With summer travel approaching quickly, it’s important to remember that easily packing for travel can help you enjoy your trip, reduce anxiety, and feel properly dressed for whatever circumstances arise. This requires a bit of forethought, so you will need to plan out your wardrobe for the trip a few days in advance.

Begin in Advance

Begin by thinking about how long you’ll be gone, what you’ll be doing, and whether there are any special occasions (wedding or party, fancy dinner reservation) that you’ll need something specific for. Check the weather at your destination, and decide whether you’ll be checking luggage. With those preliminaries out of the way, it’s time to dig into your closet.

My strategy is to think in terms of color groups, and choose three or four colors that match and will be practical. For example, black, pale blue, tan and orange can be a color group. Another example is white, black, and royal blue. Once you decide, pull from your closet items in those colors, (or which match those colors) that you want to bring, and lay them out on the couch or bed. Next go through the clothes and create outfits; try to have two or three tops for every bottom. If you are bringing one or more dresses or a jumpsuit, that’s fine too. Lastly, eliminate what you don’t believe you’ll wear. I find when traveling, less is more.

Benefits of this Strategy

This approach is beneficial in three ways: 1) You will know you have outfits chosen before you leave. This saves time at your destination and ensures you have matching pieces. 2) Since you have limited color groups, you need to bring fewer shoes and accessories. Shoes are so heavy to lug around; I try to bring only three pair (sneakers, sandals or boots, and comfortable walking shoes). Additionally, you will need fewer handbags and less jewelry. 3) It’s easier to pack, unpack, or simply pull from your suitcase, as you have way fewer items. You can easily create outfits in the morning as you’re going out, using versatile pieces based on the weather, your plans, or your mood. Knowing you have a few tops to match one pair of pants gives you flexibility, while ensuring you always have something to wear.

As you decide which pieces to bring, add layering pieces that match several outfits. Cardigans, large scarves, jackets and fleece vests can serve several purposes, and be worn indoors or out. This way you will be prepared if you are out for long stretches throughout the day and the weather shifts.

Pack Your Suitcase

Once you’ve decided what to take, begin packing by placing larger items folded in half at the bottom of the suitcase. Alternate sides so it stays even. Then put tops, and smaller items over the larger ones. Add shoes, and other accessories along the edge. Finally, if checking, weigh your suitcase,  to make sure it’s under 50 lbs.

As you begin packing this way, you’ll see the beauty of only having what you need when you travel. It is not boring or unstylish to dress in color groups; to the contrary if you have current and trendy items with you, you’ll feel the trip is simplified and that you’re well dressed for any occasion!