Travel Packing Checklists Overpack Donate Clothes

Leaving Things Behind

Many times on a trip, we seem to pack things that end up on their last leg. This can mean we brought something that was near the end of it’s life or things just got really beat up along the way. What most don’t realize, is this could be the door to the ultimate packing strategy: lighter suitcases on the way home. So how do we plan for this?

Understand your activities

The first step to packing for any trip, is to understand what types of activities you’ll participate in while away.  Is this a lay on the beach and do nothing kind of trip? Back to back adventures? Museum hopping? Or something in between? The most important part in thinking through your activities is to be conscious of how rough you’re going to be on the items you bring. Beach trips mean things like old towels and bathing suits, while exploring new cities might mean older walking shoes and those items that don’t fit just right.

Pack items on the spring cleaning list

Now that you know what you’re going to need on your trip, think about those items you’ve delayed getting rid of.  Spring cleaning might not be near, but no time like the present!  Are the kids coming along? What are they just about to grow out of? Might be a great item to bring and leave behind. Do you have items you bought and just never seem to wear?  If you don’t love it by the end of the trip, it’s probably time to leave it behind.

Commit to leaving them

The reason we have all this stuff to pack in the first place: hesitation.  Don’t let “what if” get the best of you. These are things you know you should get rid of, as hard as it may be.  As soon as that item entered your suitcase, you knew it was time for it to go. Follow through and make sure you don’t bring it back.  One option: throw it out as soon as you use it.

Good shape: Try to Donate

Sometimes the things we no longer want aren’t “dead,” but they’re just not for us. No reason in letting these items go to waste though!  Especially if you’re traveling to poorer countries, many families could really use those items you don’t love.  Since you are going to use them one last time on your trip, it’s great if you can have items laundered before leaving behind, but don’t worry if you can’t.  Just leave things nicely folded with a short note that they should be washed before use.  And make sure you don’t include any soiled items.  If you’d be grossed out receiving them, those you’re trying to help will probably feel the same way.  Those items should hit the can.

Items you might leave behind:

  • Towels
  • T-shirts
  • Bathing suit cover ups
  • Old sweaters/long johns
  • Socks

Post Author: