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My Marie Kondo Moment Aka The Culling Fields

My Marie Kondo Moment aka The Culling Fields

Packing for a trip. It’s a bit of a chore, isn’t it? Especially if you have to carry every single thing on your back for a week!

Peter and I walked the South Downs Way in September. For eight days and just over 100 miles, we carried everything we needed in rucksacks. Neither of us are good at travelling light but we really wanted to ensure that this time there was nothing surplus and every inch was well used … here’s what we learned about packing smart and light.

Step one: ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of the trip?
  • What type of kit do I need?
  • How much weight do I want to carry?
  • How much space do I want to have left in my bag after packing?

To help us get this right, we took guidance from packing and folding guru Marie Kondo ….

We hoisted everything on to the bed that we thought we’d need, sorting out the items by category. Then we worked through whether we really would need it or not.

We asked the celebrated Kondo questions.

  1. Does it spark joy? I carried no makeup on this trip, but I did carry my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm which also did service for blusher and lipstick. It was light and tiny but made me very joyful!
  2. Do I need it? Voltarol, Germolene and arnica cream may not spark joy exactly, but they’re very useful on a 100 mile walk up and down multiple hills.

Burt's Bees lip balm

Once you ask these questions, you’d be surprised how efficiently you can pack.

After we’d made our selections it was a question of fold and roll. Folding vertically and as small as possible saves space in your suitcase or in our case rucksacks. Rolling also prevents wrinkles. I wore leggings, flip flops or trainers and a loose blue silk jumper in the evenings and even though they’d all spent the week in a rucksack they always looked neat.

Marie Kondo recommends organising by category and making sure every item has its place. Apply that rule to your travel bag. Having a designated place for each type of item is key.

rucksack and coast

I had lots of little bags to keep my packing well-organised. There was a bag for base layer walking clothes, another for wet weather gear, one for underwear and socks, one for toiletries and one for miscellaneous stuff like my phone charger, notebook and pen. I put my flip flops and trainers in pairs in two shoe bags.

All the bags were packed in the same order every day which made it really easy to find things, but because the process was so methodical also meant I didn’t forget anything when moving on.

Everything worked well and the only thing I didn’t wear were my wet weather trousers. Pretty good, huh?

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