Even though my travel plans this year have been on pause, I’m still always reevaluating my packing skills. Knowing what to throw in a carry-on versus what to keep at home is a valuable organizational tool I still use once it’s time for my big end of year closet cleanouts. As a former chronic over-packer, learning to travel light definitely took some time. If you’re like me, a study that Trunk Club (Nordstrom’s personal styling company) recently conducted will probably pique your interest. The study examined the travel and packing habits of Americans and found that a whopping 62% of those surveyed admitted to overpacking when traveling, which the study attributed to the fact that most started packing 24 hours before leaving. They also voted that packing is more stressful than the trip itself. Suddenly staying at home doesn’t sound so bad.
The study found that “nearly a quarter of the average suitcase [is] left untouched when traveling,” which is a shame when we could all use that extra space for things we’ll actually wear, or even swap out our suitcase for a smaller one. So what are the most common items that people always pack but never wear? Jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and socks. (This tidbit might be handy to keep in mind the next time traveling becomes a thing again.) Maggie Mee, the head of merchandising at Trunk Club, advises, “To avoid overpacking, consider using versatile items that can be repurposed for multiple outfits and occasions.” Translation: Narrow it down to one jacket, two long-sleeve shirts, and only enough socks to cover the days when wearing shoes that actually require socks.
Read the survey for even more findings from the study, and scroll to shop some of the versatile items I learned to always pack.