I was not always an organised traveller. My idea of packing light used to be when I forgot things, which was often. My bag of choice was a very forgiving duffel, no need to Marie Kondo the hell out of things with a duffel. You just load t-shirts in by the handful and let them roll around with the other clothes like a travelling tumble dryer.
The downside to this was the utter chaos that a big pack provides. You can't find anything and you end up wearing the same clothes for days and find all the fresh, clean ones when you get home. I needed help.
Enter my packing Yoda, Adrian Falvey of travel packing website Below7 (below7.com.au). A self-confessed master of minimalism, Falvey can travel for six months with a half –full 55-litre backpack. Why half full? Because he can.
Now I swish through airports with the smugness of someone who has forgotten what a luggage carousel looks like.
There are amazing upsides to packing light. You save money on low-cost airlines, you save time picking up bags and you are helping save the environment by reducing your weight when you fly. They key is to be organised, be flexible and, yes, you need to invest in a gadget or two. Let's start with the electronic scale that is also a torch and a power bank for your phone; or a super-light travel shaver that weighs little more than a plastic razor. Gadgetry is not the only answer but a few well-chosen items trims the kilos.
When it comes to clothes it is one of everything except t-shirts and underwear and ideally in a quick-dry fabric; keep colours neutral and no logos. We boys can get away with some tailored pants and a black t-shirt in even the swankiest of addresses.
Falvey travels with a 750-gram sleeping bag and whisper-thin undersheet for hostels. I am usually in hotels but a light sleeping bag can help when you have to crank the aircon because you only have a duvet without a top sheet, it also saves you buying a blanket on long-haul low-cost.
Toiletries are a challenge but this is where a bit of Ms Kondo works. Grab your toilet bag and anything you haven't opened on the last two trips is out. Save antibiotics, anti-nausea and anti-diarrhoea – keep all the antis. If you're hardcore, you cut off the end of your toothbrush to save space.
I am not yet hardcore, but I am enjoying the new freedom of being a better packer, what you lose in kilos you gain in calm and composure from not hauling half a bedroom around.