How to Pack for a Trip in 15 Minutes or Less

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Fashion, Photo Sessions, What to Wear | 6 comments

Am I the only person who dreads packing for a trip? I spend too much time trying to decide what to take, how much to take and am trying to make sure I have everything I possibly need that my packing time usually ends up taking at least an hour. Possibly more, but should I admit that here? In the end, my suitcase is never big enough and I can’t fit my shoes or cosmetics in my main bag. I end up with 5 little bags along with my big bag which makes for very cluttered packing (neither is my husband ย a fan of lots of little bags).

My husband’s family is from Iowa. That means a 16.5 hr trip (on a VERY good day). When we travel there, we try to at least stay a week. In the winter, that means lots of extra warm clothes because of the frigid temps and in the summer/fall I feel like I need to take a little bit of each season because i’m not sure what to expect. We have been there 4 times in the past 15 months and each time we go I plan to pack the least amount with the most options. THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED. By the time an hour and ย half rolls around, I get fed up with trying to be smart and I just start throwing things in. That method results in ย lots of clothes that I won’t even think about wearing while on the trip and when I pack to come home i’m so upset at myself for bringing all the extra.

When we travel to Iowa we usually are hauling things back and forth for family or for ourselves – meat, hardwood, bikes, strollers, old barn wood, (you name it, we’ve got it). On the way home we usually just have 2 empty seats in the front and often there is a mound of junk on the floor by my feet. We aren’t even in a tiny car, we have a truck and it is packed out. I’m excited to go again just so I can try out my new method of packing. I hope you will benefit from this as well.

After our last overloaded/over-packed trip I decided to try this new method of choosing clothes.


#1 Pick a color scheme of 2 coordinating colors and 2 neutrals (gray, black, white, brown, tan, ivory).
For week-end trips 2 coordinating colors. For 1 week trips 3 coordinating colors.

#2 Only pack clothes that I like and that fit comfortably.

#3 Wash clothes while you are away and re-wear with your mix and match items.

I’m taking pictures this week-end at a friend’s wedding. I like to wear black or gray when shooting so that my reflection is not super noticeable in the eyes.
My color choices for this week-end are: Navy, Pink, Black & Gray (with a bit of white mixed in).

A quick look in my closet and dresser and only the colors i’m allowed to pack pop out at me. I grabbed them and sorted them quickly on my bed. The process of elimination was much quicker than usual. Truthfully, I only need 4 outfits for the entire week-end, but you always need an extra! ๐Ÿ™‚


These are my tops which can be worn multiple ways. ^^

The stack on the far left are my under shirts. Those are the shirts I need to wear under my main tops to keep the modest. In the event that I need to mix something up a little I can always pair one of them with a cardigan for a different look. (you will also see that there is a little bit of white in there. I guess that is maybe cheating)


The middle stack are my main tops. Some of them are plain T-shirts and others are more formal tops. I can easy dress-up or dress-down and outfit as needed.
As you see I have more tops than I really need, but this way of packing actually gives me the freedom to have more than 1 extra outfit.


The stack on the far right are my cardigans. I NEVER leave home without a cardigan.
The great thing about cardigans is that they are lightweight and take up little room. They are also my go-to piece for dressing up a plain T-shirt or Tank.


I chose 4 skirts that matched my color scheme. & 1 dress (Please excuse the dirt on the dress. I washed it after I took these pictures.)


I chose 1 long denim skirt in case the weather turns cold. The other 3 skirts I chose because they are comfy and versatile.


I am planning to wear the black dress on Saturday while I shoot the wedding. I might change my mind.

Accessories are always hard for me when packing for a trip. In limiting my color options for the week end, that also limits my accessory choices and is a big help in keeping it simple.
Scarves are a necessity for me in keeping me warm and yet its so hard to decide on which ones I will actually need.


In case of cold weather, I have my navy pea-coat.


The scarves are mostly to help dress up my T-shirts and the flower pin is just in case I need some extra color.

Shoes are another space killer for me. You need, walking shoes, sandals, comfy shoes, black shoes, gold shoes, high heels (always have to have a pair of heels).

I chose 3 pairs of shoes. (Please excuse the phone photo.)


Only 2 pairs are pictured.

Navy Wedges – because they fit my color scheme and I love heels.
Gold flats – because they go with everything and are comfortable.

My third pair is a pair of sandals. They are not pictured because I bought 2 pairs today and have to decide which ones I am keeping.

The Perks:
It took me 10 minutes to pack for this trip and I am really happy about that.
Everything is packed snugly in 1 bag. Clothes, shoes and Cosmetics!! Woo-hoo

When I get back, maybe I can show you how I wore the different pieces I took along.

Do you have any packing tips? I’d love to hear how you pack the most into the least amount of pieces.
(That sentence does make sense if you read it a few times.)

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  1. This is brilliant! Now I want to take a trip just to try out your tips. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I bet your closet is even organized by color. What a great idea! You could maybe start a packing business?! I would hire you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Guilty as charged! ๐Ÿ™‚ and i’d love to come pack for you.

  3. I keep a cosmetic bag already packed in the bathroom closet. It has doubles of everything I use, except contacts and glasses. That has made packing that stuff so much simpler. Liked your thoughts! Come visit Iowa now! ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Love this post! This is exactly what I started doing for trips too. I tried it out on our long trip to Australia last month and it worked great. ๐Ÿ™‚

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