Imagine a suitcase that gets lighter every day.
I think I look pretty cute here, chasing pigeons outside Athen's Archaeological Museum. It's all thanks to my jaunty outfit - a beaded, embroidered tunic top and wrinkle resistant, slim fit trousers. It was the perfect outfit for traveling in Greece's warm autumn weather. I was comfortable and everything fit well. So why did I throw it away at the end of the day?
Welcome to the world of throw away packing. Your carry on kit is about to get a lot lighter!
I rarely throw away my clothing. My disposable income goes towards - you guessed it -travel! When it comes to clothing I favor quality over quantity and I also try to get said quality at bargain basement prices whenever I can. But like most people, every year I seem to acquire a small pile of items whose life cycle is over - or at least it's over for me. Those items in good condition make their way to our donation pile but the rest are destined to be discarded around the world, thanks to throw away packing.
I plan my carry on pack with precision. Nothing makes the cut without careful consideration. It's not unusual for me to travel for a month with just three pairs of trousers and five shirts - and I always try to under-pack my bag, leaving room for souvenirs. But for those first few days of the trip, before conference papers or bags of coffee claim the space, I have room for my throw away gear.
That includes stuff like my beaded tunic top in Athens. A broken thread meant half the beads had been lost beyond repair. So it was good for one finale hurrah in front of the good citizens of Athens who would never see me again - but it wasn't salvageable for business meetings or social events at home. It had one proud, final day in the sunshine before getting tossed back at my hotel room. Same with those blue trousers - they looked fine from a distance but up close. those 5 year old stretchy pants were frayed and covered with a thousand tiny broken threads. Bye bye!
Also on the chopping block during my last trip to Europe? A pink cardigan (6 years old) which had been stretched out and had some mysterious micro-holes. There was also a purple tank top that had shrunk in the wash and required a camisole underneath for decency. The camisole went too -it had a pasta sauce stain that was only obscured by the purple tank top! Put it all together and I had a not-horrible ensemble, if only for 24 hours.
Finally, there was a green blouse that always seemed to gap in the wrong places and a pink camisole top that was too translucent for solo wear (both did just fine when layered together for a day at the Acropolis.) Oh, there was also plenty of underwear that had seen better days. And some socks that had just one wear left in 'em. All told, my pack had room for four days worth of throw away outfits and, yes, I really did throw it all away!
If you have something that's a little bit too loose or just a tiny bit too tight, or something that rides up or bunches up, or always wrinkles, or always needs a second layer, or looks good at a distance, or has a few impossible stains, put it in your throw away packing pile. Throw away packing is also great for people who have a "one in, one out" philosophy to buying new clothing. Toss the old item in your bag, wear it one last time, and throw it away. (If your clothing is still recyclable, send it to the airport or hotel lost & found, where it will eventually find its way to charity. Throw away packing doesn't actually mean everything goes in the garbage - it's just parting ways with you!)
Throw away packing has tons of travel advantages. It's a fun way to send off old favourites with one final hurrah. It's a great way to keep your pack tidy and organized during those first few sleep-zombie jet lag crazy days. It's an easy way to give yourself a little bit of variety in your travel wardrobe (at least at the beginning of your trip.) And at least you're not wearing the identical shirt in EVERY photo you take - there's more than one color going on! And It's awesome to feel like your pack is getting LIGHTER every day you travel.
I'm completely obsessed with packing - maybe a little too obsessed - but I think throw away packing is something everyone can all get behind. It's easy, it's free, and it's fun. What's not to love?
What are you best packing tips and tricks?
Looking for more packing inspiration?
Travel Gear Review: Tieks Shoes
Do You Really Need To Pack A Travel Towel?
Backpack Review: The Porter Osprey 46
Is Your Bag Really Carryon?
10 Tips To Keep Your Carryon Safe
My 3 Must-Pack Items
The Case for Carry-On and Ultra Light Packing
Rucksack Roundup: The Northface Verto 26