My ‘Simplify Your Life’ Packing List

Hanging from the wall in my kitchen is a platter that reads ‘Simplify Your Life’.  Its a mantra I embrace, although not easily.  I tend to accumulate stuff.  I am by no means a hoarder, and nothing falls on top of you when you open my closets (anymore), but I have a lot of ‘stuff’ that serves no purpose in the present.  Recently I purged my wardrobe; I was hanging on to business suits I wore 7 years ago.  Maybe being back in corporate someday has a certain appeal, but wearing suits from 2007 does not.  So while I’m in a spring cleaning state of mind, I figure I should apply the less is more strategy to my vacation time, too.

Our family’s Spring Break is two weeks from today.  Riviera Maya here I come!  Its one of my favorite places to vacation with stunning beaches, excellent hospitality, and lots of activity for the kids — for me its paradise.  I’ll be lazy in the extreme:  maybe start my day with yoga, mid day I’ll soak up the sun while I lounge on La Playa.  Evenings I’ll enjoy meals I don’t have to cook, clean up, or plan.

But in the past, I’ve made the mistake bringing a whole suitcase’s worth of un-necessaries:  an extra pair of heels, at least 2 extra dresses, an extra book, extra work out clothes, extra pool wraps, extra T shirts, snorkel gear.  When I’m packing them I don’t know they are ‘extras’ — I just feel like I gotta have options!  But to do that, I’ve had to lug the ‘Big Boy’ with me — an oversize black suitcase that could squeeze a medium sized child inside.

Searching the internet for simple packing guides I found plenty of resources:  Youtube videos, Pinterest posts, tips from fashionistas.  But I wonder if I can pull it off.  I mean I love the idea of taking a 10 piece capsule wardrobe — interchangeable items with multiple uses.  Except that after I travel by air, I feel gunky.  Do I really want to wear my plane shirt again?  And wearing my swim wrap — spotted with sunscreen, spritzed in ocean water and pool chlorine, as a ‘sundress’ out to dinner?  I don’t think so.  I mean it could work for some ladies, but not me.  I’m too — active.  Which is a nice way of saying that when I’m in the tropics, I sweat.

Those guides are helpful, but I’ll have to start by reviewing what I did on my last spring break trip to Mexico:

  1. flew on the plane
  2. struggled through customs
  3. unpacked my stuff
  4. went to the pool, went to the beach, read a lot
  5. went to the gym 3 times
  6. went to dinner
  7. went sightseeing
  8. went snorkeling
  9. flew home

I’m expecting a similar trip, a lot of sunning, dining, and a little bit of sightseeing thrown in.  I won’t have a washing machine, but I will have a tub to soak things.  So at a minimum I need:

  1. A layered outfit for the plane, a stylish backpack to carry my iPad, purse, passports, and meds
  2. 3 bathing suits, spf, 1 wrap, flip flops, hat, small bottle of detergent to soak a suit
  3. 2nd pool wrap or sundress for lunch and breakfast
  4. 4 evening outfits and the sandals I wore on the plane.  Since evening is cooler and we’re only out for 3 hours or so, these I can re-wear:  2 sundresses and 2 shorts / capris and tops combos
  5. 2 sports bras and yoga pants — if I’m sticking to yoga, no running shoes this time, just flip flops, and water shoes for a brisk walk on the beach
  6. 10 undergarments (no skimping here)
  7. 2nd pair of sandals (one extra allowed :o)
  8. Toiletries and insect repellent (I have strong reactions to bites, it can ruin a trip so I protect myself dawn and dusk)
  9. Clothes for ride home – – whatever isn’t dirty, and the outer layer from the first flight

What stays at home:  my snorkel gear (I’ll use the resort’s gear), my running shoes and clothes, at least 3 dresses that I wouldn’t have even worn, several pairs of shorts and T’s I wouldn’t have worn either, and hard back books.  I’m going electronic on this trip.

Now please note, I said I was packing simplified.  I did not say I was getting all of this into a carry on bag.  I hate pushing a suitcase through TSA screening, lugging it around the terminal, squeezing it through the plane’s aisle, to force it into the overhead compartment.  When I have a free checked bag (international travel!) I check my bag.  But I’m leaving the Big Boy at home.

Are you a habitual over packer too?  If you have some cool tips for me reach out, I’d love to hear them!

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