There we were, one bag after another. Clothes I hadn’t worn in 10 years. Yep, Chris and I spent the day cleaning out our wardrobe. Chris kindly agreed (after a lengthy buttering up period) to attempt this thing I found recently called Project 333.
It’s a website, or a movement, or a way of thinking. Basically it’s all about reducing the items in you closet (33 items in a 3 month period) to simplify your life. It’s based on minimalist principles and benefits.
Minimalism has been defined by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (www.theminimalists.com) as:
Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
Am I a minimalist? If you look in my suitcase you might say yes, but if you look at the number of tabs I have up on my computer right now, well… Maybe I’m part-minimalist/part cluttered mess. I like the idea and benefits. I am a person who feels “light” by de-cluttering. And I think most people do. For example, I was really passionate about doing project 333, and Chris wasn’t. But after we did it, we both felt so much better.
I had been wanting to clean out my wardrobe for a long time, and project 333 gave me the framework to make it easy. It’s not about sticking to the rules, because instead of 33 items I ended up with more like 45 items and Chris probably 60. But we both culled a lot, and now there’s space in the wardrobe, less decisions to make and easier items to find.
Why am I telling you about this? Well, this past year has been light all round for us. We travelled carry-on only for all of our trips, including 9 weeks in Europe, and it was the best decision with lots of benefits. There are lot’s of travel tips on packing lighter, and we follow lots of them. But sometimes they are too specific and it doesn’t really apply, or sometimes they are too broad and it’s still difficult to pack light. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make packing light, easy for everyone.
After seeing how well project 333 works, with having an overall number, I thought I could apply this to packing. So I went back to see how many clothing items Chris and I packed for Europe. I packed slightly over 20 and Chris slightly under 20 clothing items and shoes. We both packed in one carry on bag. So I figured 20 items of clothing and shoes was a sweet spot for packing light. And this is how The Pack 120 Experiment was born.
The Pack 120 Experiment
The Pack 120 Experiment is just that. An experiment to see if by having a smaller bag and an overall number of clothing items and shoes that you can pack, packing lighter is easier.
Pack in 1 small bag, 20 items of clothing and shoes.
This does not change with the length of travel.
Aim to pack in one small carry-on size bag. An additional handbag/small bag is also ok.
Checking your bag is ok too, but just because your checking it, doesn’t mean it has to be big, keep it at carry-on size or the next size up if you must.
The Number of Items
Aim to pack 20 items, including clothes, shoes, socks, pyjamas, scarfs etc.
What doesn’t it include?
It does not include underwear.
It also does not include toiletries, medications, tech gear, travel documents and other miscellaneous products.
You might be wondering why it doesn’t include these items.
Firstly, clothing takes up the bulk of your packing and is fairly universal in that everyone needs a certain amount of clothing.
Travel documents are necessary.
Medications are also necessary and vary from person to person.
Extensive tech gear is often only packed by those who require it to work.
And then there are toiletries. Packing toiletries is almost a thing on it’s own. Some people don’t pack them at all, rather buy what they need at their destination. If you pack carry on only, then you already have liquid restrictions which helps restrain from over-packing toiletries.
And the idea of The Pack 120 experiment is to keep things simple. If you minimise your clothing, and pack in a carry-on size bag, you should be able to pack light and do it easily. It also keeps it flexible so everyone isn’t restricted to 2 x tops and 3 x pants etc. It should also be something that people can stick to for a beach holiday or for a winter holiday.
If you’re considering packing lighter, but have found it hard, I would love for you to give The Pack 120 Experiment a go.