This year I am on a mission to live a life I love. Taking every good opportunity that comes my way and not worrying too much about the future. This lead me to book a trip to Australia, with a working holiday visa for a year and a one-way ticket. But how do you pack for a year or more? If like me you have a small weight allowance and a lot of stuff read how I did it for some tips and inspiration.
Wardrobe clear out
Before even working out how you reduce a wardrobe full of clothes into a rucksack, first go through all your clothes getting rid of anything that no longer sparks joy. If you have seen Marie Kondo you will know the method she uses. It involves getting all your clothes and piling them on the bed so you can see everything you own. This is kind of a shock tactic to make you realise how much you really have, most of which you probably never wear.
Step two is to pick up every item of clothing and see if it sparks joy. If you can’t get your head around the sparks joy bit, think about whether you really love that item of clothing. Is it practical, does it fit, does it go with a lot of things, is it comfortable, have you worn it in the last year? If its no to any of those questions then place it in either a ‘bin’ pile, ‘charity’ pile or ‘to sell’ pile.
For those items, you want to keep neatly hang or fold them away. I wanted to see what I was keeping clearly and see how much the collection was building up so I had a separate rail outside of my wardrobe where I started to gather my best items.
Be ruthless but take a break
When whittling down your remaining clothes into an even smaller collection you have to be really ruthless. I found that depending on what mood I was in this could be really easy or really tough. I read in one of my books that your brain only has the capacity to make a certain amount on decisions a day and once that processing power has been used up then you will struggle for the rest of the day. So if you have been working on decluttering for a while and making lots of decisions then take a break. Spread the process out over a few days, if you are having decision fatigue leave it and go back to it in the morning.
When you are ready to make decisions again try to narrow down your collection into rucksack sized amount. I found this so tough. My weight allowance was 20kg and ideally, I wanted to keep it even less than that so I wasn’t struggling with the weight of it on my back. I found categorising my clothing into, dresses, tops, underwear, trousers and other, really helped.
Try to think about where you are going and what the weather is going to be like. If you were packing for the UK, for example, it would be very difficult as we have all kinds of weather at any time of the year, so you need to pack for very hot, hot, cold and freezing even if you were just coming for April. As I am going to be doing Australia temperatures are likely to be better in general even in the winter.
I love being organised so I went looking on Instagram for ways to be organised for travelling and came across packing cubes. They are lightweight zip-up bags in different sizes. Great for organising your clothes into categories and make packing more into less space a lot easier. They also mean that staying organised when you get on holiday or on your travels is a lot easier. I thought with a rucksack that is tall I am going to struggle to find stuff at the bottom without taking everything out and making a mess. At least by putting everything in the bags I only have to take a few bags out, take the items I need and everything else stays neatly folded.
Reduce Reduce Reduce
Once I thought I had everything sorted and packed neatly into the cubes I tried packing everything into the rucksack. I couldn’t fit it all in. I tried stacking the cubes in a few different ways but I still had too much stuff. Again, I let it another day and came back to it with fresh eyes, removing anything I wasn’t 100% sure I would want. I had to keep reducing and reducing to get it to all fit in the bag. I then filled up all the smaller compartments with all my loose items.
So I am not an expert on packing but this gradual reduction method seems to have worked so far. I hope this helps if you are about to embark on an open-ended adventure. Perhaps I will do an update when I have been travelling for a while. I can let you know how much clothing I actually needed whether I bought the right things.