Minima-Lists: the ultimate checklist guide for decluttered packing

Ok, it’s time to go. You have a destination, you have a plan, but… do you have an unwavering clue of what to pack? Be it just a weekend getaway, a month of remote working in a new town, or a gap year. We bet you often wished that some sort of travel-savvy fairy could simply whisper to you the perfect checklist for THAT specific occasion, with everything you need – in the lightest possible way. And that you could see that ideal ready baggage just appear in your sight like ta-daa! Nope. It can get more complicated than that… But also much more fun, if you fancy learning some Pro techniques and building your very personal checklist guide. With a minimalist touch, of course. So, without any further ado, let’s unfold our chaos-proof Minima-Lists packing guide:

Every time you prepare to pack, take a moment to breathe deeply, keep smiling, vaporize your favorite scent, put on your peace-of-mind playlist. You will find out you can turn packing time into an amazing occasion for self-knowledge, almost a form of meditation. And just get back to this step anytime you happen to feel overwhelmed by packing anxiety throughout next steps.

Define the key planned activities. Give a name to your trip as a whole, like it was a mission. Then, to each activity or “mode” you will practice during the overall traveling time frame, assign a matching go-bag: it can be a large packing cube or a smaller organizer, a superlight container or a waterproof one, depending on the activity relevance and features – the only limit being max weight or volume allowed in specific cases.

These mode-based go-bags will become your Minima-List modules. Try to spot also those in-between hidden “modes”, like waiting or downtime, which can be enjoyable if they catch us prepared. Most importantly, make the effort to realistically visualize the alternatives to those “theoretical plans” you made for the trip: e.g., dare tell yourself “I will likely spend longer hours working from local cafes rather than exploring museum halls” or “I know I’ll prefer to jog daily in my B&B neighborhood, not go to the beach for getting tanned which I don’t care”. This way you will wisely arrange MORE room to hold gear for the activity you will ACTUALLY practice the longer. Also, you will soon savor the delight of being honest to yourself on your priorities, preferences and… dreams.

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Once your well-thought-thorough go-bags are ready, the fun part begins! Think of each mode-focused container like a module of your packing building. Now you have to go wild and fill up the containers with all you want! Take each go-bag and throw in content. Module by module, visualizing your stream of activities.

No limits here, just the recommendation to fill each go-bag with only what you need on that one specific mode, rather than divided by abstract categories like normal packing lists do – e.g., it might make more sense to throw sunscreen into the sports go-bag rather than into a generic toiletry bag, as sports time is when you will actually need that. To ease the sorting by mode, you can also split a certain item into two smaller containers or bring doubles, if you plan to need something in two different modes.

Here the goal is to lighten the load, not only for the aesthetic pleasure of carrying bags that don’t look like about-to-burst, but also to functionally spare room for stuff you might add along the way. C’mon, you can certainly remove a couple of things by visualizing how you could easily provide a locally rented / borrowed / bought version of them at destination, in case of true necessity. BTW, we believe destination-shopping can be surprisingly satisfying as it connects you directly with the local community, it opens your mind and makes for a special tangible memory of the experience. And you can always resell or donate before leaving!

These will serve your unique lifestyle typical cases and will stay ready to browse anytime you pack. The perk is that you will then just have to “obey” the yourself who took the time to think in advance. And you will be able to relax more in the process. Our suggestion is to prepare FAMs that are agenda-focused (like “a night out” or “remote work week”) and composed by go-bag modules which are mode-based (like “reading” or “make-up”), rather than covering abstract general categories (e.g., “medications” or “tech”). You can always use general category-based lists as a source for picking single item reminders, then mix & match them into your own activity-based assortments for greater efficacy.

The secret is to follow YOUR individual lifestyle modes, and build go-bag modules accordingly. Worth to note: some FAM will just stay virtual, ready to spell out when required. Some others can materialize into real pre-packed kits, incarnating a sort of “activity hibernation library”:  imagine ready-to-grab packs of gear for specific modes you happen to switch on more or less often – like “occasional snorkeling” or “photo tour”, and figure how nice it can be to resume them quick when needed. As simple as that, the right stuff at-hand, when you want it. Last but not least, don’t forget to leave room for creativity in your FAMs – i.e., instead of citing a specific item in the list, you might mention its goal like “something to entertain myself for an hour” – so to allow yourself fresh input each time.

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Feel like sharing your own creative Minima-Lists to the community? You can win a personalized Vado kit today…

Find below some raw material to get started: check out our creative Minima-List examples as inspiration to compose your own, and use the classic general category-based lists to pick standard items.

Examples of Minima-List creative names: Three-day team building trip | One-week solo work trip – rainy!  | When I change town for 6-12 months | Half-day run + yoga session in the woods | Weekend hike with girlfriends | Work + fun long weekend with life partner at seaside location | Unknown duration (1-4 weeks?!) stay at sister’s place | Airbnb remote working experiment from mountain village | …

Examples of Minima-List go-bag module: Stuff for waiting time | Emergency make-up | All tooling for photo-tour | …
Examples of Minima-List creative item description:  Something educational within 0.5gr | A training spur | Business papers which reeeally can’t digitalize| Stainproof outfit okay for day & evening | Shoes for 24h “hobo” shift | Tiny handcrafted presents for hosts | Printed A4 pass for club access…

Example of complete Minima-List:

Minima-List name: One-week solo work trip – rainy!


1.Work deep-dive from Airbnb flat

Item description

Laptop, large headset

Cozy slippers

Loungewear with videocall-ready top

  1. Shopping spree downtown

Item description

Collapsible tote 2x

Shoes for 24h “hobo” shift (waterproof!)

Energy bars, water bottle

Rain poncho

  1. Formal event with team

A little black dress

Chic small umbrella

Make-up emergency toolkit (waterproof mascara)

  1. Training outdoor #whatevertheweather

Run outfit 3x (if no laundry)

Rain jacket

Small magnetic headset

  1. Drinks – if it happens

Bucket of classic category-based lists:

Documents ………

Travel aids …………..

Financial …………..

Appliances …………..

Wardrobe …………..

Toilet …………..

Healthcare …………..

Sport …………..

Extra …………..