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How to Downsize Your Life Into a Backpack

Updated on November 22, 2017
Dylan Buckley profile image

Dylan is a freelance writer specializing in the self-development industry. HubPages is where he posts content he doesn't otherwise write.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we realize that we have too much crap. For some people, it happens when you get so overwhelmed with the clutter surrounding you that you finally snap and start trying to figure out how you can declutter your home. For others, this moment comes when you decide that you're going to travel for long periods of time or when you are faced with life-changing moments such as homelessness or evacuation. This article is going to focus on the latter. If you are trying to cram your life into a backpack or a suitcase, use the tips below so that you can get the most out of your minimal space.

1. A Backpack Is a Tool for Survival, Not Luxury

Like it or not, your backpack is going to be mainly used for essential items. What do these items look like? Well, for example, some essentials that you are going to need to have packed include toiletries, clothes, undergarments, warm layers, personal care items, and important documents. This doesn't sound like it will take up too much space, especially since many things come in travel sizes these days, but it is going to quickly fill up your backpack/suitcase. It is absolutely necessary that you make sure you have gone through and packed these objects first.

To make things easier for yourself, pack your essential clothes first. These items will generally take up the most space. Once you have figured out how to pack your clothing the most efficiently, you will then be able to determine how much space left you have for your other essentials and items you want to take with you. However, don't allow yourself to get carried away with clothes and toiletries. Remember, if you don't need it, don't pack it!

2. Packing Tools Are Your Friend

Packing doesn't always go as expected. Your luggage may be too small, your clothing may be too big, or you may not have enough room to pack all of your essentials. The solution? Look to packing tools. Packing tools include objects such as packing cubes, compression bags, and vacuum seal bags. Packing cubes will help you to compress and store lightweight clothes while compression bags and vacuum seal bags will help you to save space on some of your bigger items that do not easily fold up.

You should also look into mini/portable safes so that way you can protect your important documents and financial items from theft. If you plan on living out of your suitcase or backpack and it will mainly be within sight for most of your journey, a small gun safe should be what you need to protect your documents. If you're looking for something more portable that you can carry on your person, look into a wearable necklace pouch that has a protective fabric.

3. Entertainment or Burden?

If I were to travel anywhere, it would be necessary for me to bring my computer because I need it to work. I also would need a phone, my iPad, which I use as a personal client tracker and to-do list, and headphones so I can better hear my clients when I am doing online meetings. Although these things take up space, there are necessary for me.

Take a look at your electronics and other personal items. It's great to have a tablet but are you truly going to use it? Will those bulky noise canceling headphone provide you with hours of entertainment or will they merely take up space in your luggage? Be honest with yourself when you ask yourself what items are necessary to take with you. You don't want to be halfway through your travels, only to realize that you have taken more than you can carry. Brutally evaluate each and every object before packing it away.

4. Keep Sentimental Items to a Minimum

Sentimental items are one of the biggest killers when it comes to packing and for good reason. It's natural for us to want to have the things on hand that truly matter to us. I won't say that you have to leave behind all of your personal items but I will let you know that it is better to leave behind as much as you possibly can. If you are able to, make sure that the sentimental items you decide to take with you are limited to wearable or carryable objects. Watches and jewelry are perfect for travel because they are lightweight and won't take up too much space if you find the need to pack them up. Pictures, small trinkets, and thin items are also perfect. If you have any sentimental objects that match this description, take these with you and part with the rest.

5. Go Through Everything Twice

Pick up your suitcase or your backpack. Would you be able to carry it for long periods at a time? If so, then you have the perfect amount of things in your backpack. If not, go through all of your belongings again. Ask yourself for each item, is this necessary? If not, get rid of it. Repack your luggage and pick it up again. Is it lighter? Still heavy? Keep going through the process until you get it right. You'd be surprised what items you don't need once you have to experience a life with less!

Minimalist DIY Travel ESSENTIALS | PRO Packing Tips

Pro Packing Tips | Minimalist DIY Backpacking on a Budget

© 2017 Dylan Buckley

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