I Was an Overpacker All My Life Until I Did This 1 Thing
I'm not going to lie: I always pack more outfits than I need to for a trip. Always. Being a habitual overpacker is one bad habit that has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. So, when the Swedish clothing brand Ellos invited me on a four-day press trip to Stockholm to celebrate the launch of National Lagom Day, I went about my normal ways after reading the invite and immediately started dreaming up 20 different outfits to pack. What can I say? A girl needs options.
Then it hit me — lagom. As Anne Stephenson, senior vice president of Ellos, said, "Life is about finding your happy medium. The message of 'lagom' is to discover peace in the simple things — a mantra that we have adopted at Ellos." I took a second to take it all in. Lagom is the Swedish word for "just the right amount." I decided that I shouldn't wait to get to Stockholm to find my happy medium when I could start right now.
Instead of trying to squeeze everything I owned into my bag, I made it my mission to be resourceful, without sacrificing style. I turned to pieces I love that could transition easily from activities and pull double duty on my trip. Here I was living the lagom life — and I hadn't even gotten to Sweden yet. Read on to see what I packed, and use these hacks to bring a little lagom to your life, too.
Understanding What Lagom Means
Fun fact: lagom is pronounced "lah-gom," and as I mentioned earlier, it translates to "just the right amount." Think of ways you can incorporate the mentality into your lifestyle. Whether it's by unplugging from your social media and taking a break during your trip or, in my case, figuring out how not to overpack, you can test it out on any facet of your life.
Step 1: Create a List
When I go on a trip, I tend to haphazardly create a small list of things I need to pack, but I never commit to actually making the time to create a thorough one. For my trip to Stockholm, I started off by creating a list of all the outfits I had in mind: a chunky red sweater that was super cozy, a pair of boots that were versatile and didn't give me blisters, and a really cute dress I had been meaning to wear. Keep in mind your list doesn't have to be fancy (you can even scribble it all out on a piece of paper); it just has to get the job done.
Step 2: Take a Second to Think About Your Activities
This is an important step to take. Luckily for me, the brand had disclosed what activities we were going to do each day, so it was easy to figure out what type of clothes I had to pack from there. Take a second to map out any excursions and activities you are planning to do on your vacation. This will help you decide which practical pieces you can't do without.
For example, I knew we were going on a boat ride and it was going to be windy, so I packed my denim shearling jacket, which I could wear on a daily basis. It was warm, comfortable, and stylish.
I also packed a pair of sturdy black boots that not only matched everything but were also great for all of the excursions we had during the trip.
Step 3: Consider the Weather
It's always easy to forget about the weather when you're going on a trip, especially when you're just focusing on what outfit is the cutest. Take a minute to look up the weather for the days you'll be at the destination and add it to the list you created. If it's raining and you don't want to lug a pair of rain boots with you, see if there's a pair of boots you can wear during the day that you don't mind getting wet. Is it going to be windy? Maybe it's a good idea to pack an extra layer that's easy to slip off.
Pro tip: at night, I opted for my leather jacket, which acted as a fancy alternative to my denim jacket. It was an easy way to stay warm and dress up my look.
Step 4: Downsize
Look at your list and the items you've decided on, and then find ways to downsize. Is there a coat you can wear every day? Instead of packing a pair of heels for each night, is there a pair of heels that match with everything? (I still found a happy medium by packing a dress for each night but downsizing on the number of shoes I carried.) This is when you should think about items that are multifunctional — like my leather jacket for all the dinners / late-night excursions because it was functional and stylish.
Pro tip: an easy way to downsize if you're planning on going out at night is to pack one pair of heels that match everything.
Pro tip: if you end up getting bored of your heels, you can always swap them out for your black boots.
Step 5: Get Packin'
Now that you've considered everything, it's time to get packing! You'll quickly notice that the number of items you started out with has significantly decreased in size and, in turn, you've found a sense of lagom — at least when it comes to packing.
Here's a list of the key pieces I ended up packing for the trip:
- a denim shearling jacket
- a leather jacket
- a pair of comfy jeans
- a pair of durable black ankle boots
- a pair of heels that matched everything
Most importantly, don't forget to unwind and relax on your trip!