Well, depending on how many clothes you start off with, putting half of them back into your closet may be a bit drastic. However the point is spot on: Most people simply over pack.
When I think back to one of my first trips to Europe (or even closer to home), 2-3 bags were the norm. By following my secrets below, I now travel comfortably with one carry on size bag - 21 x 14 by x 9 inches (whether it's a one week trip or three), and a personal bag that fits under the seat. My go to bag these days is my Swiss Gear padded backpack. On some trips I even come home with some pieces never worn. Traveling light - it can be done. You just need to be smart about what you pack.
1. Whether you are traveling for one week or three, pack for one week.
Do you remember what you wore last week? Neither will anyone else. And so what if
they do. General rule - three tops for every one bottom (six tops and two bottoms
will give you 12 different combinations).
Trust me, you can wear pants, skirts and shorts multiple times before they need to be laundered.
The same goes for tops, unless you are in a very humid climate. Don't wear the same piece of
clothing several days in a row, and air them out in between wears.
3. Coordinate your colors.
Choose one basic color scheme and make sure every item can be mixed and matched. Bring
"pieces" versus "outfits".
4. Think travel friendly, wrinkle resistant fabrics.
Invest in some good travel clothing. Look for wrinkle resistant, quick drying fabrics, for
5. Think multi-use clothing items.
Invest in a few “multi-use” pieces, e.g. zip off pants or convertible jackets. While not
always the most fashionable, they are quite practical.
6. Wear you bulkiest items on the plane.
Wear your bulkiest shoes and clothing on the plane so as not to take up precious room in your
luggage. Wear or carry your jackets. Bring no more than 3 pairs of shoes, preferably two
including the ones you are wearing. I usually bring a pair of sturdy walking shoes and a pair of
athletic shoes (wearing one), and if there is room, some flip flops.
7. Do some laundry.
For travel longer than ten days, resign yourself to doing some laundry. Doing laundry is cheaper
than checking a bag and you don’t have the extra weight to carry around.