Confessions of an Overpacker

Happy Monday friends!

Currently I'm at the beach with Bryce's family and couldn't be having a better time!

I thought an appropriate post during my vacation would be the packing tips I've learned over the years!

I've always been a huge overpacker and also am notorious for throwing a bunch of random clothes into a bag and then struggling to put outfits together during my trip.

This time around, though, I've decided to reform my ways!  So without further adieu, here are my confessions...

Step 1:
Make a List (or two..)
As long as I can remember I've made packing lists for trips divided into categories--clothes, toiletries, entertainment, other.
This time around I changed my normal routine though--rather than writing things like "5 Tops", "3 Pair Shorts", I wrote "7 Dinner Outfits"
I then made a second list with those outfits planned out!

Step 2:
Lay it All Out
After making my list, my first step was to lay out all my outfits and then try them on (now I'm not necessarily saying try EVERYTHING on, but in my case a few of the tops in this picture were new, so I made sure to try the outfits I made with them on to be sure it looked good--the last thing you want to do is be away from your closet in an outfit that doesn't look quite as well on as you pictured it in your head).

I also was sure to make my outfits versatile:  The tops, shorts, and jeans can be combined in many different ways so if my mood changes while I'm there it's okay!

Next I also laid out everything else--pajamas, tee shirts, running shorts, underthings, etc.

As you go through this process sometimes you realize that you may need less than you wrote on your list, or sometimes more (like the pink cardigan posted above...this is perfect because it will go with each of my outfits and will be good to have for cool restaurants or breezy nights)!

Step 3:
Pack It (duh!)
One of the best tips my mom taught me was to always put whatever you'll need first at the top of your bag.  In my case, the first thing I'll need when I open up my suitcase is pajamas, so those are at the top!

I love the Vera Bradley duffel--I've had this one since the 9th grade!  They're perfect because you can always seem to find room to stuff one more thing in...like Easteregg, my beloved sleeping companion!

Step 3
Everything Else
For me clothes are the first thing I always think of when packing, but when you're going away there's lots of other things you must bring along.  Here are my tips for all those things!

Choose your luggage wisely--this market tote is filled with games for the evenings or rainy days as well as the books I'm taking along.  What's even better though, is this tote is perfect for use as a beach bag or picnic basket once I arrive!

Be prepared:  These three cosmetic cases are ALWAYS ready to go--the green and blue one is filled with shampoo, conditioner, face wash, a razor, an extra toothbrush, etc.  It is always packed with these things so when I'm ready to head out of town I don't have to take the time to get them all together I simply can grab it and go.  The orange Trina Turk bag is filled with things I use daily--toner, eye makeup remover, perfume, etc and finally the smallest one is filled with my makeup.  I use these two bags daily but they're also always ready to go!

Keep a hard jewelry case filled with jewelry you wear often, then when you're headed out of town you can add anything else you may want to take and you know your jewelry is protected in a stuffed suitcase.  This Rowallan Bebe version I received as a graduation present is perfect!

Another tried and true trick is to wear some of the jewelry you want to take along.

Let's talk shoes--I know some of you can't go away for vacation without ten different pair of shoes, but be real!  I would argue that any lady can go away on a beach vacation with just 3 pairs of shoes.  A nice pair of gold and silver sandals as well as a pair of comfy beach flip flops is really all you need.  Some of the outfits I put together would look fabulous with wedges, but they're bulky and take up a lot of space...not ideal for packing!

Have an Everything Else Bag
I always have a bag that becomes a catchall for everything else I need.  In this bag, my shoes are packed neatly in the bottom.  I then also added my cosmetic bags and jewelry.  After doing that I realized I needed somewhere to fit my raincoat and casserole dish (I'll be making my hash brown quiche during the vacation)...they easily fit in the top of this bag.  There was even room to spare for me to throw some chargers and other miscellaneous last minute stuff in!

Bathing Suits
Sadly I don't have a picture for this tip, because this bag was already packed up in the car when I did everything else.  BUT, when traveling to the beach, lake, river, etc--I have always used my beach bag as a suitcase for my swimsuits, towels, sunscreen etc.

Take a BIG Purse
I always make sure to take a big purse whenever I'm traveling because you can always stuff it full!

Packed and Ready!

Do you do any of these things I do?  What tips do you have to avoid overpacking?

On a side note, I decided it was finally time to invest in a new camera.  I got a Canon PowerShot A4000 IS and am delighted with the added clarity in my pictures!  I'm so excited to have a shiny new camera for all my bloggy pictures!

Have a great week!!!  I'll be back Saturday!


  1. I find that I can fit a ton of stuff in my Vera Bradley duffel also! Love your packing tips and I need a hard case jewelry box!

  2. Glad you're having a great time at the beach! Fabulous tips my friend!

  3. I love packing with my Vera duffel. Great tips for packing. We're really similar in that we make lists before we even start. I've needed a good jewelry holder, and that one is perfect. I may just have to invest in one. Haha. Great post, and have fun at the beach!

  4. That's a great tip to put the thing you need first in the top of your bag! Why don't I think of these things? :) I have the same Vera Bradley duffel and love it! And I'm definitely adding that Bebe jewelry case to my "want" list!

  5. You are so organized, girl! I'm a HUGE fan of lists, too. I make lists on lists on lists :) And I am in LOVE with your monogrammed giraffe-print bag. Seriously so cute. Have fun on your vacation, and I expect to see a lot of pictures!

  6. These are great packing tips! We travel fairly regularly and I still kind of stink at packing! I think I'll use some of these tips!

  7. Great advice! I'm a underpacker, so its nice to know the things that I always miss and how to include them!

  8. Great post! just discovered your blog and I love it!
    I'm your newest follower - hope you can check me out too! : )


  9. I love this post! I have always struggled with packing until I was forced to fit 10 days worth of stuff in a back pack when I went to Italy last year. I'm a huge fan of the packing list too, it's a lifesaver! Enjoy the rest of your beach vacay!

  10. This is funny! You pack almost exactly the same way I do!

  11. I love reading packing tips! I am great at packing H for his trips but I am awful at packing for myself. I think I am going to document my packing tonight like you did-will make me really think about what I am doing!

    I always keep my cosmetic bags ready to go. So handy!

  12. Love your suggestions! I've been visiting my boyfriend in NYC a lot the Summer and always struggle with overpacking!

  13. what is bryce stuff

  14. @Anonymous

    Bryce is my boyfriend and he headed out of town a day early to go pick up his Grandmother. He had forgotten a few things that he asked me to get so I made "Bryce Stuff" on the list!

  15. You should have seen my recent packing brilliance in managing to go away for two nights w/out having to check luggage. I am a notorious procrastinator - & overpacker! So it was a challenge. Enjoyed your tips, though! =)

  16. I love this post! I basically do the same thing when I pack! That jewelry case is PERFECT, I may have to look into getting one!

  17. I'm a HUGE over packer!! My issue is that I never know what I'll want to wear on a day to day basis, so I end up taking two outfits per day instead of one! Bad, I know. I love your tips!

  18. Vera Bradley duffles really are the best! I just bought a black roller bag for work travel, and I missed using my brightly patterned one. I'll have to save the VB for personal trips. ;)


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