tips do you follow when you’re preparing to go on vacation? Let us know in the comments.